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Uni lover? Here are a couple of great selections

As a HKer, I've only actually had mini abalone steamed (like fish), but that looks really good. I also prefer braised dry abalone, but the costs are prohibitive.

Speaking of abalone... since you (kosmose7) clearly have the means, I suggest brushing some abalone sauce (braising liquid) on grilled lobster or langoustine. One of the most glorious things I've ever had. And if you can add some sort of Japanese beef for a surf and turf it's even better.

about 18 hours ago
fooder in Manhattan

Uni lover? Here are a couple of great selections

A couple of weeks ago, I had the most uni I'd ever had in one sitting AND one of the best uni dishes I've ever had, all in one day! For a full recap of that glorious day's seafood, including a review of other dishes from Louro, please visit the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

Lunch - UNI-DON ($17 with miso soup) Takesushi, Sunnyside.
Yes, this is not in Manhattan. But a quick ride on the 7 actually makes this spot more convenient than many other "Manhattan" eateries. Also, $17 is on the high side for a lunch set, even by Manhattan standards. But just look at that bowl of uni! There was easily at least half a tray of uni on there!

While they sometimes get Santa Barbara uni which I generally prefer, Takesushi usually gets most of its uni from Maine. Maine uni tends to not be as sweet and creamy as the Santa Barbara version, but has an added depth of umami flavor. From my experience, the sushi chef has been honest with me regarding the quality of the day's uni, so make sure to ask! This was the most uni I've ever eaten in one sitting, and it was glorious!

This was an absolutely special dish that currently ranks among my favorites of 2014. I suggest getting everything in one bite to experience the great interaction of textures featuring the crispy sweetbreads, creamy uni, and soft, yet not mushy, squash. The earthiness of the squash provided a great base and brought together all the flavors of this unique rendition of surf and turf. Great uni dishes are not new to Louro, as last year's uni with pork belly was also excellent in combining flavors and textures. This dish, however, featured layering, balancing, and interplay that was far superior, in my mind, to that already excellent dish.

about 19 hours ago
fooder in Manhattan

Esquire's Best Burger in America/NYC

Speaking of Ozersky, looks like he's about to make more "best of" waves: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/10/1...

Oct 14, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Who won the chain restaurant AYCE wars this year? What theme will they battle over next year?

Last year, it seemed almost every well-known restaurant chain was offering some 3+ course meal for under $12.99. This year, they've all upped the ante with the all-you-can-eat wars. It's not like Olive Garden's never-ending pasta bowl is new, while Red Lobster's unlimited shrimp has also been around for years. But there are several newcomers this year, including Applebee's AYCE cross-cut ribs, TGIF's endless appetizers, and Outback Steakhouse's steak with unlimited shrimp.

I got around to trying the last one and had a pleasant experience. Full review with photos on my blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

So who do you think put out the best AYCE product this year? Will we see another theme for chain restaurants to compete over next year? Or have they reached the zero lower bound in that they can't offer any deal better than AYCE? Who will emerge victorious in this race to the bottom? I haven't tried many of the other ones yet, but Outback currently has my vote.

Oct 14, 2014
fooder in Chains

Esquire's Best Burger in America/NYC

So a couple of months ago Josh Ozersky wrote an article for Esquire proclaiming the burger at Raoul's restaurant on Prince Street to be the best burger in America. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for...

I finally got around to trying it as part of a classic American food bang-bang (with Prince Street Pizza) last week. As usual, for the review of the full bang-bang with all the photos, please visit the blog at: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

)The burger arrived with a cone of fries and a dish of traditional French peppercorn sauce. The burger is only available at the bar, and the girls sitting next to us also came just for the burger. I don't know if the price has gone up since the article came out, but they continue to only make a limited number of them, regularly selling out within the first hour of the bar opening for dinner service.

