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Celine

Sushi Yasuda vs. Kuruma Zushi

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One of my good (and rich) friends from Korea recently dined at Yasuda, Kuruma, and Masa.

He liked Kuruma the best, Masa second, and Yasuda third. His claim was that the quality of fish at Kuruma was superior to that of Masa and Yasuda.

That doesn't really surprise me, but given the cost differential, I think Yasuda provides much more bang for the buck than Kuruma. I haven't yet dined at Masa so cannot compare it. My understanding though is that in addition to the quality of the fish, Masa is known for his use of other luxury ingredients and for his creativity moreso than either Kuruma or Yasuda.

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No dedicated Kuruma thread....

A JP friend interviewed there today, they told her to come back in January as there will be a second restaurant opening up. I really hope it's an affordable version of Kuruma. Any Kuruma regulars on here heard likewise? Is Eater gonna scoop me?

Anyway, she's starting at Yasuda. :laugh::cool:

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No dedicated Kuruma thread....

A JP friend interviewed there today, they told her to come back in January as there will be a second restaurant opening up. I really hope it's an affordable version of Kuruma. Any Kuruma regulars on here heard likewise? Is Eater gonna scoop me?

Anyway, she's starting at Yasuda.  :laugh:  :cool:

So, no second iteration of Kuruma Zushi?

Is there a particular sushi master I sh/would request if visiting Kuruma?

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Is there a particular sushi master I sh/would request if visiting Kuruma?

Just make sure you request to be seated at the bar. There are only two chefs there in charge of making nigiri, Uezu-san and the female chef (I never caught her name). You shouldn't have any problem getting served by Uezu-san unless the restaurant is crazy busy, in which case you might get served by the female chef instead. No need to worry though, in my opinion her skill is just as fine as Uezu-san.

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So, no second iteration of Kuruma Zushi?

Is there a particular sushi master I sh/would request if visiting Kuruma?

Mm you should just go for the old guy, I forgot his name.

I haven't heard anything else about a 2nd kuruma, but she _was_ told that last year... guess they decided against it....

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Toshihiro Uezu.

Go for lunch, sit at the counter. Go omekase and set a price point before you begin.

Compares favorably to the upper echelon in Japan.

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Toshihiro Uezu.

Go for lunch, sit at the counter. Go omekase and set a price point before you begin.

Compares favorably to the upper echelon in Japan.

What is the upper echelon in Japan? You mean like Ginza Kyuubei, Sukiyabashi Jiro, and Sushi Mizutani? Have you been to any of the three and can you offer your comparison to Kuruma?

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Toshihiro Uezu.

Go for lunch, sit at the counter. Go omekase and set a price point before you begin.

Compares favorably to the upper echelon in Japan.

What is the upper echelon in Japan? You mean like Ginza Kyuubei, Sukiyabashi Jiro, and Sushi Mizutani? Have you been to any of the three and can you offer your comparison to Kuruma?

No, not that good, the super elite. But my experience is limited at that level.

I think Kuruma on a good day is as rewarding experience as many very good, respectable sushi places in Japan, the high end that is occupied by innumerable restaurants of good quality.

The places you mention are another level, I believe.

I was at Sushi Mizutani a couple of weeks ago and it was a reference meal for me, memorable from start to finish.

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Toshihiro Uezu.

Go for lunch, sit at the counter. Go omekase and set a price point before you begin.

Compares favorably to the upper echelon in Japan.

What is the upper echelon in Japan? You mean like Ginza Kyuubei, Sukiyabashi Jiro, and Sushi Mizutani? Have you been to any of the three and can you offer your comparison to Kuruma?

No, not that good, the super elite. But my experience is limited at that level.

I think Kuruma on a good day is as rewarding experience as many very good, respectable sushi places in Japan, the high end that is occupied by innumerable restaurants of good quality.

The places you mention are another level, I believe.

I was at Sushi Mizutani a couple of weeks ago and it was a reference meal for me, memorable from start to finish.

Masato told me I'd enjoy Mizutani over Jiro. Anyway, here's a pic of 15 east's masato with 1/2 of his new tuna

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Masato told me I'd enjoy Mizutani over Jiro. Anyway, here's a pic of 15 east's masato with 1/2 of his new tuna

I had a discussion with Masato about the high-end sushiya in Tokyo. He said that while he was impressed by the quality of fish at Jiro, he thought the rice was just so-so. He also considers Mitzutani to be the best sushiya in Tokyo at the moment.

