Three words that never gets old… “You are right”. Tonight, I got that from the boyfriend.
Yasuda – the machine:
As I shared in my previous post, Yasuda is one of those anomaly restaurants that hold onto traditional Japanese techniques, methods, and customs, but without the egos, the snootiness. For sushi counter patrons, Yasuda offers 90 min seatings. You might think this is on the short side, but it isn’t. Yasuda is always bustling with herds of suits, and even more catering orders. And they are plenty prepared for that. They have one chef for every TWO sushi bar patrons. Insane it might sound? It isn’t. Each chef moves at lightning speed, preparing sushi for their sushi bar patrons, tables, and take out/catering. Truly, it’s a well-oiled “machine”. But as a machine, it doesn’t lend to the niceties of an omakase experience. Servings are done as 2, 3, or even 4 pieces at a time, you don’t get the explanations of each fish, and leisurely conversation with the chef is a pipe dream.
Before we get on with today’s meal, let’s go back to Yasuda catering for a quick moment, as it’s quite impressive. During your 90 min seating at the counter, you will witness a non-stop supply of catering orders being prepared and stacked behind the chefs. They are prepared in beautiful trays (not that flimsy plastic crap), and stacked up one on top of the other, taller than the chefs themselves. I always wondered, but never inquired, the cost of their catering. You know how you get sandwiches catered, and a normal sandwich will cost you maybe 6-7 bucks at the deli? But somehow, they throw in a bag of chips, and your sandwich catering becomes 15-17 bucks per person? What would a $100 sushi platter at the restaurant run as catering? $200? Who are all these companies ordering $200 per person catering for their meetings? Insane…
Tonight, boyfriend and I did an experiment, he ordered the omakase, and I ordered a la carte. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t meant to be an experiment. When I initially elected to order a la carte, boyfriend was a little miffed. He tells me to ‘stop being a pain-in-the-a*s, not to be so difficult, and just do the omakase’. I tell him ‘no… I don’t want this, this, that, and that, aaannndddd that, AND I want my fish in xyz order, so it’s just easier’. And it’s not like today is the first day he met me, we’ve been together for YEARS, so he should be plenty used to my difficulty level! And I don’t see it as being difficult, but being specific. Accept it! Embrace it! LOVE IT!!! PLUS, off the top of my head, Yasuda is the ONLY place I can do that, and still have exceptional variety and quality of fish in NYC. Really, nowhere else. (I just noticed, I start many of my sentences with “And”. My 9th grade English teacher would be so disappointed in me… And two whole sentences, and now three, enclosed in parenthesis??? What a disgrace…)
So in today’s post, you will see the difference of Yasuda’s a-la-carte chosen by yours truly (ME), and Yasuda’s omakase! Boyfriend’s photo-taking skills is not quite “up to par” with SushiGirl photo-taking skills though, so forgive us in advance! Rather than “up to par”, the term I was originally going to use was “suck balls”, but thought that was too vulgar, but then again, my post, so get on board!
“You are right”:
By the end of our dinner, I had a total of 17 immensely satisfying pieces, and left HAPPY. Boyfriend ate at lightning speed, and had a total of 35 pieces. He left happy for sure, but began regretting it 20 min later when the fullness set in. And now, when I show him exactly what he ate, reminded him how full he was, reminded him of all the fish he ate that he would never order himself, I received the ever so pleasing, never old, three little words “you are right”, next time, we will order a la carte. YES!!!!!
SushiGirl’s a-la-carte meal tonight:
- MADAI (Seabream) $7.00 – So light, so good…
- KINMEDAI (Golden Eye Snapper) $9.50 – Fish itself was great, I just wished there was skin, and that skin was torched…
- NODOGURO (Black Throat) $13.50 – BEST piece of the night!
- BRONZINO $5.75 – So incredibly light.
- AKAMI (Lean Bluefin Tuna) – Stolen cut from Boyfriend’s sashimi platter. So good!!!
- TAKO (Octopus) (Another stolen piece from boyfriend’s sashimi plate) – This was fine… Nothing compared to my USHIWAKAMARU TAKO…
- SURUME IKA (Surume Squid) $7.50 – Grilled, and not all that fabulous. Annoying thig was that I did not and would not have ordered this…
- KANPACHI (Amberjack) $7.75 – Mmmmm mmmmm good. Loved the firmness of this fish, and the contrast of when you bite into it. Incredible!
- SHIMA AJI (Striped Jack) $7.75 – Beautiful crunch. Delicious!
- SAWARA (Spanish Mackerel) $6.00 – I order this once in a blue moon. Today, it was very good.
- IWASHI (Sardine) $8.00 – Many IWASHI’s are super small and served super thin. This was a big IWASHI! So fresh, so delicious!
- AKAMI (Lean Bluefin Tuna) $6.50 – ZUKE-like (Marinated), and outrageously good.
- CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) $9.00 – Ooey gooey fatty goodness. My favorite cut of fatty tuna. This one have no veins, no chewiness, no funky aftertaste. A beautiful serving.
- OTORO (Super Fatty Tuna) $15.00 – This fat was not overwhelming like it sometimes is. Same as the CHU, no chew, no aftertaste, just delicious.
- CHERRY STONE CLAM $5.50 – My favorite place to order the cherry stone clam as a sushi! Lovely crunch, slight hint of the sea, but not at all fishy. Fantastic!
- PACIFIC OYSTER $6.75 – Beautiful LARGE, sweet pacific oyster.
- UNI from Japan $17.00 – I was getting pretty full, so went with sashimi instead. LOVELY serving of Hokkaido UNI.
- IKURA (Salmon Roe) $9.25 – Look at these perfect pearls of marinated goodness! Perfect ending to my self-made omakase!
- NODOGURO (Black Throat) $13.50 – You HAVE to repeat your fave piece of the night. That’s mandatory in my book!
Boyfriend’s omakase meal tonight:
- Sashimi Plate:
- SURUME IKA (Surume Squid) $7.50
- White Platter (missed photo):
- MADAI (Seabream) $7.00
- NODOGURO (Black Throat) $13.50
- Silver Platter 1 (missed photo)
- KATSUO (Bonito/Skip jack) $7.00
- SHIMA AJI (Striped Jack) $7.75
- BURI (Adult Yellowtail) $8.50
- Silver Platter 2:
- Salmon Platter 1:
- Tuna Platter:
- Random Platter (I don’t mind a good cut of Salmon here and there, but this is the SIXTH serving!!!):
- Eel Platter (Something neither of us would have ever ordered):
- UNI Platter:
- More missed photos:
- CHERRY STONE CLAM $5.50
- IKURA (Salmon Roe) $9.25
- NEGITORO $12.00
- Egg Platter (Does anybody want this??? What a waste of stomach space):
All in all, Yasuda is a NYC staple, a must go if you are visiting, and a constant for us. With their traditional Japanese “gratuities is not accepted” mantra, Yasuda is a GREAT value for the variety, freshness and preparation. Just don’t go expecting quality conversation with the chef, or expecting to drink much, that’s where they gauge you. The costs of sake is through the roof!