Tag Archives: omakase

New Kid on the Block – Kura’s Omakase Leaves You Feeling Happy

IMG_8528Kura
130 St Mark’s Pl
(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009

Kura is a new Japanese restaurant on St. Mark’s that is NOT owned by the St. Mark’s Japanese restauranteur legend (who owns Soba-YaRobatayaCha-AnCurry-Ya, and Shabu-Tatsu). It’s actually owned by Huey Cheng, a fellow middle school classmate of mine from Beijing. He recently moved to New York and has been working on this venture with Chef Ishizuka (with many more to come).

Kura is an intimate sushi restaurant that doesn’t have a menu. It’s currently hidden under some scaffolding, but even without the scaffolding, the entrance is small enough that one might just walk past it. It also doesn’t have windows. All these things make it sound like a pretentiously expensive restaurant, but it isn’t. At all. Kura is modestly elegant; the smooth, matte, white ash wood decor makes the place feel homey. It’s just dim enough and small enough to feel intimate; yet, the soft warm lighting allows you to see your food clearly and the seating is arranged such that you don’t feel claustrophobic (even without the windows.)

IMG_8505
LAW took me here on Tuesday night and we tried the omakase with both cooked foods and sushi. Chef Ishizuka specializes in Osaka cuisine, which tends to be on the sweeter side. We started with a yellowtail sashimi with a light ponzu type sauce with lots of scallions. The chef includes some kind of fish skin chopped up in the mixture, which adds a little fattiness and, surprisingly, crunchiness. It is slightly sweet with a citrus aftertaste. LAW claims this is the best yellowtail he has ever had in his life.
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Sushi Yasuda, the closest thing to Jiro in NYC?

Sushi Yasuda
204 E 43rd St
(between 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017

I recently watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi again because LAW had not seen it yet.  It was, again, inspiring and humbling.  For LAW’s birthday, I decided to take him out to what I have synthesized to be the closest thing to Jiro we could find in NYC.

We ordered the omakase, which translates to, “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese.  Ordering the omakase means you are entrusting your entire meal to the sushi chef.  It is a form of respect at these nice sushi places and also the way to go because you end up getting the freshest fish and potentially trying some new fish you did not know about.  The omakase at Sushi Yasuda ranges in price (averages at $125 per person), depending on how much you can eat and what kind of fish you are served.  The sushi chef serves about 20-30 pieces of nigiri sushi, one by one, ensuring that every piece you get is served at the proper fish temperature and rice temperature.  After the last nigiri of the set, usually an egg custard one, he asks if you would like anything else.  Our meal, including tip, was $350.  You are supposed to eat using your hands.  There is a pinched piece of cloth drenched in lemon water for you to wipe your fingers after each bite.

Bluefin Tuna

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