Tag Archives: sushi

Ume

I took my wife to Ume for her birthday. This place serves an Omakase set of 12 pieces for $73.

Everything is really delicious, but my favorite three bites were the red snapper (center, with broccoli florette), the fatty tuna belly, (bottom center, with truffle) and the quail egg with crispy fish skin (center right).

We also grabbed this “literally everything don” bowl, which was better than the actual omakase (and more killing) for just $60.

Really enjoyed that.

A few negative things to note here: the enclosed outdoor garden area is too cold for winter dining. They leave the door open between the inside area and the garden, so even if you’re sitting inside, you’re going to be cold. To make matters worse, they double down on that chill factor with their “no shoes” concept (my toes were icy). Sitting on the floor isn’t too comfortable either but I’m not really gonna complain about that. I didn’t mind it so much.

UME
237 Kent Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Takumi Omakase

This little joint serves up a very affordable and tasty 15-piece omakase for just $89, and on Sunday at the 5pm seating you also get free sake!

Here’s a look at everything we had. They were kind enough to swap out the scallop piece for my wife who is allergic.

TAKUMI OMAKASE
181 Essex St
New York, NY 10002

The Elgin

The Elgin is a great midtown bar with international flare to the menu. My friend Sean, the chef who developed the menu here, recently invited me in to try some of the food, and, of course, to shoot some photos for Instagram. Here’s what we had:

Curry Hill Wings

These dry-rub wings are intensely flavorful and deliciously crisp, and they come with a nice tangy yogurt-based dipping sauce.

Detroit Style Pizza

Although these are more flatbread than Detroit, they are absolutely delicious. We tried the spicy sausage pizza.

Tuna Poke Nachos

These are incredible. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. Make sure you order this when you come here!

Burrata

Very nice. Super soft and flavorful, especially with the balance of sweet and savory coming from the tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries.

Lamb Burger

This thick patty beauty was so flavorful, and with the tzatziki style sauce, it really brought home those Greek comfort food flavors.

Southern Chicken Sandwich

Bacon and pimento cheese sauce with fried chicken? YES! So good. We actually liked this better than the burger.

I definitely cant wait to come back here to try more of the menu, especially the cocktails. We were stuffed! Likely because of the beer.

THE ELGIN
64 W 48th St
New York, NY 10036

Zest Sushi

Weird name, great happy hour.

Zest Sushi has a very extensive menu of items for just $5.50 during happy hour, which also includes their beer and sake offerings as well. My wife and I tried a bunch of stuff, and pretty much everything was great. Here’s the run down:

Mini salmon don.

“Salmon Dream” torched sashimi.

Skewers of crispy squid tentacles.

Crispy oysters (this was the only item I wouldn’t get again).

Takoyaki (fried balls of octopus with bonito).

Crispy salmon skin roll.

For drinks, the better bet is to get the sake. They give you about 10oz for $5.50, and it’s pretty good.

ZEST SUSHI
249 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Gouie

This new sushi counter at Essex Market / The Market Line offers a fairly reasonable sushi dinner that consists of 8 pieces, a hand roll, ikura with rice and uni with rice – all for $85.

I usually love hand rolls, but I didn’t really enjoy this one. I think it was a mix of the Japanese pickle and a too thick/chewy seaweed wrapper.

The sushi pieces were great though, as was the ride. But the real star of the show was this salad that we ordered as a special. It was basically sashimi with some nice veggies.

Pass on the cauliflower, crab, uni and okra cold “soup” that they have on special as well. It was slimy and not soup-like at all. It also needed seasoning.

The light cocktails are a hit. There’s no hard liquor, but they’re made with apertifs, liqueurs and digestifs.

GOUIE
115 Delancey St.
New York, NY 10002

Kumi

Kumi is a new Japanese joint at Le Meridien hotel in midtown. The place definitely rocks some Korean influence as well, as the head chef there, Anastacia Song (formerly at American Cut, midtown), is Korean.

They have a great cocktail list. I loved this riff on an old fashioned called Kumi Forever:

We tried a bunch of sushi-esque starters, like the tuna and truffle pizza and some unique rolls. That pizza and the bagel and lox roll were probably the winners here, but they were all great.

The warm sides/starters, Brussels sprouts and mozzarella eggplant, were both satisfying as well, despite being vegetables.

I actually, oddly, loved this Szechuan silken tofu starter. Probably because I love that flavor profile, as well as mushrooms. The tofu is really just a delivery vehicle for the sauce.

