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Sushi Yasuda


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Sharing a corner of Yasuda-san's station at the bar, another eGer and I enjoyed a parade of perhaps 30-35 portions of sashimi and sushi Tuesday lunch. We told him to "cook" for us. I said to another familiar with Yasuda that I had not enjoyed sushi more since the hey day of Hatsuhana. She told me that Yasuda- san was Hatsuhana and a customer backed him in the new place. All I can say is if you really appreciate sushi, go.

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jaybee, that's a prodigious quantity of sushi. By portion you mean two pieces?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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jaybee, that's a prodigious quantity of sushi. By portion you mean two pieces?

We asked Yasuda to divide the serving 60% sashimi then switch to 40% sushi. So more than half was just fish. Some of the servings were just one piece. I guess we had about 15 different sashimi servings, and 15 sushi.

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I got a corner spot for dinner once about a year ago and said "take care of me". It resulted in sushi heaven. Additionally, some interesting philosophy such as "sashimi not important. Fish not important. The rice is important."

Edited by Beachfan (log)

beachfan

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jaybee, that's a prodigious quantity of sushi. By portion you mean two pieces?

the portions at Yasuda are very small. Each piece is an easy mouthfull.

I really enjoyed my meal there (dinner), recently and after a $142.00 omakase I wasn't full.

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Additionally, some interesting philosophy such as "sashimi not important. Fish not important.  The rice is important."

This is very true and any great sushi place takes tremendous care with sourcing and preparing rice.

Morihiro Onodera, the chef of Mori Sushi, actually has his rice hulled at the restaurant daily.

Only tourists to the cuisine overlook the importance of the rice.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I'm the sushi-mate in question. A pleasure to eat with jaybee, as always. The fish was extraordinary, and I have plenty to say about it, and I will, tomorrow. I will say that we did *not* eat a huge quantity of food. Each kind of fish is a small portion - the pieces are small. And since we started with sashimi, I didn't fill up on rice early on, as I sometimes do with meals like this.

A little hint - the uni was perhaps the most incredible mouthful of food I've ever had.

Edited by La Niña (log)
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you gotta call this place days in advance for a lunch reservation, unforunately.

I called at 11pm on Monday night and we got a reservation for Tuesday (the next day) at 12:30 - on the corner, right in front of Yasuda. I was even asked on the phone if I had a preference for sushi chef, and I said Yasuda, if possible, and they said no problem. Times are rough in the upscale lunch biz these days - anybody see the article about this a few days ago in the NYT?

Edited by La Niña (log)
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when one sits at a sushi bar, how/who does one tip?  seems like a unique situation as far as that goes, especially if the sushi chef is doing something a bit special.

I actually have an answer to this question in the context of Sushi Yasuda.

I ate there several months ago and we were pondering that. We ended up just flat out asking our sushi chef. The sushi chef (who was not Yasuda) told us that the waiter gets the ENTIRE TIP. Not him. Yup, the guy who just gets your beer/sake/napkin/dessert. So we gave both a tip.

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when one sits at a sushi bar, how/who does one tip?  seems like a unique situation as far as that goes, especially if the sushi chef is doing something a bit special.

Last week the Seattle Times had an article on tipping the sushi chef, and how much of the general tip reaches the sushi chef. It varies by percentage. And according to the article, some people in addition, roll up a five or ten, slip it into the chopstick cover and hand it to him, and some buy the sushi chef a drink or have a drink put on their bill, and request the chef receive one after his shift is over if he is not allowed by law (as in WA state) to drink on duty. :blink:Click Here

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so it sounds as though placing a bill in front of you is ok?  on the bar part?  isn't that dirty? does the sushi take it and put it in his pocket?

i'm actually confused about the process.

tommy, you could roll up your extra sushi chef tip and place it partially into the chopstick cover, and then just hand it to him. That way the sushi chef keeps his hands clean. Then you could leave the general tip on your credit card, or cash on the table.

