Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Best Sushi I've Ever Had... Ever.

Seeing as I eat sushi several times a week, it takes a lot for me to see that I just had the BEST sushi I've ever had, but I really did, and I don't see any sushi ever topping this.

One of my favorite things about my boyfriend (along with a lot of other amazing qualities) is that anytime I'm hungry, he's willing to go out and eat whatever I'm craving. Last week, I was craving sushi, and he mentioned that a co-worker had strongly recommended Sushi Yasuda on 43rd between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. I did my research and found very good reviews for this restaurant, so I gave them a call and was excited that they had an open reservation for two that very evening at 7:30pm, so I took it.

Patrick and I met near my office after work and hopped on the subway up to Grand Central and we walked from there. We had a hard time finding the entrance at first, but once we did we ducked inside to find a brightly-lit restaurant with very little decoration besides the light wood wall panels and a row of chefs lining the sushi bar against the side wall. We were shown to our table and handed two menus to begin what would be an unforgettable meal.

The first thing that struck me about the menu was the sheer absence of anything fried or covered in sauce. The menu was broken out into all different types of fish and even had a Pre Fix option where, for $22.50, you could choose five pieces of sushi, two maki rolls and either a soup or a salad. I don't understand why more sushi restaurants don't do this and instead force you to order specific rolls that they have grouped together.

I ordered the Seaweed and the Pre Fixe sushi: Yellowtail (2 pieces), Tuna, Spanish Mackerel & Eel with a Yellowtail Roll and a Tuna Roll. Patrick also got the Pre Fixe sushi and we ordered a Toro Roll to share. The Seaweed Salad was unlike any other I'd had before. The plate that was placed in front of me had 5-6 different types of seaweed on it, not just the green stringy variety I was used to. The plants ranged in color from red to purple to green. The dressing was served on the side and I dunked the leaves into the tasty sauce one by one. If I had to choose, I’d say the green stringy seaweed is the one I prefer, but it was a great way for me to try something new and was the perfect way to whet my palette for the sushi.

The Seaweed Salad was followed by the perfect bowl of Miso Soup that was the most flavorful I've ever tasted. It’s hard for a restaurant to improve too much upon Miso Soup since it is so simple, but this soup was truly wonderful—rich and aromatic with deep, full flavor. Patrick and I both picked up our bowls to slurp the last bit so as not to waste a drop.

We awaited our fish eagerly and I was very excited when large round plates were placed in front of us.

The rolls were smaller than I was used to but the fish was vibrant and looked incredible. Upon the first bite of the sushi, I was truly blown away. Never had I tasted a fresher piece of fish. Patrick had a similar reaction to his first bite and noted that the fish was “melty.” He asked, “what’s a better word for melty?” When we heard the man at the table next to us call his sushi “buttery,” Patrick and I nodded our heads at each other. That was the perfect word, as the fish was so tender and the rice so creamy that it fell apart in my mouth in the most wonderful way possible.

The biggest problem I have with sushi is that I usually eat it far too quickly. I do try to eat it slowly, but all too often, it’s gone before I can say “omakase.” I wasn’t about to let that happen with this heavenly sushi, so I made a great effort to eat my meal slowly, savoring each bite. Each piece of fish I ate was better than the one before it, and I was in absolute awe of the food I was putting into my mouth. I understood why every table in the restaurant was full.

Once we had each finished our Pre Fixe sushi, we moved on to the Toro Roll that we were sharing. I had been meaning to try Toro for a long time, but the letters “MP” next to it on most menus usually steers me towards the Maguro or Hamachi instead. Since we were in an obviously special sushi restaurant, we decided to spend the extra money to try the roll, and it was completely worth it.

Toro is Fatty Tuna and when you eat it, it actually melts away in your mouth. It was a very unique experience and although I felt the Toro was missing the substantial texture of the sushi fish I’m used to, I evaluated it without comparisons and decided that I absolutely loved it.

When we were done, I decided I wanted one more roll, and Patrick encouraged me to order another so I got an additional Yellowtail Scallion Roll. It was the perfect way to end a perfect sushi meal, and I was fully satisfied by the time we finished the roll.

An important thing to note is that when I get to a restaurant and water is delivered to the table, it’s my true preference that I’m given a large water glass. I drink a LOT of water with my meals so rather than risk an empty water glass, I’d rather a larger glass. I was slightly disappointed to see a tiny water glass in front of me when I sat down, but I do have to say, my glass did not have a chance to sit empty for even one second. My glass was refilled about 25 times, which seems both inefficient and impressive to me at the same time. I do think the restaurant would be better off providing larger glasses to minimize their own work, but I can’t complain about it since I was never without water.

If you love sushi and find yourself in Midtown East, I insist that you pay Sushi Yasuda a visit. Call ahead for reservations, order a ton of sushi, sit back and enjoy the best sushi New York City has to offer.

Let’s Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie


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