David Bouley's year-old Brushstroke has just brought in a ringer: Eiji Ichimura, whose eponymous Midtown sushi place was a strong Chowhound favorite until it closed in 2008. Now Ichimura presides over an intimate eight-seat sushi bar set off from the rest of Brushstroke, which specializes in seasonal Kyoto-style dishes. Expect traditional Tokyo-style nigirizushi—no frills, no rolls, no Gari-style sauces. "This is straight-up good Japanese-style sushi," says foodwhisperer. "The rice was perfect, the technique great to watch, the fish expertly prepared and simply delicious."
Ichimura's $150 "special" omakase opened with excellent baigai (whelk) liver. Next came a stellar dish of hirame (fluke) three ways—fin, milt, and eggs—plus shirouo (tiny icefish). A parade of first-rate sashimi followed—mirugai (giant clam), tako (octopus), kohada (shad), madai (sea bream) belly, shima-aji (striped jack), otoro (bluefin belly), saba (mackerel)—with fresh-ground wasabi. After an interlude of excellent shiokara (salted squid entrails) and chawan mushi (savory egg custard), foodwhisperer moved on to sushi: kasugodai (baby snapper, in season now), shima-aji, kinmedai (golden-eye snapper), Santa Barbara uni (sea urchin), and nicely marinated saba (mackerel).
There are also $95 and $55 omakase dinners, in addition to à la carte ordering. For now, Ichimura is drawing mostly clued-in Japanese expats, but foodwhisperer thinks his work at Brushstroke deserves mention alongside the city's top sushi destinations. "The place is not known yet," he notes. "I am sure it will be soon reviewed and rated in the class of 15 East, Masa, Kanoyama, Yasuda."
30 Hudson Street (between Duane and Reade streets), Manhattan