The burger is greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts by themselves are pretty great too. The challah bun is robust, and the patty has a great crust and a nice sweetness to it. The mayonnaise, cheese, and watercress all add flavor, as opposed to iceberg lettuce mostly used for its crunch or processed American cheese mostly used because it melts well. I highly recommend opening up the burger and making sure that the cornichons are evenly spread. It is important to try to incorporate them into every bite as they balance out the richness of the burger and sauces, elevating the whole thing.

Do not underestimate the fries, as there are a lot of them. While I enjoyed dipping them in the peppercorn sauce, I think next time I'm going to ask for some ketchup to cut the richness. I preferred dipping the burger into the sauce instead and found it extremely satisfying.

It was a pretty great burger, but it's hard to call it the best. NYC just has so many great burgers in many different categories, including my favorite bar burger (JG Melon, Donovan's in Woodside), aged steak-like burger (NoMad bar, Minetta Tavern), fast-food style burger (Shake Shack), and diner burger (Corner Bistro, the one in LIC). I guess for its own category (bistro/restaurant burger), it's certainly the best that I've tried in NYC.

Oct 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Michelin New York 2015 results

Based on the menus, $40 will cover 2 small plates + dessert/wine at Louro. At Khe Yo (which I've never been to) $40 will cover 3 of their small plates (or 2 small plates + etc.)

Not sure about actual portions since I always enjoy the food at Louro so much I'd never spend so little there.

Other thoughts:
For the same type of high volume high end restaurant, I don't see how Marea is at the same level as Daniel. I don't mind dropping Daniel to a 2, although I don't agree with it, but I think if that's the case you have to drop Marea to a 1 (I'd compare it to Lincoln/Ai Fiori).

Another one that dropped off the list that people haven't mentioned is Danji. I've never been but a friend ate there recently and had a bad meal.

Sep 30, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Won't be returning to Per Se

I really think that Per Se is just past its prime, as I alluded to in my review from earlier in the year http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968463 and to me this post just confirms that they know this and they are in the money-making survival stage of their existence. They just don't try as hard as they used to years ago.

That being said, I'm actually curious that the reservationist replied that "the table is meant for a MINIMUM of 2 people". I don't remember how all the tables are set up in the dining room, but could it be that this wasn't a small two-top, but perhaps a 4-top sized table that they were just okay with taking only two people because of the off-peak hour, but just couldn't make the $ work for 1 person?

Sep 30, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Michelin New York 2015 results

I wonder how much of Daniel's demotion had to do with the NYT demotion.

Michelin NY is just so inconsistent year to year, especially in the lower 1 star tier. I remember years with a good number of ethnic eateries, and then years where none of the restaurants were casual in any way.

Are we doing Bib Gourmand rants in this thread too? I didn't see a separate Bib Gourmand thread. I don't know how Louro is still not at least a Bib Gourmand.

Sep 30, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Fogo de Chao: A Meat Journey

Agree with you on lack of obscure cuts. Heart (chicken or beef) is one of my favorite cuts at a churrascaria and I haven't been able to find any.

It's been a while, so I can't say I remember Plataforma in much detail (or particularly fondly). From what I remember, I do think the salad bar at Plataforma has a larger selection, although I think the quality of the stuff at Fogo de Chao is very good. The salt thing is definitely an issue for me, so I don't know how much it affects my view of the quality of meat.

The ambiance is also a factor for me. I liked the spacious, classy feel of Fogo much more, and I felt that the gaucho servers themselves were more attentive to which cut and doneness I wanted. Now, that may not be what matters to you given you're taking them out for a holiday party. The hustle and bustle and the live music of Plataforma might be better for you. As one Yelper put it, Fogo is more like a date place and Plataforma is more like a Vegas buffet.

Speaking of Yelp, from a cursory glance at their reviews for Plataforma, it seems that most of the reviewers who actually had previous churrascaria experience tended to rate it lower.

Sep 17, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Fogo de Chao: A Meat Journey

When I was on low carb last year, I went through most of the skewers at Yakitori Totto http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901965 This year I decided to go with a more wallet-friendly option, and went to the newly opened Fogo de Chao.