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We were in Tokyo last week and for a long time had been struggling to get into the Ginza Jiro locaiton, without success. When we got to Tokyo the consensus among several people we bumped into (including a prominent Japanese food writer) was that it wasn't worth the hassle, and is overrated.

We did eat at Mizutani, and I'll agree with the poster who described it as a reference meal. (As an aside, the night before our meal at Mizutani our hotel concierge slipped a note under our door confirming our reservation and noting that the restaurant requests that customers do not wear perfume or cologne. This was a good sign.)

We had three sushi meals in Tokyo. Sushi Dai in Tsukiji at like 7am. $30/person, and at least as good as Yasuda. Kyubei was a definite notch above Sushi Dai, the rice in particular.

Mizutani was on a completely different level from any other sushi we've ever had. We had a piece of uni there from Hokkaido that was perhaps the single greatest thing I've ever eaten. The flavors kept coming in waves.

Having said all of this, Yasuda is still excellent sushi. In fact, that the quality of the food is so good there is all the more impressive considering that he's not 15 minutes away from Tsukiji.

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We were in Tokyo last week and for a long time had been struggling to get into the Ginza Jiro locaiton, without success. When we got to Tokyo the consensus among several people we bumped into (including a prominent Japanese food writer) was that it wasn't worth the hassle, and is overrated.

We did eat at Mizutani, and I'll agree with the poster who described it as a reference meal. (As an aside, the night before our meal at Mizutani our hotel concierge slipped a note under our door confirming our reservation and noting that the restaurant requests that customers do not wear perfume or cologne. This was a good sign.)

We had three sushi meals in Tokyo. Sushi Dai in Tsukiji at like 7am. $30/person, and at least as good as Yasuda. Kyubei was a definite notch above Sushi Dai, the rice in particular.

Mizutani was on a completely different level from any other sushi we've ever had. We had a piece of uni there from Hokkaido that was perhaps the single greatest thing I've ever eaten. The flavors kept coming in waves.

Having said all of this, Yasuda is still excellent sushi. In fact, that the quality of the food is so good there is all the more impressive considering that he's not 15 minutes away from Tsukiji.

LOL stinky foreigners!

Besides Sushi Dai, how much were the other meals? And in ¥en if you remember? (the dollar is _normally_ around 1 to 120 yen...)

Even though I love Yasuda, I'd consider them overrated too. I mean, I do have to convince people that there _are_ other worthy sushiya in NYC.

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So I had my first real sushi meal at Kuruma today (I've eaten there in the past, but only at tables) and I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed. To be fair, my last sushi meal before this was at Mizutani in Tokyo, but imho the omakase I had at Kuruma was a definite notch below the omakase at Yasuda, for example. That Yasuda's rice is better is commonly accepted, but unless today was an off fish day I think Yasuda pretty clearly has the edge in terms of fish quality as well. (FWIW, we were served by Uezu-san himself, who was very nice.)

Now, don't get me wrong; everything was good. There just wasn't anything particularly memorable or exceptional. And, of course, it was pretty damn pricey.

(BTW, Raji, Kyubei was I think 10,000 yen per person and Mizutani I think 16,000 yen per person, and this was with the dollar at about 105 yen. Needless to say both of these meals seemed like ridiculous bargains at the time.)

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On Saturday night, I took a friend to Kurumazushi for her birthday. The fish here is obviously very good, but I didn't think the overall experience was as good as Yasuda, which I tried a couple of years ago. I will probably return to Yasuda at some point, but I can't imagine going back to Kurumazushi, unless someone else is paying.

I didn't bring a camera or take notes, but our meal was quite similar to the one docsconz photographed four years ago. We loved the fatty tuna—how could you not?—and a few other things. Other courses, started tasting the same after a while. If the fish here was better than Yasuda, it was too subtle for my friend and me to perceive. The Yasuda omakase actually seemed to have more variety.

Then, there is the small matter of price. Except it's not so small a matter. I was prepared for the omakase to cost somewhere around $150–200 a head. We weren't shown a menu or asked about our budget, so I just figured it would be in that general range. Silly me. The bill arrived, and it was $1,005 for two. Back out the sales tax and subtract the sake ($150), and it appears we were charged $387 apiece for the food. That sake, by the way, wasn't a splurge either, by this restaurant's standards. I believe I saw only one bottle less than the $150 I spent.

