We’ve been a bit leery in trying out new sushi-yas lately, just been disappointed way too many times. And I know I said I will refrain from writing additional posts unless there is a change, BUT since we have a new rating/scoring system for a few categories, and given the recent super low rating of Gajin (23 out of 35), figured we should see how differently Ishikawa rates. Turns out, unaffected!
Sushi Ishikawa maintained their highly respectable score of 29 out of 35. No Changes at all to Variety, Freshness, and Cost. Preparation, Chef Dom went up from a 4 to a 5. Sake Markup, down from a 2 to a 1. Bottom line, other than Sushi Ishikawa’s ridiculously high Sake Markups, Ishikawa really kills every category (Variety, Freshness, Preparation, and Cost)! I won’t bore you with all the general thoughts of Sushi Ishikawa, I wrote way too much from our last visit, that this would just be repetitive. But I do have a couple of tidbits to share….
How to Address Chef Dom Pham: We spent our entire last meal addressing chef as “Pham-san”, but today, we overheard some regulars address him as Chef Dom. Tonight, we decided to just blend in, and address him the same way his current other patrons do. Rest assured, chef Dom Pham has confirmed he’s good with either, that he’s really pretty relaxed with that sort of thing.
Location, Location, Location: We joke a little bit about how it’s been about 6 months since our visit, Chef thought he didn’t wow us. On the contrary! We were wowed! Very much so! But we’re lazy. There are so many good and WALKABLE options in our hood (Greenwich village), that it’s really hard to venture all the way to the Upper East. Fortunate news for Upper Westsiders, Chef Dom shared that he’s exploring his second location there. Unfortunate news for us, Chef Dom shared he cannot consider downtown. Logistically, it would not be possible to maintain quality and supervision at both. What a bummer!!!
Funny Story: Do you ever meet someone when you’re just a little too tipsy? Have full conversations, and then realize – ooh, you were a bit obnoxious? WELL…. That was me tonight. We met one of the investors of The Infatuation. A young man accompanied by a friend/coach. She was a riot! I’m kicking myself for having lost her card, she had the best card, and she was a lot of fun to chat with. That said, the “remove foot from mouth” moments come from the conversations with the Infatuation Investor. Chef Dom ENGAGED US in a conversation about the “low rating” The Infatuation gave Ishikawa. The investor argued it was that one reviewer’s opinion, and not his, that he disagreed with that opinion. Hindsight, I should have voiced my extreme satisfaction with Chef Dom, and left it at that. But of course, that’s not how it went down. I decided to share all my thoughts of how 9 out of 10 reviewers don’t know what it is that they are doing when it comes to sushi reviews. That they have mysterious ratings where no one knows how it’s determined. That if you ask them what their favorite sushi is, they’d probably tell you it’s the spicy tuna roll. Why did I do that? What was I trying to accomplish? Did I expect him to be like, you’re right, we have zero basis? I was out of line. I was obnoxious. Whether or not I thought it, it need not be said. For having said it, for poo-pooing the mood, I apologize! Hope we can be friends!
OK – off to our dinner tonight…
Our Omakase Tonight:
- NODOGURO (Black throat sea perch) – Incredibly rich, fatty, tender cut of super flavorful NODOGURO. DELISH! Chef Dom and I agreed, NODOGURO is our fave white! Where we don’t agree? Whether NODOGURO is the same as AKAMUTSU. Here’s the deal, they are both sea perches, but NODOGURO is a black throat sea perch, and AKAMUTSU is a rosy sea perch. Do they taste significantly different? Absolutely not. However, NODOGURO is from a specific region in Japan, and is viewed as the most prized sea perch. I mean… you pay more for UNI when it comes from specific regions of Japan. Everyone’s good with that concept. Why not with sea perches? Agree to disagree.
- YARI IKA (Spear Squid) – This was perfectly good cut of IKA, very tasty. Only thing, coming from Chef Dom, I just expected more pizzazz… Again, perfectly good.
- GINDARA (Sablefish) – Topped mile high with Shiso and shaved KARASUMI (Dried Mullet Roe), and yet still so bland? Eh…
- KEGANI (Hairy crab), CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) & Ossetra – Now THIS is what I know Chef Dom for! Knock me off my feet goodness! Hairy crab is my favorite crab. It’s a pain in the booty to eat whole, but when chef does it for you, ahhhhhh (singing of the angels), soooo decadent! Top that with super rich and yummy CHUTORO, double ahhhhhhh. And top that with Ossetra? I’m dead! YUM!
- SANMA (Pacific saury) – I haven’t had a SANMA this good in a long, long time. This was on THICK cut of SANMA, perfectly scored, ABURIed (torched), and topped with garlic chips and chopped scallions. Thrilled!
- CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) – Sliced thin, layered, and topped with shaved truffle. I’m not huge into this combo. It doesn’t offend me, doesn’t even bother me, but the truffle as a sushi topping concept is still growing on me… I am perfectly happy to take it apart and eat it separately though. CHUTORO was great though!
- BOTAN EBI (Spotted sweet shrimp) – Topped with egg yolk and shaved KARASUMI. I’m not sure that either of the toppings did anything for me, but again, didn’t bother me, I still enjoyed the BOTAN plenty…
- UNI, IKURA & Ossetra – Not a fan of the rice cracker, and not sure that the Ossetra and truffle shaving enhanced the UNI/IKURA… I separated mine though. Ossetra and Truffle alone, SCRUMPTIOUS. UNI and IKURA alone, SCRUMPTIOUS. Despite dissecting/splitting my serving to two, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Truffle and Ossetra me all day long!
- Ocean Trout – Topped with onion and chives, very happy with my one and only orange serving of the evening.
- Santa Barbara UNI – Served between a deep fried Shiso leaf, and KARASUMI, this was delicious! I just didn’t realize how much Chef Dom loved his KARASUMI till now…
- WAGYU & UNI – Nothing is better than a thin slice of A5 wagyu topped with Hokkaido UNI. So incredibly rich!!! We prefer our wagyu raw, but Chef Dom ABURIs (torches) it for everyone else. I can only imagine how much richer it is ABURIed…
- NAMADAKO (Live octopus) & HOTARU IKA (Firefly squid) – WOW. I go ga ga for NAMADAKO and HOTARU IKAs. Seriously, I LOVE it, two of my favorite mollusks. The NAMADAKO and HOTARU IKA were both so fresh, so tender, really great.
- KANPACHI (Amberjack) – Served in a garlicy, citrusy bath, this was very tasty, very good
- EBODAI (Butterfish) & UNI – Wasn’t really feeling the EBODAI, but the creamy UNI sauce made it tolerable. To be clear, I think I can eat just about anything with that UNI sauce though, so it’s not me commending the fish. The Hokkaido UNI was great!
- OTORO (Super Fatty Tuna), CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) & Ossetra – What a decadent serving! Three fantastic fishes, one atop another, and then garnished with gold flakes and micro greens.
- TORO TAKUAN – Chef Dom does suggest his roll, but it’s a little crazy for me. I opted for my simple and always great TORO TAKUAN. Perfect ending.