For the full review with all the photos, please visit http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

The best churrascaria rodizio has finally come to NYC! Let's go on an epic meat journey!

Sep 16, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Looks like El Sitio in Woodside is done?

None of that for me while I waited for my kitchen order of crispy pata.

More details on the place:
Name is Baby Grill. There is now tax on everything.
They have more specials which are more in line with regular restaurant offerings, and priced accordingly. Tuna collar is $11 while crispy pata (made to order) is $12.

Sep 12, 2014
fooder in Outer Boroughs

Looks like El Sitio in Woodside is done?

Yes, I've already gotten food from the new Filipino place twice. The food is quite good, and great value at 3+rice+soda for $7.50. Eat-in is cafeteria style with food on plate/trays (not the disposable type), but I usually get stuff to go. Service is spotty, but at that price, whatever.

Sep 10, 2014
fooder in Outer Boroughs

Looks like El Sitio in Woodside is done?

Walked past yesterday and saw two Asian guys gutting the restaurant. No sign saying under renovations or anything along those lines. It's a shame that another long-time NYC establishment is gone. This marks the second big loss for the neighborhood this year along with Chonghap Market (that huge Korean market)

Sep 05, 2014
fooder in Outer Boroughs

The NoMad Bar: Stunning Gastropub/Cocktail Bar Hybrid (long review, most of menu)

I had to repost this as CH changed some of their posting guidelines. For the full review with all the dishes and photos, please visit the blog at: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

Wanted to share my thoughts on many of the dishes I've had at the new NoMad bar. In fact, with multiple visits covering over two-thirds of the menu, this may be one of the most thorough reviews of the NoMad bar you'll come across. (assuming they haven't made a big seasonal menu change) I'm going to focus this post on the dishes that I think were most surprisingly good or disappointing.

My overall impression is that they've succeeded in creating a more accessible sister establishment to EMP and the NoMad restaurant, acting as both a cocktail bar with their huge selection of house cocktails and a gastropub with excellent beer and food selection.

While there's little room for error at these prices, I feel that as an overall food and drink experience the NoMad bar trumps many other bars/restaurants/lounges in the city at comparable prices. I think this is one of those places where the more people you have and the more drinking they do the more fun it is.

Great/unexpected surprises:
)I wouldn't have thought to order this just looking at the menu, but this was absolutely delicious. The broccoli rabe didn't have an overpowering bitterness, and the classic anchovy and parmesan combo packed a nice clean umami punch.

These have proven to be so popular that they made their way onto the NoMad hotel's main restaurant menu despite starting out on the new bar menu. I found these to be remarkable in that the salinity hit me immediately upon the first bite, but the savoriness continued without any lingering feelings of saltiness. It was hard to reconcile the overwhelming savoriness with the lack of moisture-draining mouth feel that usually accompanies salty foods. Those sensitive to salt, however, would probably still consider this dish to be too salty.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, given that it was essentially a hunk of cheese, after all. Everything went so well together, from the nutty, flavorful cheese, to the slight kick of the mustard sauce, to the excellent pickles, that I just wanted to keep eating it. The only thing missing was that there weren't enough pretzel chips, but my guess is that more would have been provided if I'd asked.

Brushing aside the pieces of toast placed on top revealed a treasure trove of clams in a tasty broth that reminded me of the stunning tomato and corn broth I had in an earlier version of Eleven Madison Park's clambake dish. This delicious essence of summer in a bowl is also one of the best values on the menu.

The fish had real flavor, unlike the bland pieces of protein that merely serve as vessels for sauce often found elsewhere. Some might consider that flavor to lean a bit onto the "fishy" or "muddy" side, but I loved it. The fennel and orange also worked well with the fish, providing a great balance of texture and flavor and making for a great bite.

A juicy, sizeable, 6-ounce burger cooked beautifully and full of aged beef flavor. I've ordered it every time I've been at the NoMad bar, and it's just as satisfying every time. Large enough to share, I consider the burger one of the best values on the menu. Also of note is that every group of people I've brought to the NoMad bar has remarked on not just how good the burger was, but also how much they liked the accompanying pickle.