A thousand bucks is awful lot to charge somebody without giving any kind of notice of what you're in for. As best I can recall, it's the most I have ever paid for a meal for two. Even on a straight-up basis, I think I liked Yasuda a little more. When you consider that the bill for one at Yasuda was just $107 two years ago, it's not hard to decide which is better.

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Silly me. The bill arrived, and it was $1,005 for two. Back out the sales tax and subtract the sake ($150), and it appears we were charged $387 apiece for the food. That sake, by the way, wasn't a splurge either, by this restaurant's standards. I believe I saw only one bottle less than the $150 I spent.

I don't know if I'd say silly you...this sounds like something that's not on the up and up, and they should have to list some sort of pricing arrangement on the menu.

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The same thing happened to me (although I got away with only $800 or $900 for two). It's just how much it costs. I went in there knowing it was ridiculously expensive.

I was the only male at the sushi bar who wasn't either or both of (a) middle-aged Japanese or (b) a hedge fund manager (in case you're wondering, I know the latter because the hedge fund managers never stopped saying they were hedge fund managers). This place isn't catering to people who can't swing the charges.

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The same thing happened to me (although I got away with only $800 or $900 for two).  It's just how much it costs.  I went in there knowing it was ridiculously expensive.

I was the only male at the sushi bar who wasn't either or both of (a) middle-aged Japanese or (b) a hedge fund manager (in case you're wondering, I know the latter because the hedge fund managers never stopped saying they were hedge fund managers).  This place isn't catering to people who can't swing the charges.

I know, I know, but when I go buy a flat-screen TV, I know how much it costs before I slap down my credit card.

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This place isn't catering to people who can't swing the charges.

That must certainly be true. Even on an evening when it was raining in sheets, the sushi bar was almost full (I did not take note of the tables). It's a small place, and I guess there are always enough people who want to come in and drop a grand or two.

Mind you, I can swing $1,000 for dinner on occasion. But I just never saw the signal that if a newcomer to the restaurant said "omakase," without more, this would be their default offering. We also felt that if this was better than Yasuda, the reason for it must be something that we're not sophisticated enough to perceive.

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We had our first meal at 15 East a couple of weeks ago, and it was on the same level as the best meals we've had at Yasuda, we thought. Which is to say a distinct level above Kuruma. Factoring in price, I can't see any way to justify going to Kuruma, given that there are at least these two options available that to my tastes are better, and a fraction of the price.

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I didn't bring a camera or take notes, but our meal was quite similar to the one docsconz photographed four years ago. We loved the fatty tuna—how could you not?—and a few other things. Other courses, started tasting the same after a while. If the fish here was better than Yasuda, it was too subtle for my friend and me to perceive. The Yasuda omakase actually seemed to have more variety.

Then, there is the small matter of price. Except it's not so small a matter. I was prepared for the omakase to cost somewhere around $150–200 a head. We weren't shown a menu or asked about our budget, so I just figured it would be in that general range. Silly me. The bill arrived, and it was $1,005 for two. Back out the sales tax and subtract the sake ($150), and it appears we were charged $387 apiece for the food. That sake, by the way, wasn't a splurge either, by this restaurant's standards. I believe I saw only one bottle less than the $150 I spent.

A thousand bucks is awful lot to charge somebody without giving any kind of notice of what you're in for. As best I can recall, it's the most I have ever paid for a meal for two. Even on a straight-up basis, I think I liked Yasuda a little more. When you consider that the bill for one at Yasuda was just $107 two years ago, it's not hard to decide which is better.

That's a lot of money. How many pieces sashimi/sushi was it? How many courses of otoro were there?

I haven't been to Kuruma in years, since being taken there by Japanese friends. They reward regulars, and unless you are one, you are paying full retail price. It's so prohibitively expensive that I can certainly cure sushi cravings at other worthy sushiya in the city and I can wait until I next go to Japan for an experience better than Kuruma at 1/5 the price. Kuruma's tab is enough to fly you to the land of the rising sun.

Yasuda is a very appropriate comparison because they are the diametric opposite and very precisely tabulate EVERYTHING. There are new printouts of the market prices weekly, daily, whenever there are changes and the fish shipments arrive. I too was amazed that I wracked up a $570 bill at Yasuda, for 2, in little under 60 minutes, but when I went back over it, yes me and my friend had eaten ALL of that, all sashimi and sushi, and their pieces are small. Little over a year ago I had gone to Yasuda and spent only about $150, but I do believe it was because I was so busy catching up with my friends that we did not feast at the frenetic pace that I had most recently.

