Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Sushi Seki Review (food)

It's time for another Sushi Seki review for a couple of reasons. One, there just isn't much out there on the web about Sushi Seki. For a well-respected top level restaurant in NYC, it doesn't have much of a presence on the web. They don't even have a website. Seki doesn't seem too interested in opening multiple locations. If you google "sushi seki", a NYM article from 2003 still returns on the first page of results. Also, it's one of the few top level sushi places where I don't have to make a reservation in advance to satisfy my craving. A big reason for that is that I don't feel a big drop off in quality between sitting at a table versus sitting at the sushi bar like I feel there is at other places.

Sitting at the sushi bar, most patrons order the omakase (chef's choice). In my experience, however, the omakase at Sushi Seki is almost always the same every time. The same pieces in the same order, unlike many places where freshness and availability strongly affect what's served. So I no longer order the omakase. I've been there enough times to know which pieces I prefer and just order them separately. Below are pictures of some, but not all, of the pieces I will usually have at a dinner there.

Chopped eel and avocado.

Tuna with tofu sauce.

The three golden flowers rolls. The photo was taken after I ate exactly half of what was on the plate. Since I don't like everything on the omakase, this helps to fill me up. On the left is the salmon with tomato on top, in the middle is spicy tuna with more tuna and tofu sauce on top, and to the right is more eel with avocado.

Salmon with scallion sauce and seaweed.

Seared toro with garlic sauce.

Sauteed whitefish in butter. One of the few times to eat completely cooked fish at a sushi place. The crisp exterior gives way to buttery flaky fish that's cut just a little with the vinegar from the sushi rice.

My favorite piece of all, the triple decker. A grilled kumamoto oyster on the bottom, with a slice of chutoro and topped with uni and his green sauce. I've written about this piece before, and it's just as good as I remember it, especially if the oyster is hot and the uni is chilled. They still don't have a name for this piece, so when I order it I just show them a picture on my phone from one of my previous blog entries. I was also surprised that a regular (you could tell he was really a regular) had not seen this before I ordered it. I left before he gave it a try, but hopefully he liked it too.

Other notable pieces include the snow crab and the spicy tuna hand roll. He does have shiro ebi on occasion as well. The food is great as it is, but I give it extra points for the ease with which I can find a seat. They're also open late, till about 230am, so I hear it is a favorite of chefs who get off late and want good food.

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