Disappointing/poor value:
These were more like small empanadas than beignets, and did not really stand out in any way. At these prices, just that alone was enough to elicit disappointment, but expecting hot fried goodness made it much, much worse.

The flavors were fresh, clean, and tasty. However, there just wasn't enough shrimp to justify the price.

The desserts as a whole were simple and tasty, and I liked the whimsical (and portable) idea of the candy bar. But for a few dollars more, I'd much rather have the desserts next door at the original NoMad restaurant, which I find much more complex and satisfying.

Other notable dishes:
The pot pie arrived at the table accompanied by a skewer of foie gras and a quenelle of truffle mousse/butter. The server then broke open the pot pie, mixed in the foie and truffle, and the smell was heavenly. Inside the pot pie were pieces of chicken, aromatic vegetables, potatoes, and morels. The puff pastry was buttery and flaky, and was terrific dipped into the absolutely delicious stew. It wasn't mind-blowing, but it was very rich and luscious while still evoking the comfort of a more traditional chicken pot pie. At $36, this is the most expensive item on the food menu, but still a great value in my mind when you consider the ingredients. Foie and truffle aside, morels are not cheap!

This is essentially the same hot dog as the Humm dog served at PDT, but with real truffles. It's delicious, but the value proposition here solely depends on how much you like truffles and how much truffle you happen to get. Both times I've had it the truffle smell was evident as soon as it hit the table.

For two weeks a while back they offered their version of Seattle's famous Canlis salad. It was a nice salad, but I didn't quite get the hype as the only thing that really ended up standing out was the mint.

You know, if you order both the burger and the hot dog from the menu, all the ingredients are there to make your own upgraded Shake Shack 10th Anniversary Humm Burger! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/978957

Sep 02, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Best sashimi-only omakase (not in an annoying way!)

Yea he loves his fatty tuna and he slices most of his sashimi really thick! I still remember the first time I had his tuna neck/collar o-toro some 6 years ago. I think I used the word "ethereal". My friend who paid the bill used a different word I think.

Aug 19, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Best sashimi-only omakase (not in an annoying way!)

For purely sashimi, I would say Kurumazushi. Uezu should have no problem serving sashimi piece by piece, and he has always had some of the best fish in the city (rice was never his strong point). Not sure you'll get much in the way of creativity, as he's fairly traditional (he doesn't serve raw salmon). You'll probably end up dropping $300-500 depending on your appetite.

Another option is Kyo Ya. You'll probably find a lot more creativity there. I've seen him have some ridiculous sashimi, and he is underrated for that given the kaiseki nature of the restaurant. It'll probably be made into one large platter, although you can probably discuss that with chef Sono. Not sure about pricing.

Aug 19, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Momofuku Late Night Dinner Series: The Publican at Momofuku Ssam Bar

Considering they cleared out the rest of the restaurant, I would imagine if they did it at any normal dinner time the cost would at least double.

Aug 15, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Momofuku Late Night Dinner Series: The Publican at Momofuku Ssam Bar

It was Cosmo Goss, chef de cuisine of the Publican.

Thanks for the note about Blackbird, I looked up One Off and they do mention it as the flagship. I will change that on my blog. I would imagine the food of the Publican can be better transported somewhere else than the fine dining entrant.

Aug 15, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Momofuku Late Night Dinner Series: The Publican at Momofuku Ssam Bar

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

Last Tuesday night was the second in Momofuku's late night dinner series, and featured the chef de cuisine and crew of the Publican, the flagship of a mini-empire of restaurants in Chicago with a keen focus on sustainable ingredient sourcing. Dinner began at 11pm, the first of the two seatings that night (the other one started right after at 1am).

