Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sushi at its Best

Sushi Yasuda located at 204 East 43rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave) is a mecca for any sushi lover. I don't usually travel to midtown for food, but Sushi Yasuda is an exception. Everything about this place is simple from the bamboo decor to the food. I guess when you you're so good at what you do, you don't need any frills to draw a crowd.

My dining experience first started on the phone when I called to make lunch reservations the day before. Sushi Yasuda has earned its spot among NYC's best sushi spots, so I wanted to make sure I could get in. The voice over the phone immediately put me on hold, which is annoying; but expected. After a few minutes, the voice returned and made me a reservation for the bar. Sitting at the sushi bar is a real treat. You could speak directly to the person preparing your food, which is awesome. Arriving a few minutes before our reservation, my friend Ed and I sat at the sushi bar and took in the space.

The space seemed minimalistic and simple, which I found refreshing. Bamboo covers the space from the floors to the ceiling. The tables and bar are also bamboo, which puts me in a zen-like state. The design calms me and gets me focused on the reason I came--sushi! Our server brought us menus, but our fate was now in the hands of the chef directly in front of us behind the bar. Six chefs dressed in all white stood like soldiers behind the bar awaiting orders. The only time our chef spoke was to tell us what he had made us. Among his creations were big eye tuna, big eye fatty tuna, bonito, branzino, spanish mackerel, salmon, scallop, shrimp, fluke, yellowtail, eel, and sea urchin. Each was prepared differently with such precision and care. Everything was so fresh and of the finest quality, but that could be expected as world-renowned chef Naomichi Yasuda inspects each fish himself. Chef Yasuda knows exactly how to treat each fish from refrigeration to preparation; but that is not his greatest feat. Rice is sometimes an afterthought to sushi, but it could be the hardest and most complex part of sushi-making. Good rice really enhances the flavor of the fish and really separates amateur sushi chefs from masters. After years of cooking, Naomichi has perfected his art of sushi-making with rice that is subtly sweet with the right amount of stickiness.

Overall, the meal was flawless. The service was attentive, but not overbearing and the sushi was just fantastic. I would definitely recommend Sushi Yasuda whether you are a sushi connoisseur or a beginner. Your chef will guide you through the process and custom design the perfect meal for your palate. The only downside is the price as your bill could get pretty expensive. It will be hard to pull yourself away from the bar knowing your chef has more to show you, but if your on a budget you have to be careful. So delicious! Do yourself a favor and experience this three-star gem.

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