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I've had it ready in a small envelope and slid it over. Quick bob of the head bow, eye contact then look up and over, talking about something else.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 8 months later...

I ate at Sushi Yasuda this weekend and every time I eat there I am blown away. I always try to sit at the sushi bar in Master Yasuda San's station and order omakase. This time was no different than any other; it was perfect. Does better exist? Anywhere?

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Does better exist?  Anywhere?

Well, about a million places in Japan for example (OK, slight exaggeration).

I like Sushi Yasuda and it is most likely the number one Sushi-place in NY and definitely among the top sushi places in the US. I am sure you had a great time, and the right way to enjoy it is to sit at Yasuda-sans counter as you did.

However, when I am in Tokyo I can get better sushi at 20% of the price of what I pay at Sushi Yasuda. If I pay the same price as I do at Sushi Yasuda I get Sushi that is far superior. After my last trip I decided not to eat there any more(or at any of the other top sushi places in NY), not because I disliked it but because I rather spend the money on Sushi when I am in Tokyo(I go there frequently enough that I can make this decision).

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Lucky you....

It is funny because on this last visit I sat next to a Japanese business man and his date/escort who told me that he finds the quality to be comparable and in some cases better in NY and the price much better. He went so far as to say that he visits Yasuda-san every time he is in NY.

I have only spent time in Tokyo Norita airport (great airport food) on a couple of occasions but I have never "really been" to Japan. I have the impression that everything in Tokyo is super expensive especially sushi and steak. Is this not true?

I may be in Hong Kong around new years and if my wife comes with me we would like to spend a few nights in Tokyo on our way home. I would appreciate your recommendations for both "better sushi at 20% of the price.... Sushi that is far superior".

Thanks!

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Lucky you....

It is funny because on this last visit I sat next to a Japanese business man and his date/escort who told me that he finds the quality to be comparable and in some cases better in NY and the price much better.  He went so far as to say that he visits Yasuda-san every time he is in NY. 

I have only spent time in Tokyo Norita airport (great airport food) on a couple of occasions but I have never "really been" to Japan.  I have  the impression that everything in Tokyo is super expensive especially sushi and steak.  Is this not true?

I may be in Hong Kong around new years and if my wife comes with me we would like to spend a few nights in Tokyo on our way home.  I would appreciate your recommendations for both "better sushi at 20% of the price.... Sushi that is far superior".

Thanks!

Without knowing the details of the businessman it is hard to tell, but I know a Japanese businessman who when he comes here insist on drinking Budwiser wherever he goes(most important thing for him). He might also take everything into account such as the atmosphere etc.

Tokyos reputation as a superexpensive place dates back to 10 years ago, today IMO it provides at least equally good value as NY does for dining if you know where to go.

If you have a chance to stop over you should take the opportunity, great city to visit for food, but it requires some preparation. If you decide to go I'll definitely help you with recommendations, and the people on the Japanese board I'm sure will assist you as well.

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Thanks again!

Good point - "Without knowing the details of the businessman it is hard to tell, but I know a Japanese businessman who when he comes here insist on drinking Budwiser wherever he goes (most important thing for him)."

I am fairly certain that this was a very wealthy businessman because of his attire, jewelry and choice of hotel but this does not mean that he has good taste nor that he is in the "know".

I hope I will get there this year and see/taste for myself.

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I wouldn't find it hard to believe that the best sushi in Japan is a little better than the sushi at Yasuda, and a little less expensive. That would make sense, given the market. But if the sushi in Japan is a lot better than the sushi at Yasuda and costs 1/5 the price, I'll have to make visiting Japan a much higher priority than it was before. However . . . that's not the opinion of the well-traveled gourmets upon whom I rely for reality checks on this sort of thing.