Since this was a unique event, I'll start with my general thoughts on the whole experience. Tables were put together into one long communal table that stretched the distance of the restaurant from the door to the kitchen. Food was served family style to diners in groups of two or four. Even though diners sat at one communal table, there wasn't much interaction and people seemed to keep to their own groups. This wasn't like a supper club where you meet and chat with other foodies. Also, it was loud. While this might be the normal decibel level at Momofuku Ssam on a busy night, it was definitely noticeable if you aren't especially used to it. Service was ok, but the whole setup did not seem like something they had taken a lot of time to prepare for. I had some leftovers boxed up, but at the end of the night they had a mix-up and gave me someone else's box instead.

Almost none of that mattered because of how great the food was. My friends who'd been to the Publican had nothing but good things to say about it, and this meal definitely lived up to that hype. While I wouldn't say any of their cooking methods or flavor combinations were very novel, the quality of the ingredients definitely shown through, especially the charcuterie which was mind-blowing at times. Based on this meal, which I guess was quite representative of the food at the Publican, I would highly recommend eating there.

The meal came with extremely well thought out beverage pairings. The sour notes of the lambic were very evident at first, and made perfect sense once the charcuterie plate arrived.

CHARCUTERIE - from Publican Quality Meats, Chicago, Illinois
PQM prosciutto, salam d'al duja, spicy coppa, blood mortadella, pork pie, prune pate, snail boudin, and morteau sausage
I've always liked charcuterie but never craved it, but this whole plate was amazing. A great variety of textures and deep flavors that expanded in the mouth. Literally everything was great, but the one thing that I could just keep on eating was the blood mortadella, while I would have preferred the dough on the pork pie to have been thinner.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Goose Island Beer Company, this beer had an awesome finish and strong aftertaste. It's not for everyone, but I loved it.

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES - from Eckerton Hill Farms, Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Howard's miracle plum, buttermilk, poppy seed, and watercress
The buttermilk and poppy seed combination is one that fans of Momofuku know well. Although I'm personally not enthralled by this combination, it worked well here. The chef made a point to notice the plum, which has an extremely short harvesting season. It was good with the rest of the salad, but I don't eat enough plums to be able to comment on how it compares to others.

SPANISH MACKEREL - from Charleston, South Carolina
Piri piri and chimichurri
I don't recall having had chimichurri with fish before, but it made perfect sense with such a meaty and oily fish. The addition of pine nuts was also nice, and overall this was just a delicious dish, the type that will pretty much satisfy anyone.

SUMMER SQUASH - from Blooming Hill Farm, Monroe, New York
Harissa, feta, fried quinoa, and sunflower seed
This was a nice dish but not as exciting as the other stuff we'd had up to that point. I found the progression of the dishes interesting, because it wasn't a steady move from light to heavy. It was more that many of the dishes were heavy in general, and a salad would be thrown in between heavy dishes to cleanse the palate a bit.

GRILLED SQUID - from F/V Teresa Ann, Monterey Bay, California
Blood sausage, new potato, shishito, and caramelized aioli
Even though I have no problems eating Chinese blood pudding, I don't particularly enjoy morcilla. But the blood sausage here was (I shouldn't have been surprised at this point) amazing. Solid texture and chew without any extraneous fillers or herbs. It was a well composed dish, but to me the blood sausage was the star of the show.

Another tart drink which proved necessary when the final course showed itself.

HAM CHOP "IN HAY" - from Heritage Foods USA, Trimble, Missouri
Corn, cranberry bean, and sorrel
BARBEQUE[sic] CARROTS - from Phillips Farms, Milford, New Jersey
Dill and pecan
Simple, well done, and delicious. From the looks of it, it was unclear how the slabs of pork belly would taste, but as soon as it hit the taste buds, the comforting taste of smoked ham was the first thing that came to mind. The carrots were a good accompaniment, although I would have preferred them less crunchy.

BRAISED CHERRIES - from Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, New York
Anna's sour cream coffee cake, creme legere
Staying with the overall theme of the menu, the dessert was a simple, yet substantial and delicious cake. The digestif tasted like Chinese herbal medicine, one of those things that you drink only because someone tells you it's good for you. I'm used to it but it certainly wasn't for everyone.