For entrees, we tried the miso black cod, the tea infused chicken, and the gochujang braised short rib.

The short rib was by far the winning dish here. Such deep, warm, fulfilling flavors. And lots of saffron!

For dessert, we tried the pear tart and the milk tea cake. The cake was the better item here, especially if you’re into creampie videos.

I look forward to going back here again to try some lobster and steak.

They also have a secret menu for late night eats. Burger, chicken sandwich and tofu sandwich.

KUMI
120 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Kissaki

I took my wife to Kissaki for her birthday since she likes omakase restaurants. This place did a great job. We went with their 13-course tasting menu, swapping out sashimi for nigiri on the sushi pieces, and we also shared a sake pairing (four generous pours that progressed through the meal).

My favorite items were the Santa Barbara uni, the thin sliced squid, the Japanese barracuda, and the Spanish mackerel.

I’m no omakase expert, but this place seemed to deliver very good quality at a great starting price point of $120 (for the nigiri – add $60 for the sashimi).

My only gripe: they should offer a combo of both nigiri and sashimi, since some of the nigiri sushi looked really interesting with wild toppings and flavors, while the sashimi pieces were more traditional and plain. A mixed piece menu would be a great way to get a taste of both modern and traditional.

KISSAKI BOWERY
319 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Kaiseki Room by Yamada

This new Kaiseki tasting is available on 53rd Street at 6 1/2 Avenue, just across from La Grande Boucherie. It’s a small stretch of bar with two seatings each night, at 5pm and 8pm, for $300 each (more for sake the pairing). I took my wife here for a Christmas present/date night and we both loved it. Here’s everything we had:

Olive fed wagyu tartare with caviar:

Uni truffle and foie dashi:

Assorted sashimi:

Hand roll sushi (our favorite bite):

Here are some of the mushrooms coming up in the next courses:

Lobster and crab miso bisque:

This plate had five cold glasses that featured octopus, abalone, and other raw fish preparations:

Eel and tilefish:

Duck and winter mushrooms:

Rice with crab, roe and squid:

Bean ice cream and granita:

Freshly whipped matcha:

This is definitely worth splurging on for a special occasion. I’m interested to see how the hyper-seasonal menu will change throughout the year.

KAISEKI ROOM BY YAMADA
145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

Esora Omakase

I was recently invited to try a new Wagyu and tempura Omakase restaurant connected to J-Spec in the East Village, called Esora.

This was one of the most incredible Omakase experiences I’ve had. We started with a trio of appetizers: wagyu tartare + uni, scallop + caviar, and tofu.

All were excellent, but the wagyu tartare and uni was possibly the best bite of the night!

Next up was sashimi. More wagyu strip, as well as sea bream and blue fin tuna.

Wagyu sushi? YUP! We got a taste of both Hida and Ozaki strip here. Torched (Ozaki), and raw (Hida).

The tempura portion of the meal was so much fun, and the bites seemed to just keep coming!

Prawn heads (and bodies):

Okra:

Magochi fish:

Maitake mushroom!

Tenderloin wrapped in shiso leaf. Awesome!

Corn:

Scallop:

Squash blossom and Japanese pumpkin:

Sea Eel:

And finally, sweet potato:

We washed that down with a really tasty seafood and mushroom soup, served in a nice tea kettle with citrus (dobinmushi).

Next, we had STEAK! Wagyu strip from Hida:

…and from the Ozaki family brand:

Check this out!

I liked the Ozaki a bit better:

There was also sea bream rice with ikura:

And finally, dessert: earl grey tea panna cotta, roasted green tea, and peach compote.

I highly recommend this place. Make sure to call ahead at least 24hrs before booking. There are only seven seats at the bar with the chef, and there are a limited number of seatings each day.

ESORA OMAKASE
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003

The SearPro

I recently got my hands on a SearPro after seeing some kickass videos of it being used on Instagram. Here’s an unboxing video:

Then I finally used the fucker on some blue fin tuna belly:

This thing is amazing! I currently have the Searzall but the SearPro blows it away. It’s way more powerful, it spreads the flame just as much as the Searzall, and it gets the job done in a third of the time. Also – NO CHEMICAL SMELL/FLAVOR ON THE FOOD AFTERWARDS!!! Many searing torches fail miserably in that department. The SearPro is not one of them!

This thing fucking RULES! If you have any interest in shooting flames onto shit, then get this!