Visited in February 2017
181 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
Which camp are you of? A picture can say a thousand words? OR Pictures can be deceiving. Uogashi exemplifies the latter. I’m not some hero, waiting to try the latest and greatest, eager to be the first to review. I give those people a great big thanks! We need people like you. I’m just not one of them. I usually just wait for others to try out new restaurants, wait till the restaurant work their kinks out, wait till it’s a well-oiled machine, till it has proven its worth, before making a trip myself. We made a trip to this newly opened sushi-ya based on really beautiful pictures from Instagram and Yelp. It was such a waste of a meal that I’m not sure where to begin.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Menu/Cost – The menu was super attractive, $95 for Chawan Mushi, an appetizer, 4 kinds of sashimi, 10 pieces of Sushi, 1 handroll, 1 UNI/IKURA cocktail, and a soup. If you average that out, that’s 18 servings (16 fish items, chawan mushi, appetizer, and I don’t count the soup) for $95, an average of $5.27 per serving. That’s CHEAP. Too cheap to be true.
- Venue – Plain, or more accurately, STARK/sterile walls and room. There is NOTHING on the walls at all, almost like an industrial cafeteria
- Crowd/Atmosphere – We arrived at 7PM on, a February Thursday evening, a non-holiday night or week. We were 2 of 6 patrons. GHOST TOWN! I typically prefer to go during off hours, so we get more of the chef’s attention, but for this large of a room, it was a tad bit uncomfortable.
- Service – The servers were plenty nice, but had zero idea what they were doing. Some examples:
- Hot towels were provided when we were initially seated, but no towel or wet napkin was provided by our sushi round. You are always provided something to clean your fingers with after having each of your sushi pieces!
- A new kind of sake was poured right into the same glass as my last sake. For those that don’t really drink or appreciate sake, imagine it this way, you just had a Guinness, and now the waitress is pouring Amstel Light in that same glass. And for the non-beer people, you just had a bloody mary, and now the waitress is pouring your scotch neat right in the same glass. Ok, I know I’m being extreme, but it’s the same thing, just on a smaller scale. Experienced wait staff would know never to make such a rookie mistake.
- A dish of soy sauce was passed right over my camel colored shearling. We were two of six patrons, you couldn’t have reached over? Came over on the other side? Anything OTHER than passing it right over my super light colored, and very expensive coat? Now, no amount of niceness would make soy on a beautiful light colored coat acceptable.
- Food – The entire meal was pretty much a bust. There was not one serving that was true QUALITY fish. Not one fish that I was wowed with, but a bunch that I was either super disappointed, or even down right grossed out by.
Our Omakase tonight:
Small Plates & Sashimi:
- Simmered Tuna Belly – GROSS! This was tough, chewy, had zero reminisce of a TORO’s glory
- Simmered TAKUAN topped with ANKIMO mousse, topped with a small slice of the Sazae – This was fine, good even, but who wants to fill up a radish when you can have raw fish?
- Chawan mushi – Remember my sentiment from the simmered TAKUAN? At least that one had ANKIMO mousse as a topper! This was fine, had decent flavor but zero pizazz
Sashimi Plate (left to right, top to bottom on this super unattractive looking platter):
- SABA (Mackerel) – NASTY. I have no words. Took one bite, and left it.
- AKAMI (Tuna) from Turkey – No one has ever pointed out to me that my Tuna is from Turkey, but now that I know, I’d like to ask… Can we have Tuna from Japan next time?
- TAKO (Octopus) – There’s a few places that have AMAZING Tako, Ushiwakamaru and 15 East to name a couple. This TAKO here is of the quality of any average sushi-ya, nothing high end.
- KANPACHI (Amberjack) – This not good but tolerable cut, was sadly the best on the plate. Look at it! Where is the beautiful KANPACHI luster from their natural oils?
- HIRAME (Flounder) – Thank goodness! The first “good” serving of the night!
- MADAI (Japanese Seabream) – Another decent serving. But this really tasted more like an ISHIDAI than a MADAI. At this point, I also noticed that the rice is really not good. Not good at all!
- KANPACHI (Amberjack) – This KANPACHI was a higher quality cut than the one from sashimi, but still not great. A good KANPACHI has a certain gumminess to it, and almost a little crunch when you bit into it. Another annoying something, already we’re in to repeats? This early?
- KINMEDAI (Golden Eye Snapper) – Looks good, but can’t tell if it’s any good for sure. Chef served this to me with a hunk of wasabi. I have a nose of a dog, I cannot take wasabi. It cuts off my taste buds. I couldn’t taste a thing.
- SHIMA AJI (Striped Jack) – almost no brightness from this fish
- AJI – After a bunch of disappointments, this was surprisingly good. My only problem, insanely common fish, not one I would want on my omakase.
- AKAMI (Lean Tuna) – Another Turkish lean Tuna? Really? I was a better cut than the first, but still wasn’t anything good. This is sub-par Tuna.
- ISAKI (Grunt fish) – I think I’m coming to the conclusion that Chef’s white fishes are his only decent fish….
- SURUME IKA (common squid from the Pacific) – I’ve been having some really “knock you off your feet” IKAs lately. This was not one of them.
- KOHADA (Gizzard shad) – I was watching the chef prepare an IWASHI, but then he ended up serving us the KOHADA. When he served it, I asked, “what happened to my IWASHI, I really like IWASHI!” He said he tried. This one was HORRENDOUS. I took a bite, and left the other half. That’s how bad it was!
- IWASHI (Japanese Sardine) – He did provide us a replacement IWASHI, and it was ok, but compared to my last serving, so long as it’s not dogfood, it’s ok.
- HOTATE (Scallop) – This is so frustrating. Every single piece INCLUDING this one was between ok to horrendous. Not one stellar cut out of all these servings? This is so sad.
- TORO TAKUAN Hand Roll – This was decent. Odd part is, Chef had chopped up TORO, but no cut of TORO. What does that say?
- UNI/IKURA cocktail – Neither the UNI NOR the IKURA was any good. Way to round out my underwhelming omakase
- AWABI (Abalone) – PITIFUL! A chewy, flavorless cut that was dressed in the eel sauce. Who dresses AWABi in eel sauce?
An absolute waste of a meal. I would have been 100% happier if we just had pizza, food truck gyro, Popeyes, ANY OTHER every day sushiya, any of those. This was not a good sushi experience. Overall rating of 24 out of 35. And the ONLY reason for this high of a mark is because they are CHEAP.