The very first time I tried sushi was probably in the late 80’s, and it was (of course) a California roll. A few years later I graduated to the Philadelphia roll, and a very long time later I mastered tuna rolls, shrimp tempura rolls (still my favorite), Dragon rolls and other lightweight beginner’s stuff. I’ve always been hesitant to be more adventurous, if for no other reason that the very good stuff if also very expensive. So. I researched. Basically if you don’t want to spend a huge amount, you basically have to sacrifice somehow. I figured out that if you either go to Brooklyn, or try a lunch special at a pricey restaurant, you don’t have to dip into your life savings.
If you love sushi, you know Chef Morimoto. Born in Japan, he became one of the Iron Chefs, and then later one of the Iron Chefs America. He owns several prestigious restaurants all over the US, and still appears on TV on occasion. You anticipate that you will taste some outstanding sushi (and other Japanese dishes) at his establishments, and of course it won’t be cheap. However: try lunch! I recently visited his restaurant in the Meatpacking District, and I loved it! I sat right at the bar seating overlooking the talented chefs, and I got to watch world class sushi in the making.
My sushi lunch consisted of a salad, a miso soup, a Maki Roll, and 5 pieces of nigiri sushi (Kamasu (Barracuda), Tai (Red Snapper), Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna), Kampachi (Amberjack), Hamachi (Yellowtail). You will also receive Hijiki and Kimchi Pickles. It will run you $25.00, which will be the best spent ever. There are several other lunch special items like Grilled Wagyu Beef Skirt Steak ($29.00) or a Katsu Chicken Sandwich ($16.00). Be sure to dip the sandwich in the Miso Soup. You’re welcome.
For more info on Morimoto NYC click here
1 Or 8
Insert: Williamsburg Brooklyn. I used to live there when it was wild and crazy, but its proximity to Manhattan has made it a hot spot to live. Rents are skyrocketing, there are several Starbucks coffeeshops, and of course tons of great restaurants. Including this gem of a Japanese restaurant. I is located on a quiet block with sleek white furniture, and it has an upscale vibe. According to the bartender, 1 or 8 is a Japanese expression for do or die, being adventurous.
Omakase is something I’ve only ever seen on menus, they’re usually too expensive for my meager wallet. Here it starts at $32.00, and the most you’ll pay is $72.00. Lucky for me the chef was in an excellent mood, and I got to try the largest Omakase for just one (it is usually for 2). I was assured that it was only for me, so don’t try it, take a friend instead. It was outstanding! It came with 10 pieces (without rice), including Uni, tuna, mackerel, salmon, scallop and shrimp. My less adventurous daughter enjoyed a tuna roll and a shrimp tempura roll. I can attest for the freshness of the sushi here, and of the very friendly people taking care of you here.
For more info on 1 Or 9 click here
A little bit further into Brooklyn you will find Okozushi. This tiny little restaurant seats about 10, and to me is one of the most exciting new places in Brooklyn. It’s not the same old sushi, it’s pretty and different. Prices here are very manageable, and you get to try a lot, if you come hungry. I came hungry all the way from the Bronx, and I ate a lot for just about $50.00. Tipping is not permitted here, which really surprised me, but it’s what they do!
I chose the Omakase Temari, which is Geisha style sushi with 8 different toppings. No soy sauce needed here. Temari means the rice is shaped into little balls, Geisha style means there are toppings on the sushi, decorative sushi. The ingredients of the sushi were traditional, the toppings were something I never tried, and it was honestly exquisite. All 8 pieces were delightfully different.
Another menu item I tried was the Fish Curry, which ordinarily is served for Brunch. It was made with katsuo bonito and came with rice and pickles vegetables. The dried shaved bonito flakes inside the bowl start moving as they absorb the liquids of the dish, and it’s quite adventurous to watch! I might be partial to curry, but I can so recommend that dish for this frigid weather. I also got to try a small version of their Confit Tuna Belly with mustard greens, cherry tomatoes and cured egg yolks. Also (of course) delicious. Run, don’t walk to this place.
For more info on Okozushi click here