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Sushi Yasuda


jaybee
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I actually like wasabi a lot. Maybe I wasn't chewing properly or something :raz:

I found that occasionally, as I was chewing, I would hit the wasabi towards the end and just get a big chunk all at once which overwelmed me.

Also, another question I have about omakase. How does the pricing work exactly? Do you know how much it's going to cost beforehand, or is it just the sort of thing where you shouldn't think about the price at all and they just figure it out at the end depending on what you were served? sighh...wish I didn't have to consider such minor details like...MONEY :wacko:

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wish I didn't have to consider such minor details like...MONEY  :wacko:

I hear you! Fat Guy will tell you that if you go all out and get all the top-tier stuff (which, he would also say, doesn't necessarily mean better stuff, just more luxurious cuts and maybe some off-the-menu items) you'll spend $200+ per person. But if you let Yasuda know how much your are willing to spend, he'll tailor omakase as such. I usually go and order a la carte for the first few pieces and just let him take over part of the way through. And even if you don't ask for omakase, he'll start making suggestions during the meal.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I usually go and order a la carte for the first few pieces and just let him take over part of the way through. And even if you don't ask for omakase, he'll start making suggestions during the meal.

I usually do the other way around in most Japanese restaurants. I order Omakase first, with a price that is below what I expect to spend. An Omakase is an interactive affair from the beginning and as the meal progress the chef should have a pretty good understanding of what you like. At the end of the meal, after the Omakase is completed, I either order some repeats or pick some other things I want to try (usually together with the chef). I do this especially if I eat at a place for the first time to know what they are good at.

Omakase is so much better at the counter due to the interactive nature of it.

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Sinbad's strategy is best, in my opinion.

And I agree with JJ that there's a point of diminishing returns beyond which you're paying for luxury/prestige/novelty/rarity rather than actual quality. That point of diminishing returns is different at every sushi place, but at Yasuda I think you're wasting money after $150-$175 per person; or, at least, you shouldn't spend more than that unless 1) you have a shitload of money and an extra $100 means very little to you; or 2) sushi is extremely central to your happiness and the novelty value of hard-to-find cuts is therefore more important to you than shelter, clothing, and transportation.

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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Can anyone who has sat at the bar with someone other than Yasuda compare experiences?

I always get excited seeing a female sushi chef because there are not many of them. There is one female chef name Arisa working there and I had a wonderful experience sitting at her section. Since I went there by myself and I speak Japanese, I had so much fun talking with her. (I do not know how her English is and how much she will speak if she has to speak in English.) She explained me where fishes were from and which fishes were fatty and tasty, so I focused on eating fishes that were in season and from NY area. I have never sat at Yasuda-san's, so I cannot compare those two. As far as I can tell Arisa-san was great!

The great thing about Sushi Yasuda is not just FISH but also Shari -- SUSHI RICE. The Shari is fantastic! The rice and vinegar are well blended -- not too vinegary or no flavor of vinegar --, and the rice is not overcooked that it has very nice texture and firmness. Fish on the shari is not too big (unlike many other places) so that it is easy to eat, at least for me.

Unlike many of you who spent $100, I did not seem to spend so much money. My total bill was something like $35! What did i eat? I didn't order any appetizer and desert. I didn't do Omakase. I just had 5 or 6 pieces of sushi that she and I agreed on and a glass of beer! I guess I am so cheap. :unsure:

Check out the latest meal!

Itadakimasu

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Last time I went, I was eating at the bar with Yasuda and turning my pieces upside as I put them in my mouth (so the fish touches the tongue first). I do -- I swear -- appreciate  his sushi rice, but this was how I had read you were supposed to eat. Yasuda told me that the author of the book, once we had remembered his name, knew nothing. And he told me not to think so much. Just eat and enjoy. [Edit: I should add that he also suggested I put the piece in my mouth right side up.]

The sushi is turned so that the soy sauce touches the fish and doesn't soak into the rice.

As Yasuda-san suggested, the piece should enter the mouth right side up.

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Can anyone who has sat at the bar with someone other than Yasuda compare experiences?

I always get excited seeing a female sushi chef because there are not many of them. There is one female chef name Arisa working there and I had a wonderful experience sitting at her section. Since I went there by myself and I speak Japanese, I had so much fun talking with her. (I do not know how her English is and how much she will speak if she has to speak in English.) She explained me where fishes were from and which fishes were fatty and tasty, so I focused on eating fishes that were in season and from NY area. I have never sat at Yasuda-san's, so I cannot compare those two. As far as I can tell Arisa-san was great!

