New York has some extraordinary sushi restaurants. Tough as it was, we winnowed this huge pool to a few favorites. Read on for our picks, then let us know who we missed or who we should try in the comments. By Jessica Allen.
Related: Best Omakase Menus In New York City
Consistently ranked on 'best of' lists from Esquire to Zagat, 15 East boasts some of the most enjoyable sushi around. We also love its unadulterated, almost brutally minimalist décor -- all the more to concentrate on the delectable slices of fresh cuisine. While other restaurants will wow you with the superficial; 15 East concentrates on wowing you with technique and flavor. Check out the omakase specials at lunch: just $35 (sushi) or $38 (sashimi) for seven pieces—chef's choice! Easy on the wallet, easier on the gullet.
A collaboration between the famous Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan and chef/restauranteur David Bouley, Brushstroke re-interprets kaiseki, offering its own take on the traditional, seasonally appropriate Japanese tasting menu. Right now, for example, the menu includes uni, mushroom chawanmushi, and red snapper. A restaurant inside a restaurant, Ichimura is the sushi bar, where you'll find omakase specifically tailored to each diner's preferences. You'll pay for the experience, sure, but it's an experience you won't soon forget. Both Ichimura and Brushtroke have been recognized with separate Michelin stars, the only restaurant-within-a-restaurant to be honored in North America!
No website, no Facebook, no Instagram account. No tweets, no Groupons. This tiny restaurant is about as off-the-grid as you can get these days, except for its abundance of five-star Yelp reviews. And you know what? A ton of reviews can't be wrong, and they aren't: the sushi here is exceptional. The sushi chef, Norihiro Ishizuka, serves you what's fresh and what works together each day, so you'll never have the same experience twice. The omakase menu ranges in price, depending on the pieces of sushi and whether you get any cooked dishes. Hint: get a lot.
Shuko displays a more playful disposition than many of the other restaurants on this list. Indeed, if Shuko were a dog, it might be a lab, as opposed to a pointer or poodle. The owners earned their chop(stick)s at Masa, and pride themselves on offering customers the very best fish, sourced locally and internationally (including from California and Japan). Named one of Esquire's best restaurants in 2015, Shuko offers two dining options: a sushi-only omakase or a kaiseki-style omakase. Our advice? Make multiple reservations and try them both.
More: Best Tasting Menus In BrooklynOften called Brooklyn's best sushi restaurant, Sushi Katsuei serves a scrumptious omakase for a very reasonable price—and it stands up to Manhattan stalwarts, for sure. The nigri here comes lightly dusted, rather than heavily dolloped, with specially made sauces, while the hand roll that often accompanies the omakase earns consistent raves for its splendid mix of fish, rice and seasoning. (Other pieces are available at market price.) What you get depends, of course, on what the chef selects, but you'll always be given attentive, thoughtful service.
More: Best Date Night Bars, Restaurants In TribecaUpon awarding Sushi Nakazawa four stars (currently the only sushi restaurant to be so honored) in 2013, New York Times critic Pete Wells praised Daisuke Nakazawa's ability to make each piece of fish "taste as if it has been coaxed along until it's as delicious as it's ever going to get. … No restaurant in town does as much with sushi, and sushi alone, as Nakazawa." Sushi accolades will remember Nakazawa as the apprentice in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi; five years later, he's become the master at this West Village restaurant.
Perhaps it's the proximity to the United Nations, but east midtown has some of the city's best Japanese restaurants, including Sushi Yasuda, our go-to spot in the nabe for sushi. We won't lie: it's expensive, especially if you go the a la carte route for nigri, maki, and other items. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, which means fresh-from-the-sea scallops, eel, shrimp, etc., all traditionally prepared and served without adornment. (Not sure what "traditionally prepared" really means? The restaurant's website has an awesome primer.)
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