(Upstairs Jue Lan club)
49 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011
It took a while for me to figure out when to visit Sushi by Bou. Sushi by Bou and Sushi By Bae operates within the same sushi bar. Sushi By Bae is more the traditional omakase, where she serves you 16-ish servings of Japanese fish, over a 90 minute seating. Sushi by Bou is more of a speed meal situation where they provide 11-ish servings over a 30 minute seating. I kept thinking, if I was to go to Bou, I would have major sushi envy of Bae patrons. For this reason we held out.
On one gloomy and FREEZING December Sunday evening, we were craving sushi. If you’re a New Yorker, you know Sunday/Mondays are not the optimal day for sushi, which is why many sushiyas are closed those days. Like most, Bae is closed. Given that, we thought might as well, what is there to lose? I have to say, we left very, VERY happy.
Before we get into the meal, I do want to discuss the new location for just a quick two seconds. My last write up of Sushi By Bae was back in September 2017, when “they” (Sushi By Bae & Sushi by Bou) were inside the Gansevoort Market. Less than three months later, they have moved to the Jue Lan Club. SO MUCH happier with this new location. They now serve alcohol!!!
Sushi By Bou/Sushi By Bae is now located on the second floor of the Jue Lan Club. Your options of entering, are either down a half flight of stairs to get into an entrance, and then go up 3 flights of what feels like “back” stairs, or the “service entrance”. Your other option is to walk through the Jue Lan Club, go up one flight of stairs, and voila! Dude! I am here to dine, not to work out, I don’t need to walk up and down flights of stairs before arriving! I think in my recent Amane write up, I discussed the whole “restaurant in a restaurant” concept. And in case you haven’t noticed, STILL not a fan! None the less, this location is a huge “step up” from the last, and I do love not having to bring my own booze!
OK, back to the meal.
Our omakase tonight:
- HAMACHI (Young yellowtail) – For a $50 meal, so far, I am happy. See? I am very aware of my surroundings. In any top notch sushi-ya where we’re paying $150ish and MORE for the meal, I would not be happy at all with a HAMACHI. For a $50 meal, this is a great quality young yellowtail. See how grounded I am? Now I sound like a major snot – and I’m not. But you get what you pay for, I’m just one of the few that are aware and HONEST about it.
- Albacore Tuna – Not completely disgusting, but please don’t ever serve me this fish again. I’m not a fan of even the top notch albacore tuna, taste like tuna from a can. This, though ABURIed (torched), and topped with MOMIJI OROSHI and scallions, cutting down some of the fishiness, the density and flavor of this fish is not ever going to be part of my palate. Blah!
- BOTAN EBI (Spotted sweet shrimp) – Not live, but VERY GOOD. Unfortunately, despite moving to this new location, and being within a real restaurant, Bou/Bae still does not have a fryer. This means no fried head. BOO!
- IKURA (Salmon Roe) – Surprisingly good! Lets face it, IKURA is a dime a dozen. You can get it just about every single decent supermarket. GOOD IKURA is a whole other story. How many times have you had IKURA and it was sticky, or gooey, or just bland? Well, this was a very decent IKURA. Nowhere near top ten, but definitely something I would order again and again! (And I did!)
- AKAMI (lean Bluefin tuna) – Served with a grounded ginger, very decent, but not a fan of the topping. AKAMI is perfect just plain and simple, with soy. The fish was good enough though, so I won’t complain.
- HOTATE (Scallop) – Served with black sea salt AND soy. Very, very good. Very happy with this simple, yet delicious serving!
- Santa Barbara UNI – WOW. Who would have thought? A really not so high end sushi-ya, with such high quality Santa-Barbara UNI???
- CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) – Absolutely lovely. Looks veiny, but not at all chewy, no funky tinge of an aftertaste, really beautifully fatty flavors. YUM!
- Salmon with a drop of YUZU sauce – Not a huge fan of salmons, but again, know your surroundings. For a $50 omakase, this is a great cut of salmon!
- HAMACHI-SUNAZURI (Young yellowtail belly) – Slightly ABURIed, and topped with soy. What is it with the ABURI-ing? I don’t need every single thing torched. Really! That said, LOVELY cut of fish, super flavorful, super happy camper!
- UNAGI/FLUKE – For our last-ish piece, boyfriend got the UNAGI. Nothing to say about that. I got the FLUKE as I was smart enough to ask for no UNAGI/ANAGO. MADAI was decent, but nothing to write home about. Sorry chef! But thank you so so, SO MUCH for accommodating!
- Wagyu and Santa Barbara UNI – This is one reason we will be back again and again and again. A lot of times, restaurants will use a lower quality fish when they are doing the combos. Fact is, when you combine them, imperfections are masked. The UNI is the same high quality UNI that we just had. Wowzers!
- MADAI (Seabream) – SO MUCH better! Good job!
- Santa Barbara UNI, HOTATE, IKURA handroll – My personal creation. INCREDIBLE! I cannot be happier! I LOVE that they have just high quality UNI, and they don’t try to substitute just because you’re getting a roll/handroll! LOVED IT!
- Wagyu and Santa Barbara UNI – Yes, we had this already, but this next version was just raw WAGYU, not ABURIed. With such high quality beef, why mess with it? I have to say, this version was miles better than the ABURIed version! And yes, we did DOUBLE of this!
- UNI and IKURA – We really have no reason to keep eating, but hey! We’re on our third bottle of sake, and they haven’t asked us to leave yet, so let’s keep it coming!
- UNI and TORO – I’m really quite full, but this is too good…
I cannot be happier for a $50 omakase. Yes, we had a ton of extras, but it’s because it’s worth having! I am THRILLED that we braved the weather, the skepticism, and visited. We will be back!