Thanks ankomochi!

BTW, on my last visit, the menu included some NY area fish, including "New York" and "Boston" toro. Does this mean what I think it means? (I tried the "Boston" and it was unbelievable!)

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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BTW, on my last visit, the menu included some NY area fish, including "New York" and "Boston" toro. Does this mean what I think it means? (I tried the "Boston" and it was unbelievable!)

Did you have Oh-toro or Chu-toro? I read once that one of them(and I do not remeber which one, but I'll see if I can look it up) is only available in Pacific Tuna and not in Atlantic Tuna due to the bone structure being different.

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Unlike many of you who spent $100, I did not seem to spend so much money.  My total bill was something like $35!  What did i eat?  I didn't order any appetizer and desert.  I didn't do Omakase.  I just had 5 or 6 pieces of sushi that she and I agreed on and a glass of beer!  I guess I am so cheap. :unsure:

Ankomochi, I respect your restraint! I would go so much more if I could do this.

Sinbad,

I think it was o-toro. But I'm not sure. Where can you look stuff like this up?! Are there any books in English that are at all informative/detailed about sushi making that aren't called "Making Sushi at Home", or something like that? (From your posts in the last thread about sushi yasuda, I know you go to Japan often, but I'm not sure if you speak or read Japanese.)

Is "New York" tuna just tuna caught in the Atlantic around NY? Despite quotas, wild tuna is caught and sold, but why don't you see "wild bluefin" touted on menus the way you see "wild salmon"? (This is probably something for another thread.)

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Re: "wild" tuna

I could be wrong, but I think the "wild" appellation primarily denotes a fish that is not farmed. Most salmon is farmed nowadays (even the so-called "Atlantic"), whereas, if I'm not mistaken, almost all tuna is "wild", or unfarmed. Therefore, you wouldn't often see tuna referred to as "wild" on a menu.

Edited by Salli Vates (log)
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I think it was o-toro. But I'm not sure. Where can you look stuff like this up?! Are there any books in English that are at all informative/detailed about sushi making that aren't called "Making Sushi at Home", or something like that?

I read about it in a book about Sushi authored by the owner of Jiro, which is one of the premier Sushi places in Tokyo. "Read" is actually not correct, my wife showed it to me, it is written in Japanese (I can read Japanese to some extent, but when it comes to anatomy of fishes I am lost). When she comes back from her businesstrip I'll find out more.

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Re: "wild" tuna

I could be wrong, but I think the "wild" appellation primarily denotes a fish that is not farmed. Most salmon is farmed nowadays (even the so-called "Atlantic"), whereas, if I'm not mistaken, almost all tuna is "wild", or unfarmed. Therefore, you wouldn't often see tuna referred to as "wild" on a menu.

Steingarten's second book has a chapter about bluefin farms. I flipped quickly through it just now; he says the farms have been around for years, which might mean five, might mean three. He also says these farms keep bluefin for about 6 months, feeding and fattening them to increase the quantity/quality of their toro. I think we can assume from this that farmed bluefin has been served in restaurants for at least five years, since he wrote the article in 2000.

So although some of this farmed tuna seems to be high quality -- because of Steingarten's praise of the toro he ate -- I still wondered why there hasn't been a proliferation of advertisements for wild tuna on menus. I believe that the "Atlantic" salmon is not necessarily wild, but I think Yasuda's sockeye and king salmons are.

Maybe I'll ask JS?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I think it was o-toro. But I'm not sure. Where can you look stuff like this up?! Are there any books in English that are at all informative/detailed about sushi making that aren't called "Making Sushi at Home", or something like that?

I read about it in a book about Sushi authored by the owner of Jiro, which is one of the premier Sushi places in Tokyo. "Read" is actually not correct, my wife showed it to me, it is written in Japanese (I can read Japanese to some extent, but when it comes to anatomy of fishes I am lost). When she comes back from her businesstrip I'll find out more.

Great! Hey, maybe you and I could retire early if we got that book published in English. Your wife can translate, you can transcribe, and I'll, uh, watch. :smile:

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I think Alaskan King Salmon is usually translated into Wild Salmon. Most of Atlantic Salmon is farmed; i think more than 90% or so(?). As far as I know, King Salmon at Sushi Yasuda is WILD SALMON.

