Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dinner at Sushi Yasuda (food, MomVisit09)

Sushi Yasuda is almost always on everyone's list of top 3 sushi restaurants in NYC. It's most famous for its spectacular rice, but its large variety of fish, reasonable prices for a top tier restaurant, and its remarkable consistency are contributing factors as well. While I'm not a regular to the point where Yasuda knows my name, I go often enough that he does recognize me. I only sit at the sushi bar at his station, and order the omakase (chef's choice). It's not only about the food, it's a whole experience watching him work and listening to him talk as he's so passionate and knowledgeable about what he does.

A lot of it is about the food though. Sushi Yasuda's pieces are relatively small, with the aim of being able to fit in one bite in most people's mouths. They have a large variety of fish, and will usually have about 5 different types each of salmon, mackerel, yellowtail, and other families. We ate in total about 33 or so pieces of sushi each, so I'll just mention a few of our favorite pieces.

Fluke fin - Yasuda's favorite

Squid face - He said it was part of the face, and it did have a cartilaginous texture at parts which seemed like perhaps the eye socket?

Orange clam - Fresh with great texture

Peace passage oyster - Yasuda only uses this type of oyster, which he says is about two pounds in size. He cuts pieces from it and says that pieces from different parts of the oyster have different tastes and textures.

Scallion sprouts - Great scallion taste and yet just shy of the overpowering spiciness that raw garlic and raw scallions have.

Otoro - I really think he always saves the real nice piece of otoro for regulars. That night's piece was truly amazing, and, as Yasuda himself put it, "looks like (well-marbled) beef!" Here's a picture:
The chef at work:

That's not to say there aren't bad things about Yasuda. When you order omakase with as many pieces as I do, it's not guaranteed that he'll remember everything and bill you correctly. I usually don't care if the number is in the ballpark, although I'm pretty sure that night I paid for a couple pieces that the diners next to us had. In all, we had about 33 or so pieces each and the total with t/t came to $430 for two.

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