When you order omakase at Yasuda, your tab will be determined by the kinds of fish you eat, but you are not really rewarded as a regular. This is much closer to Japanese custom and their notorious inflexibility. When you eat at Kuruma, you're charged some outrageous prices which used to be justified by the exclusivity of their wares, and then the price is pared down based on some nebulous calculation by your sushi chef.

That said, if I was going to Kuruma these days, I would ask to order a la carte, which should show you the per piece prices, or set a price limit, otherwise you're in for an experience such as oakapple, which can certainly sting at the end of an otherwise wonderful meal.


Edited by raji (log)

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Mind you, I can swing $1,000 for dinner on occasion. But I just never saw the signal that if a newcomer to the restaurant said "omakase," without more, this would be their default offering. We also felt that if this was better than Yasuda, the reason for it must be something that we're not sophisticated enough to perceive.

Right, because you "didn't get it," it was somehow really worth the $1000? The emperor's new clothes theory - I think you got it perfectly...and so did they.

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Mind you, I can swing $1,000 for dinner on occasion. But I just never saw the signal that if a newcomer to the restaurant said "omakase," without more, this would be their default offering. We also felt that if this was better than Yasuda, the reason for it must be something that we're not sophisticated enough to perceive.

Right, because you "didn't get it," it was somehow really worth the $1000? The emperor's new clothes theory - I think you got it perfectly...and so did they.

There's an "if" in my post. I am not conceding that it was worth $1,000—I don't think it was. I'm just saying that if it was, the reasons are beyond my ability to perceive, bearing in mind that I don't have many data points to compare it to. For the most part, I trust my instincts. Rather than say the restaurant is fleecing its customers, I'm leaving open the door that maybe—maybe—there's something in it that I'm not seeing.

Bottles of wine are a similar story. There are plenty of places in town that sell $1,000 wine bottles. I can't really explain the allure that makes a not-that-old bottle of wine worth $1,000 or more, but enough smart people buy them that I can accept there's something going on there that's beyond my appreciation.

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There's an "if" in my post. I am not conceding that it was worth $1,000—I don't think it was. I'm just saying that if it was, the reasons are beyond my ability to perceive, bearing in mind that I don't have many data points to compare it to. For the most part, I trust my instincts. Rather than say the restaurant is fleecing its customers, I'm leaving open the door that maybe—maybe—there's something in it that I'm not seeing.

Bottles of wine are a similar story. There are plenty of places in town that sell $1,000 wine bottles. I can't really explain the allure that makes a not-that-old bottle of wine worth $1,000 or more, but enough smart people buy them that I can accept there's something going on there that's beyond my appreciation.

This is a perfectly reasonable attitude, and for all I know I too was missing something during my meal at Kuruma. But I deliberately waited to go to Kuruma until after we got back from Japan and had eaten at what are regarded as the best places in Tokyo, so I'd have something of a benchmark. All I can say is that, for me, the greatness of the greatest sushi meals I've had has not been all that subtle. On the contrary, they kind of hit you over the head with their greatness -- the freshness, purity of flavor, perfect balance of components is pretty obvious.

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There's an "if" in my post. I am not conceding that it was worth $1,000—I don't think it was. I'm just saying that if it was, the reasons are beyond my ability to perceive, bearing in mind that I don't have many data points to compare it to. For the most part, I trust my instincts. Rather than say the restaurant is fleecing its customers, I'm leaving open the door that maybe—maybe—there's something in it that I'm not seeing.

Bottles of wine are a similar story. There are plenty of places in town that sell $1,000 wine bottles. I can't really explain the allure that makes a not-that-old bottle of wine worth $1,000 or more, but enough smart people buy them that I can accept there's something going on there that's beyond my appreciation.

This is a perfectly reasonable attitude, and for all I know I too was missing something during my meal at Kuruma. But I deliberately waited to go to Kuruma until after we got back from Japan and had eaten at what are regarded as the best places in Tokyo, so I'd have something of a benchmark. All I can say is that, for me, the greatness of the greatest sushi meals I've had has not been all that subtle. On the contrary, they kind of hit you over the head with their greatness -- the freshness, purity of flavor, perfect balance of components is pretty obvious.

+1. Kuruma's toro is ridiculous and yasuda's toro sucks. But Yasuda as a sushi restaurant is much better.

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