The Best Sushi In New York Is...

I have a coworker who has, for the last two years, been telling me about this sushi spot with which he's absolutely obsessed.  I've heard its name uttered in many conversations with many different people.  It often starts with a bunch of people sitting in the kitchen at lunch and someone asks, "what's the best sushi in New York?"

I've been sworn to secrecy about this sushi spot.  But after my coworker brought me there last night, I can actually attest that it's probably the best sushi spot in New York.  Either that, or I have a lot of expensive omakases ahead of me.

It really helps that this restaurant is about three blocks from my apartment.  My coworker lives around the corner from me, which probably also explains why he frequents so frequently.  We decided on a whim to dine there last night, after listening to him brag about how many of his friends he's converted, how he knows the chefs and waiters and owners like best buddies.  A large part of me was actually a little skeptical, but I was also really eager to see this place and experience it for myself!

When we arrived around 7pm, the sushi bar was already full.  There were about 6 seats at the wrap-around sushi bar, and a couple of high tables.  We were insistent on getting a seat at the bar, where my coworker's friend/the sushi chef was busy preparing sushi.  They exchanged knowing low mutters with us that the bar would free up in about 15 minutes and they'd give us a prime seat.  Cool, I thought, I'm part of the in-crowd here.

So we sat and I ate most of a salad (I'm never a big fan of sushi restaurant salads, and this didn't knock me off my socks.  Give me almost any other vegetable over iceberg lettuce, please) but I didn't want to fill up on salad anyway.  We sat right in front of the chef, a very baby-faced Japanese guy with a perpetual grin.  He looked so young: I thought in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, he wouldn't be old enough to handle the fish knives yet.  Well, color me impressed.

My coworker ordered expertly for the both of us.  The first tiny plate that the chef handed right over the bar to us had two long slender pieces of nigiri, both tuna.  One was already dressed and required no soy sauce, while the other one was free for us to dip in soy sauce.  My coworker warned me ahead of time some sushi would come with sauce already and it would probably be an insult to then dunk it in soy sauce.  I took the first piece, the pre-sauced piece, slowly rotating it a bit while grasping it with chopsticks (so it would land fish-side down on my tongue) and bottoms up.


Okay my friend, you are so right about this place, these people, this sushi.  Best.  Sushi.  Ever.

It was like a sweet-savory bite of butter.  The chef-prepared sauce was a thick sweetened soy/ponzu sauce and it was crazy addictive.  The fish - incredible!  Melted in my mouth, like butter.  The chef piled a tiny sprinkle of chopped green onion and a chili atop the fish too, serving a pungent-yet-delicate kick as well.  The fish was so fresh, so plump.  My stomach is giving me a little pang of desire now as I think back about it.

And so it went for several more pieces.  My absolute favorite of the night (apparently several other coworkers' favorite) was the salmon.  It was probably a fat and happy salmon when it lived.  The marbling was so thick that the salmon looked like it would fall apart along the grain.  It was draped so seductively atop the small mound of rice, and topped with a tiny pile of minced green onion.  This piece was also dressed in the sweet soy.  Oh my.  What a perfect bite of food.  The salmon almost bursts in your mouth, immediately followed by the sweet/savory sauce and the onion.  If there was ever a time when I felt high, that was it.

We also had a cooked fluke sushi and a salmon skin hand roll that were fantastic.  I felt almost too indulgent biting into the hand roll (incidentally, fully cylindrical and not conical like I thought hand rolls were); the salmon skin inside was really crisp salmon skin with the layer of fatty fish just beneath.  I had a phantom feeling of hot oil dripping down my chin and hand with every bite.  It was hot fishy goodness.

The most unique thing we had was the uni.  I'd had uni before, and let me tell you, I've never ingested paint but that uni came close (it was at a buffet...).  I snuck a little lobe of the uni as a taste test and found myself absolutely transported to the seaside with just the tiniest bite.  So this is what uni tastes like!  It was definitely briny (I can see how a sub-par uni would taste like paint, or overly metallic, probably laden with unpleasant materials in icky ocean water or something).  It was such a powerful moment, from the moment the uni hit my tongue.  I really could envision being at the beach!  It was a fun creamy texture and nothing like what I'd expected.

Although I was nearing fullness, I didn't want the chef to ever stop.  I was absolutely in heaven.  Right around the middle of dinner, I felt completely euphoric, almost like I was having an out-of-body experience.  I was entirely grateful for my coworker to bring me here (I feel like it's a right of passage - if he likes you enough, he'll bring you to his secret spot) and for being my sushi guide.  It was and will be one of the most memorable meals of my entire life.

p.s. no pictures because all I had was my phone camera and it totally doesn't do it justice :(