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New York, NY 10036
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Were you sad when Sushi Zen closed shop?  I was!  I haven’t visited in years.  Actually, I think I visited only 3 times in my life, but Sushi Zen was a NYC staple!  It was one of the first really good sushi meals I had, and I will always remember it as that.

Suzuki-san, prior head sushi chef at Sushi Zen, revived the spot, and opened up Suzuki/Satsuki.  Suzuki is the cooked (kaiseki) side of the restaurant, while Satsuki is the sushi side.  I wondered why Suzuki-san named the sushi side “Satsuki” rather than his own name, but I felt uncomfortable asking.  The space is absolutely stunning.  It would actually be a great date spot, except I’m probably the worst judge at this.  Boyfriend and I are one of those super disgusting couples that are in our own world, despite what the atmosphere is!

Suzuki-san is such a gracious chef, super friendly, super chatty, and loved to discuss and answer any questions you may have regarding the fish, the preparation, even other restaurants!  He is the cherry on top of his super great sushi omakase meal!

 

Our Sushi Omakase tonight:

  1. KAWAHAGI (Filefish) – INCREDIBLE! How can anyone not LOVE a super light white fish with a cut of its own GINORMOUS liver?  And why doesn’t every single restaurant stock this fish?  I’ve had KAWAHAGI at 2 places in NYC, GINZA ONODERA and KANOYAMA – AUG 2017.  See?  Nobu-san (Kanoyama) is so ridiculously underrated!  Suzuki-san stuffed Japanese scallions between the fish and the rice.  YUM!
  2. TARAIGAI (Penshell clam) – This one was well prepared, but in general, I’m just not a huge fan of TARAIGAIs, they are the blandest of the shells! Suzuki-san’s topping with SOCHI citrus, and sea salt helped.  For a fish I don’t like, this was still a good serving.
  3. KINMEDAI (Golden eyed snapper) – OH MY! YUMMMMM!  This KINMEDAI was marinated in KOMBU for 2 days.  I love white fishes marinated in KOMBU!!!  Really, really great!
  4. KATSUO (Bonito) – Served with Japanese chopped onions and a tiny bit of grated ginger. Really good!
  5. SHIMA AJI (Striped jack) – Looks different from your normal SHIMA AJI, huh? Most SHIMA AJIs are treated for a few days before being served.  This one was not treated at all, which would lead you to think this would be bland, flavorless.  But it wasn’t at all, it still carried a beautiful light crunch, bright flavors, very, very good.
  6. HAGASHI TORO – My FAVORITE cut of TORO that comes from the top of the tail rather than the belly. Requires a ton more work, so not as many chefs serve it.  Super fatty, no chewiness, no funky aftertaste, really delicious!
  7. AKAMI (lean Bluefin tuna) – The AKAMI alone was fantastic. If you’ve been reading my posts, you already know that I have a great appreciation for AKAMI.  For me a good AKAMI is just as desired as the best cuts of HAGASHI/CHU/O-TORO.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the ginger topping though.  It fought with the natural light flavors of the AKAMI.
  8. AKAMUTSU (Rosy sea perch) – I sometime wonder if AKAMUTSUs and NODOGUROs have bumped the KINMEDAI as my favorite white. Lighter than a KINMEDAI, so delicate, yet still somewhat fatty, so remarkable.  I’m drooling.
  9. HOKKAIDO UNI – We were chatting with Suzuki-san about the quality of UNI in NYC vs that of Japan. He shared with us that while the top rated sushi-yas in Japan still have great UNI, it is hard to find good UNI in all the everyday sushi-yas.  New Yorkers are simply willing to pay a lot more for quality UNI, so much of that is shipped here.  Makes good sense.
  10. ANAGO (Sea eel)/OTORO (super fatty tuna) – Again, if you’ve been reading my posts, you will know that I am not a fan of ANAGO, so I always specifically ask for no ANAGOs. Sometimes boyfriend goes with it, but sometimes, he likes to be the super easy customer, referring to me as the pan-in-the a*s, and claiming he’s fine with everything.  Moron!  For our tenth piece, Suzuki san prepared ANAGO.  Boyfriend said it was very good.  I laughed as I watched him eat a boring old ANAGO, while I indulged in a beautiful, creamy, decadent ABURIed (torched) OTORO.  Per the great words of Charlie Sheen, WINNING!
  11. TORO TAKUAN handroll – Toro served with picked radish, and sesame seeds. Yummy!
  12. TAMAGO (egg custard) – Blah. But I’m not a fan of TAMAGOs in general, so my opinion here is no indication that it’s not a good serving.  I liked the pickle better.  Ha!

Add Ons:

  1. BURI (Adult yellowtail) – This yellowtail was treated for several days to really bring out this richness in the flavors. Fantastic bite.
  2. SANMA (Pacific Saury) – Just realized, we had no silvers this whole meal. Topped with ginger and chives.  Delicious!
  3. KAWAHAGI (Filefish) – To wrap up the meal, we repeated my favorite piece!

 

Overall Thoughts:

Other than my less preferred preparation of topping ginger on the crazy yummy AKAMI, every serving was incredibly fresh and immaculately prepared.  Delicious fish and a super friendly chef, what more can you ask for?  More reasonable pricing perhaps?  I was reconsidering whether my rating criteria for sake markup needed to be recalibrated.  Based on Satsuki, it does not.  The combined costs for sushi and sake ranked 1 out of 10, this is the LOWEST I have ranked all the restaurants, BY FAR.