The Ten Best Sushi Restaurants in NYC
The best sushi transcends the sum of its parts, achieving self-evidence by way of pure ingredients and honest process. Whether it's meticulous, traditional edomae-style, or a modernized, experimental take, New Yorkers are fortunate to have some of the best seafood available--even if much of it comes with a Gulliver-sized carbon footprint and prices to match (some restaurants attempt to offset these offerings with local, sustainable options). Arguments abound as to the superiority of a particular style, but wherever your allegiances lie, sushi in New York is as diverse a cuisine as the city itself. Every bite is a promise; a dream that we too can be Jiros, even if just for one day (or perhaps twice in one day if you're Jeremy Piven). Here are our favorites.
Related: Read my story about the Upper East Side's ocean of sushi, which appeared in last week's paper.
10. Sushi Azabu, 428 Greenwich Street
Descending the steps to this subterranean raw fish powerhouse in the basement of Tribeca's Greenwich Grill no longer feels as insider-y as it used to, but that hasn't stopped the intimate sushi den from drawing waves of area residents and traveling nigiri nerds. The restaurant shines brightest when serving raw preparations including a kitchen appetizer of bakudan-nattō, which finds roughly diced sashimi (usually tuna, salmon, and white fish) bound together with sticky, fermented soybeans, slightly vinegared sushi rice, grated mountain potato, and a quail egg. Add a sprinkling of house-fermented, truly umami-rich soy sauce--infused overnight with seaweed and bonito flake--and drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto sheets of crisp nori to wrap into individual bites. The sushi is textbook edomae, and Azabu's chefs pamper each piece with a brush of sauce or a scattering of scallions.
9. Sushi Dojo, 110 First Avenue
If his intentions weren't so wholesome, David Bouhadana might be mistaken for double agent given the secrets he seems to have brought back from his time spent learning under sushi masters in Japan. Bouhadana has resurfaced in the East Village after presciently jumping ship from the ill-fated Sushi Uo before it succumbed to last-ditch stunts involving erotic rope bondage. Now free to do as he pleases, the 27-year old shows off superior sourcing in a knob of Tasmanian sea trout, luscious and sweet with background salinity, and a choice of three different kinds of sea urchin. Fish selection is tailored to individual tastes, and a meal spent at the chef's side yields delightful surprises, one of which is Bouhadana's ability to share his knowledge with both passion and patience.
8. Soto, 357 Sixth Avenue
Likely the most extravagant mom-and-pop shop you'll ever come across, this paean to that spiky scourge of the sea--the urchin--serves as center stage for a romantic duet as husband-and-wife team Sotohiro and Maho Kosugi deliver a performance that is equal parts alchemy and precision. Mr. Kosugi applies a gentle touch to nigiri and other cold dishes while the matriarch presiding over the modest space constructs artful cooked plates including a miso soup whose urchin-enriched broth comes studded with nuggets of lobster, zippy ginger shoots, and chives. The Brangelina of New York sushi, the pair presents uni of varying provenance in unexpected ways, accentuating the orange roe's many tastes and textures. In doing so, they've elevated the discussion on this cultish oceanic delicacy and created a worthy destination for the city's uni lovers--a notoriously prickly bunch.
428 Greenwich St., New York, NY