The Ten Best Sushi Restaurants in NYC
It was early 2011 when Naomichi Yasuda left his eponymous Midtown sushi shrine and returned to Japan; the city's sushi lovers wept. Thankfully, two of the master's longtime disciples, Tatsuya Sekiguchi and Mitsuru Tamura, were there to wipe away those tears of sadness and replace them with salty droplets of joy. Good sushi has that effect on people, and Yasuda's bolder offerings--hiramasa, rock crab, scallop roe--practically beg to be devoured by sentimental gastronomic Darwinists. The trusted itamae do the head honcho proud, dispensing immaculate product with a hushed and delicate fastidiousness, though there's never a dull moment when plates hit the table. Blowfish has been sterilized of its poison. Still, the tempura-fried nuggets of tender white flesh feel daring. Yasuda is one of the tougher tables in town, but call ahead, and you might be able to snag last-minute seats. If you're lucky, saddle up to that beautiful L-shaped bar and knock a few species off your sushi bucket list.
2. Tanoshi, 1372 York Avenue
Tanoshi was poised for sushi stardom from the onset. The bar seats 10 comfortably, 11 if a solo diner is willing to squeeze into a corner spot--a wise choice as the stool sits directly in front of chef Toshio Oguma--and before switching to phone reservations, hopeful eaters had to trek to the restaurant at 1 p.m. to scribble their name on a sign-in sheet. Together with a bite-sized apprentice, a porter, and a waitress, Oguma constructs a meal that includes uncommon offerings such as sea bream, halibut, and crab brains. Dishes for wasabi and soy sauce are nowhere to be seen, leaving a tumble of pickled ginger as the only condiment (and even then, it's only intended use is as a palate cleanser). The spot has recently begun offering futomaki and a tiny but potent cup of miso-tinged fish broth to wind things down before the finale of an almost out-of-place spicy tuna hand roll. After several blazing hot reviews from trusted outlets, these seats are now booked a month in advance.
1. Sasabune, 401 East 73rd Street
Seven years ago, Kenji Takahashi brought LA's omakase-only Sasabune to a modest, tranquil space off the corner of First Avenue and 73rd Street. Takahashi famously makes daily 5 a.m. trips to the Hunt's Point Fulton Fish Market to source product for the New York flagship and a less expensive, a la carte offshoot called Sasabune Express on East 59th Street. In addition to selective sourcing, it's the chef's control of his ingredients that most astounds. Kelp, yuzukoshō, ponzu, and nitsume sauces empower piece after piece of delicate seafood on plates featuring two or three different phylum. This edible taxonomy paints pictures of the seasons and displays them like compositions arranged in an art gallery. Perhaps even more essential is Sasabune's treatment of their rice; served at varying temperatures and with varying amounts of vinegar to bring out the nuances of each protein. The restaurant's design is less grand than some others on this list, but like the pristine nigiri Takahashi places in front of his customers, Sasabune far eclipses its own humility. It also serves some of the finest ankimo (monkfish liver) we've ever tried; warm and wobbly, the livers are soft as fresh tofu and redolent with heady, briny fat.
357 Sixth Ave., New York, NY
1143 First Ave., New York, NY
15 E. 15th St., New York, NY
7 E. 47th St., New York, NY
30 Hudson St., New York, NY
204 E. 43rd St., New York, NY
401 E. 73rd St., New York, NY