We haven’t tried too many omakase restaurants, but this was definitely the treat of a lifetime. This is perhaps one of the best meals ever had in NYC, but one that we probably would not repeat again (our collective wallet cries out in mad desperation). I skipped lunch for this and realized that’s only smart for AYCE places and not places that charge ~$8 per nigiri piece…
Each party at the bar is treated by an individual chef. Our Chef Kiyo’s English wasn’t great, so we had to ask him multiple times to repeat the names of certain fish, but he was very patient.
Yasuda is a great place to experience true, traditional Japanese sushi (move aside, Sushi Boy and Fairway Market rolls). The décor is minimalist – absent are the wallpapers and paintings. The restaurant’s appearance forces one to focus on the food. If sitting at the bar, one gets the pleasure to watch the masters at work, rounding out the rice beds and slicing the fish. The wait staff was kind and filled our water multiple times, but only caught them in the act once (so sneaky!). One thing to note all food is consumed sans utensil. A small, folded wet cloth is provided to clean the fingers after every piece (although chopsticks are available) and soy sauce (but the chef will ask to forgo it in favor of the fish’s unadulterated flavor). Now onto the sushi:
– White fish flight: Sea Bream and Golden Eye Snapper: both very light, delicate white fish slices. I preferred the darker colored snapper. It had more texture and flavor – a great way to start off the Omakase journey.
– Tuna flight: Bonito and Blue Fin Tuna: moving on to the darker, red meat fishes. The Bonito was good but nothing spectacular. The Blue Fin was tender and amazing. Probably the best regular tuna cut I have ever had.
– Yellowtail flight: Kampachi / Shinpachi / Hamachi: I’m not sure if these are three different cuts or if they are three different fish, but they all had a different texture. From left to right, it went from chewy to soft. We agreed that the Shinpachi was the best one. All the Yellowtail pieces were rich in flavor and had a nice creaminess to them.
– Salmon flight: New Zealand / White King / Alaskan / Sock Eye: we told the chef that we preferred the creamier, fattier fish, such as salmon, so he treated us with a 4 piece salmon flight. This was perhaps our favorite part of the night. I loved having to delve into the nuances of the different fish’s flavors. I enjoyed the Sock Eye salmon the most, with the New Zealand following close behind. I definitely recommend ordering this variety of salmons.
– Salmon Roe: good, but easily passable.
– Uni flight: Hokkaido / Squid / Santa Barbra: Sonia is an uni FIEND so she enjoyed this treat. The Hokkaido uni was very creamy and liquidy, almost like egg yolk. It had a more subtle flavor than the Santa Barbra uni. The SB uni was more solid in consistency and had a richer flavor. I preferred their California piece over the Japanese. The squid was cut very thinly and served as a nice intermediary between the two.
– Oh-Toro: fatty and juicy, this is a must have for any sushi snob. Literally will melted in our mouths.
– Eel flight: Unagi / Anago 1 / Anago 2: I really enjoyed this course as well. The Unagi was definitely king with its soft yet meaty texture and permeating sweet sauce. I had never had Anago before, but found them both enjoyable. They felt very dry texture-wise but packed a huge punch in sweet flavor.
– Mackerel flight: Spanish / Jack / Japanese: I was a little disappointed to find that the first two pieces didn’t have that typical “saba” vinegary flavor that really sets mackerel apart from all the other sushi fish. However, the Japanese Mackerel still had that redeeming, unique flavor.
– Crustacean flight: Crab / Ebi: this was our least favorite course. Both the crab and shrimp were delicious, but unmemorable.
– Tamago: a nice, delicious, succulent sweetness that perfectly wraps up your sushi experience.
Our overall impression of Sushi Yasuda? A perfect meal, the only drawback being the extremely high price of the meal.