Sushi Yasuda: New York, NY, USA
My friends will attest that every three or four months or so, I will get really itchy feet. Some call it escapism, I call it a much-needed touching of base with myself. For those of us who are prone to be giving and serving so much, either in the profession or with our families, personal time is a crucial factor in basically staying out of the psych ward. Personally, my at-home indulgences include reading a good book, baking or cooking, writing/blogging, or curling up with anime or a movie. However, with something as busy as the Hopkins MPH, I literally do not have time to indulge in any at-home luxuries. This leads to a severe buildup of stress and that’s when I get super antsy. That’s also when spontaneous trips to NYC get planned and booked. Amtrak how you ruin me!
I normally do this splurge maybe once, at most twice a year. Some women buy a $500 Vuitton purse or an $800 pair of Jimmy Choos. I book a reservation for one (you read that right) at one of the top sushi restaurants in NYC for a seat at the bar and order the omakase. Even saving up for this splurge still put me in the hole, but it was so damn worth it. Be warned, this post is all about sushi food porn. You may actually overdose on it.
There are two kinds of omakase at Yasuda: sushi or sushi-sashimi. I ordered the latter as I wanted more fresh fish than rice. However, I believe that the bill was higher than what my friend quoted me because of it. The sashimi though was so worth it. I hope I can remember this correctly, but I believe the sashimi platter consisted of bay scallop, squid/octopus, clam, salmon, tuna, yellowtail, red snapper, butter fish. Butter fish was probably my least favorite, but still ridiculously tasty. Also, I heard that it can do a number on the GI system so I was glad there was only 3 pieces. Everything literally melted in my mouth. The bay scallops, octopus, and clam was served with sea salt and lightly dressed with fresh lemon that the chef will squeeze on top right after serving. Surprisingly, maguro (tuna) was not my favorite even though it usually is. My favorite was the bay scallops followed by the salmon and then the red snapper.
I did get toro (fatty tuna). How can I not get toro? Sushi Yasuda supposedly has seven types of toro, but I believe you’d have to tell them that you want every single toro that they had. I did have a fabulous assortment of other fish like sea bream and the three different parts of the large clam. That was one fantastic clam.
One of my favorites were three types of unagi (eel) sushi. The first was a braised eel I believe. Surprisingly, I found this to be my favorite one. It was a little juicier than the other two. The middle piece of unagi was from NJ and was freshwater, and the last one was from China. I’m always wary of things that come from China just given all the chemicals and pollution in that country. Organic foods have been tested to be not organic simply due to the amount of pollution in the rain that comes from the eastern side of the country. But I’ll save that for another post. The piece of unagi from China was a little drier than the other pieces. It was still very flavorful and tasted wonderful, but I can’t say that it was my favorite out of the three.
How good is Sushi Yasuda? It’s so good that while I normally dislike uni (sea urchin), the piece that was placed before me literally melted on my tongue like liquid gold. It didn’t have the ridiculously fishy flavor nor the quasi-firm texture that most Japanese sushi restaurants have. I would have ordered more but reality told me my bill would have gone way more than the $200 budget I set for myself.
If you are a sushi enthusiast and you can manage the one-time (although this rule may be broken once you actually taste the sushi) splurge in New York, I highly and I mean highly recommend Sushi Yasuda. My foodie friends came through once again with this recommendation, and I am so grateful to have had the experience even though chef Yasuda has returned to Japan. It still maintains the exquisite flavor and experience that my friends have raved about still to this day. Feel free to check them out here (a short walk from Grand Central):
204 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017 : (212) 972.1001
I would most definitely recommend calling for reservations, if you can do it two to three weeks in advance, that would be better, especially if you are not a party of one. Also, (I believe) to allow as many people as possible to participate in this great sushi experience, you can’t really just sit there for hours on end. But truly, this is a meal worth the price tag. I may have scared my omakase chef though. HAHA, I highly doubt that they see a single female armed with dSLR in hand, ordering omakase at the bar on top of it all. Then again, my personal way is to do it all at 100%, no regrets. Next up will be Ippudo! Until next time…