Wild Fish may not be necessary the better fish. For instance, Hamachi is most of the time FARMED as far as I know. That's why hamachi is so fatty and I love it! But, in the case of eel and salmon, i do not like farmed eel or salmon; wild is far better than farmed according to ME. I think it really depends on a personal taste which one is better and best.

I don't know why farmed Tuna is not called Farmed tuna and wild tuna is not called Wild Tuna. For Salmons, wild salmon is not widly available, and most of salmons we eat are farmed salmons. I think Wild Salmons, one point, are overfished and became very rare. As a result, the fish industry was trying to recover the number. That's why they started to make a distinction between wild and farmed. For Tunas, maybe they haven't reached the point yet. Some species of tuna like Bluefin becomes questionable status lately, though. Or maybe sushi industry do not want to make a distinction.... That's my guess.... :hmmm:

Check out the latest meal!

Itadakimasu

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ankomochi,

i've sat with yasuda-san and arisa. both are great! arisa's english is reasonable and she's great at making sushi.

i don't want to make any assumptions (but here goes anyway), i've never had too much wasabi on my sushi at yasuda...could it have been the white guy (gaijin) behind the counter? it seems to me that he makes quite a bit of the sushi that goes out into the dining room. i've noticed yasuda-san watching him very closely. he has been working there a while, but he is a white guy...no offense.

i do think that sushi yasuda, for the quality, service, etc. is the best place for sushi here in new york. i don't consider it too expensive and you can get away with eating very well for not a ton of cash. you'd spend more at peter luger and then have a meat hangover!

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Sitting at the sushi bar is really the best way to get the right amount of wasabi to suit your taste, after the first piece you can easily tell the chef to go easy (or heavier) next time. I think most chefs reach for a middle range but occasionally you come across a chef that has a heavy hand.

here is a former thread on "too much wasabi":

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=2977

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Wild Fish may not be necessary the better fish.  For instance, Hamachi is most of the time FARMED as far as I know.  That's why hamachi is so fatty and I love it!  But, in the case of eel and salmon, i do not like farmed eel or salmon;  wild is far better than farmed according to ME.  I think it really depends on a personal taste which one is better and best. 

I think you're right in cases where both the wild and farmed fish in question are quality products -- wild is different, not better. I actually prefer farmed yellowtail as sashimi and wild for sushi! (Yasuda usually offers two or three wild yellowtail. I had one that I'd never eaten last month: wakashi.)

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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The wife returned from her trip and we researched the difference between the Pacific and Atlantic toro. In the Atlantic Tuna there is a piece of bone protruding into the "Chu-toro" area of the body. Looking at the "Anatomy of Tuna", it still looks like there could be some Chu-toro left to be extracted from an Atlantic Tuna, but significantly reduced compared with the Pacific Tuna and my conclusion is that there is less Chu-toro to be extracted from an Atlantic Tuna than from a Pacific tuna. Difference in taste, that's a different story.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I think Alaskan King Salmon is usually translated into Wild Salmon. Most of Atlantic Salmon is farmed; i think more than 90% or so(?). As far as I know, King Salmon at Sushi Yasuda is WILD SALMON.

Wild Fish may not be necessary the better fish. For instance, Hamachi is most of the time FARMED as far as I know. That's why hamachi is so fatty and I love it! But, in the case of eel and salmon, i do not like farmed eel or salmon; wild is far better than farmed according to ME. I think it really depends on a personal taste which one is better and best.

I don't know why farmed Tuna is not called Farmed tuna and wild tuna is not called Wild Tuna. For Salmons, wild salmon is not widly available, and most of salmons we eat are farmed salmons. I think Wild Salmons, one point, are overfished and became very rare. As a result, the fish industry was trying to recover the number. That's why they started to make a distinction between wild and farmed. For Tunas, maybe they haven't reached the point yet. Some species of tuna like Bluefin becomes questionable status lately, though. Or maybe sushi industry do not want to make a distinction.... That's my guess.... :hmmm:

When you talk "farmed tuna" in Australia, what actually happens is the fish are actually caught in the wild, penned and then fat to increase the quality of the flesh. They aren't bred in captivity just "fattened" up in such. In South Australia it is a huge business and brings in billions of dollars of which 99% is from Japan. Hey if the Japanese want it - it can't be bad. :biggrin:

I want food and I want it now

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  • 6 months later...