What exactly is it about the sushi in Japan that's allegedly so much better than the sushi at Yasuda? Is it the quality of the fish? That I would find very hard to believe, since there's a maximum level of quality and Yasuda buys at that level for most species. The global trade in sushi-quality fish allows restaurants in New York and Tokyo to buy from the same product pool -- it's just a question of how much they're willing to pay. Is it a question of sushi-making technique? Again, that's a hard claim to swallow, given the number of seriously knowledgeable sushi eaters who thing Yasuda is world class. Beyond that, is there anything else about sushi that can be better? It's not like anybody is cooking it, so that doesn't come into play. Decor? Service? Yasuda is spot-on in all those respects.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I wouldn't find it hard to believe that the best sushi in Japan is a little better than the sushi at Yasuda, and a little less expensive. That would make sense, given the market. But if the sushi in Japan is a lot better than the sushi at Yasuda and costs 1/5 the price, I'll have to make visiting Japan a much higher priority than it was before. However . . . that's not the opinion of the well-traveled gourmets upon whom I rely for reality checks on this sort of thing.

For around 20-25 dollars, I can eat Sushi that is as good or sligthly better than Sushi Yasuda IMO. The decor would then usually not be near the decor at Yasuda, and the service would be about the same or less. Sushi-breakfast in Tsukiji would cost about the same ($20-25).

What exactly is it about the sushi in Japan that's allegedly so much better than the sushi at Yasuda? Is it the quality of the fish? That I would find very hard to believe, since there's a maximum level of quality and Yasuda buys at that level for most species. The global trade in sushi-quality fish allows restaurants in New York and Tokyo to buy from the same product pool -- it's just a question of how much they're willing to pay. Is it a question of sushi-making technique? Again, that's a hard claim to swallow, given the number of seriously knowledgeable sushi eaters who thing Yasuda is world class. Beyond that, is there anything else about sushi that can be better? It's not like anybody is cooking it, so that doesn't come into play. Decor? Service? Yasuda is spot-on in all those respects.

Sushi Yasuda is a world-class restaurant, but I would argue that it would not be considered a destination restaurant in Tokyo for Sushi. I agree with you that there is an upper level to how good Sushi can become, but here are some of the differences.

In a place like Miyako-Sushi (a small Sushi-restaurant with two chefs and 20 seats where the cost is about 100$ per person for a splurge ), the chef himself buys the fish in the morning at Tsukiji. He has the distinct advantage over a New York establishment that he can select the fish directly where as a NY restaurant would have to rely on a reliable purchaser.

Secondly, by the time the fish is served on the table in Tokyo it is sitting on a plane to NY, this will add at least 24 hours to the time by which it can arrive on a table in NY.

Miyako Susho(where I ate a couple of months back) propably does not qualify as a world class restaurant, the decor is more like a coffeeshop and Yasuda beats it hands down in that department. However, the Sushi that I ate there was superior than Yasuda at a comparable price in terms of overall quality of the fish. On individual items I can agree that SY could be as good or better but not in terms of the overall selection and quality served over a meal.

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One could make the mirror-image argument, however, with respect to all the fish that are often superior here in the US and that need to be air-shipped to Japan: tuna, salmon, lobster, etc. Yasuda can get day-boat fish from Montauk, Chatham, Providence, and other ports 24-hours ahead of any restaurant in Japan, and he can get slightly better turnaround on fish from the West Coast of the US, from Europe, and from South America.

I guess I have to go to Japan to settle this once and for all.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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One could make the mirror-image argument, however, with respect to all the fish that are often superior here in the US and that need to be air-shipped to Japan: tuna, salmon, lobster, etc. Yasuda can get day-boat fish from Montauk, Chatham, Providence, and other ports 24-hours ahead of any restaurant in Japan, and he can get slightly better turnaround on fish from the West Coast of the US, from Europe, and from South America.

Agree, but most of the fish is still sourced via Japan(at least that is what the chefs tell me when I ask, don't know about SY specifically). I'm surprised myself that they do not source more locally.

I guess I have to go to Japan to settle this once and for all.

Go to Japan not only for Sushi, it is a great overall food-destination.

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