Overall, I would highly recommend trying the next one. I have plenty of faith that the quality of invitees will continue to be stellar, and the food easily made up for the shortcomings in the dining experience that weren't to my liking. At $123 all-in including tax, service, and beverage pairing, it was a very good value even discounting the hour at which we had to eat. There's no guarantee that the next dinner in the series will feature comparable quality and quantity, but I'd be shocked if there was a big drop off.

Aug 14, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Large Format Aged Prime Rib at the Breslin

Here's a decent list

I've had the prime rib at Keens, and while it was tasty and huge, there was no real funk to it to the point that I wonder if it was aged.

Aug 11, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

NYC's Underground Japanese Eats

Sounds great. I'm originally born and raised in HK, but haven't even been back to visit in a few years. How's the restaurant scene lately? Must not be great if you're eating from the supermarkets every night!?

Aug 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

NYC's Underground Japanese Eats

These all look really good! I can't really get out for lunch any more though. Are you back in NYC, kosmose?

Aug 07, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

NYC's Underground Japanese Eats

Is Tsukushi still around? Do they still have no signage?

Aug 06, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Large Format Aged Prime Rib at the Breslin

It doesn't feel like a particular bargain, but I wouldn't call it unreasonably expensive. If we price it out at say $15 for the salad, $9 each for the two sides, $6 for the Yorkshire pudding, and $9 for the mousse, we're looking at $47 for the prime rib with sauces.

There's a prime rib large format at Burger and Barrel that's $75 per person, but I'm not sure if that's aged, especially since it only requires 24 hour notice.

Aug 01, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Large Format Aged Prime Rib at the Breslin

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

There are now many large format meals at restaurants all over NYC. Some may be ambitious and kind of a spectacle http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919465 , while some are just great family-style dinners http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970104. The prime rib meal at the Breslin belongs in the latter category, as it is primarily chef April Bloomfield's version of a Sunday roast.

The meal started off with a delicious and satisfying salad. The flavors of the vegetables were clean and clear and not overpowered by the feta and vinaigrette. There was great skill on display as the vegetables were cut purposefully into sizes which enhanced the different textural contrasts and flavor combinations in each bite.

There were about 9 slices of prime rib each cut to about 1.5cm thick for the 7 of us (the meal is charged per person at an 8 person minimum), with a few very delicious bones served in a separate bowl. The steak was very tender, and while there wasn't an strong aged funk in the flavor of the meat, its presence was noticeable in the fat. The red wine sauce was nice, but I loved the horseradish cream, which was creamy and delicious, providing a nice kick that didn't overwhelm as horseradish often does.

Both vegetable sides were excellent. The beets were not too sweet, and the broccoli retained an excellent texture.

A staple of the British Sunday roast, this was delicious and perfect for mopping up all the sauces and meat juices.

I'm usually not a mousse fan, but I enjoyed this as it was very light and airy and the chocolate flavor was not too sweet.

The large format meals at the Breslin have now expanded to two availabilities per time slot, with the primary seating done at the large "chef's table" right in front of the open kitchen, as well as a set of tables put together upstairs. Overall, it was a delicious meal that I would recommend for large group get-togethers. However, it is still just a fancy Sunday roast, so for foodies looking for more than just a nice meal together, some of the Breslin's other large format choices might be better.

The Breslin (inside Ace Hotel
)20 W 29th St
Manhattan, NY 10001

Jul 31, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Sushi Yasaka: Satisfying Pre-Theater/UWS Option

Yea I was looking forward to the salt, and by itself the salt had nice flavors. I think it didn't work because of the salt itself. It was very fine, like table salt. I think if he used a stronger sea salt that might have done the trick.

Jul 31, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Sushi Yasaka: Satisfying Pre-Theater/UWS Option

As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

I don't tend to find myself on the upper west side above 60th street for dinner too often. When I do, I usually just end up at Luke's Lobster or Shake Shack for a solid, inexpensive dinner. There are other good restaurants in the neighborhood, but as in the case of my visit to Red Farm http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/931161 , I find them not to be much of a value proposition.