TIPPING AT SUSHI BAR???

I have a reservation this evening for Yasuda-sans corner of the sushi bar and was curious if anyone had any thoughts as to what the most appropriate tipping policy might be... I've read the posts about slipping a bill into the chopstick wrapping, but just was curious what tactics have been successful in people's experiences.

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I've just returned from an evening at Sushi Yasuda. Here's my report:

When I called to place the reservation, I was told that I would be sitting at Yasuda-san's portion of the bar, but instead found myself sitting directly in front of a young Japanese chef with quick hands and a pleasant smile. I opted for the Omakase and was somewhat puzzled when the waiter asked if my guest and I wanted any appetizers. I declined the offer, incorrectly assuming that the omakase would include some appetizers. As it turned out, we would be eating nothing but sushi and a small amuse bouche--not necessarily a bad thing, although I really was looking forward to something inspiring from the kitchen to complement the genius from behind the sushi bar.

The amuse bouche was a small amount of greens dressed in a wasabi-infused citrus and vinegar dressing, a perfect way to begin the evening. My guest and I ordered a mild sake with a name I cannot recall, which turned out to be the absolute perfect accompaniment to the sophisticated, refined flavors of the fish. Immediately after the sake arrived and the amuse bouche was cleared, our sushi chef started preparing pieces of sushi two at a time, placing them in front of us with the instructions to use our hands when he caught sight of my attempt to manipulate them with my chopsticks (which proved to be an extremely difficult maneuver due to the close proximity of the pieces and the delicate texture of the rice). As soon as we finished the two pieces, another two were put in their place. I found this somewhat irritating as it seemed to be propelling us toward the end of our meal faster than I wished. On the other hand, I suppose he was simply being attentive for I could have slowed my pace had I so desired. The real problem was that the fish was so incredibly fresh that I simply could not keep myself from eating the pieces as soon as they were placed before me.

Here is a rundown of the fish I enjoyed this evening:

Blue Fin Fatty Tuna (spain)

Big Eye Fatty Tuna

Big Eye Fatty Tuna (panama)

Bonito

Skip Jack

Shimaaji Yellowtail

Inada Yellowtail

Mahi Mahi

Striped Bass

White King Salmon

Sockeye Salmon

Jack Mackerel

Sekisaba

Shrimp

Red King Crab

Giant Clam

Sea Scallop

Sea Urchin (japan)

Sawani (fresh white sea eel)

Unagi Kuro (fresh dark freshwater eel)

Menegi (onion sprouts from Kyoto)

Toro Roll

Mackerel, Scallion, Ginger Roll

Every single piece except the mahi mahi was beyond incredible. The fish was so fresh that it practically melted on the tongue. The two yellowtail varieties were probably my favorite, although I must say it is quite difficult to recall as the fish was prepared so quickly that I had little time to sufficiently process my reaction, let alone swallow before the next items were ready. All I knew was that I was lost somewhere in a state of culinary bliss, unaware of the speed at which I was pounding down the small pieces at an average of 4 or 5 dollars a pop. I only noticed how quickly I had consumed my meal and liquidated by assets my checking my watch after all was said and done. In the end, my guest and I spent about 200 dollars on fish alone, slightly more than anticipated although not in the least bit surprising. I suppose my wallet-shock was defused by the fact that the bill arrived while I was replaying the experience that had just passed like a blur-- it was only after I had finished my meal that I was truly able to let it all sink in. The quality of the fish and the expertise at which it was handled and prepared was overwhelming. I ate my green tea mochi in silence as I continued to appreciate the evening. But had I witnessed perfection? It seemed as though it had all occurred in a dream: my single regret is that I felt more like a passive spectator of some transient and beautiful magic than a sushi lover enjoying the best sushi yet tasted. Things were moving too fast to become involved. I'm almost certain that if I hadn't felt so rushed I probably would not have left the restaurant feeling whiplashed and just, well, confused. Had just a single hour transpired? Disoriented and a little wobbly from the sudden change of surroundings, I slowly made my way down the rain-soaked pavement toward the subway, thoughts of fish and immaculately seasoned rice beginning to register as the artifacts of experience and not just the stuff of dreams.

Edited by peter_nyc (log)
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