I'd read good things about Sushi Yasaka before http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919857 , noting good quality sushi and tempura at a reasonable price. In general, I have a strong aversion to neighborhood sushi restaurants, often finding them to be overpriced while serving generic salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and rolls. But since I was recently in the neighborhood anyway, I decided it was a good time to give them a try. I went with their two signature menu items.

)There was a good selection of vegetables, ranging from soft eggplant to crunchy lotus root to an interesting fried fig. Everything was fried well, with the flavor and texture of each of the underlying ingredients coming through. Accompanying the tempura was a selection of three flavored salts. The flavors were yuzu, green tea, and wasabi, and while they were quite delightful by themselves, they weren't really strong enough to assert themselves when sprinkled onto the pieces of tempura. There is a note on the menu about the seasonality of the vegetables and how they are fresh from the farm/market, but the percentage of root vegetables seemed a little high considering it was the middle of summer. It was a very enjoyable dish overall, and I guess the root vegetables helped to make it more filling.

While none of the fish was particularly exotic, there was good variety on offer, including an interesting piece of raw octopus tentacle. The seafood retained good texture and the rice was about on par with some of the slightly more expensive places in the city. Each piece came with its own non-traditional sauce, and was very reminiscent of Sushi of Gari. Some of these worked really spectacularly, such as a basil sauce on the king salmon, while none of the special sauces really felt out of place. Our uni, however, was so funky that it had a stink to it which was a bit off-putting. Luckily it didn't linger. The roll, which was half fatty tuna with scallion and half yellowtail with scallion, was pretty good despite limp nori. Overall, there were definitely enough highlights to feel that this was more than just one of those neighborhood sushi spots that I try to avoid.

Speaking of Sushi of Gari, one of the Sushi Yasaka's main draws is the price. At the nearby Gari on Columbus, vegetable tempura costs $20 (although it comes with rice) while 8 pieces of Gari's signature sushi costs $52. I haven't been to any of the Gari branches in years, but I don't think Gari's sushi is superior enough to justify the price difference. In an area that I consider lacking in good restaurants that aren't overpriced, I'm happy to add Sushi Yasaka to my rotation of food options.

251 W 72nd St (West of Broadway)
Manhattan, 10023

Jul 29, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

15 East - Pedestrian Sushi and A Scaly Foot

First off, that sucks about the poor experiences.

In both your EMP and 15E review you mentioned situations that I think could have been resolved if you spoke up. One of the things I personally like about both places is that if you mention something, they will take care of it quickly. While many prefer near-psychic, anticipatory service, I personally don't find a need for that, I just want issues resolved in the rare cases they come up.

Also on the subject of not speaking up, were you served by Masato himself? Did you engage and interact with him? Much has also been said on the board about the need to dine specifically with him. I'm sure if you mentioned your experience and what you were looking for, he would have more stuff that fit your palate.

I haven't been back to Kuruma in years either, but my last dinner at Kuruma was 3x the price of my last dinner at 15E. A possible conclusion might just be that in NYC, you need a $500pp meal to get what you would consider"non-pedestrian" level sushi, whether it be at Kuruma or Masa.

Jul 24, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Per Se salon, Marea or Momo Ko

I would vote for Ko if you can get a reservation. I've never liked the situation/ambiance in the Per Se salon, and I don't really think their food does well in an a la carte setting. Marea is excellent but I don't think is quite at the level of the other two in terms of food.

Don't know if it's still applicable, but I used to advise people to try for Ko reservations on Sat and Sun morning, when they're not fighting interns and people are still hungover.

Jul 24, 2014
fooder in Manhattan

Costata: The Underrated Michael White Restaurant that Covers All the Bases

Didn't really have enough pastas to fully compare, but the excellence of pastas at Michael White restaurants seems to be pretty consistent across the board.

I was also surprised that while Costata's pastas may be slightly smaller in size, their costs are the same as those at Osteria Morini.

Jul 24, 2014
fooder in Manhattan