This how sushi supposed to be served and enjoyed, at least that's what I think. Sushi Yasuda has always been my special occasion destination. I normally make a reservation about a two to three weeks in advance and so far they always had my desired time and always, always ask for the counter seating. I would rather change the date of the reservation than sit at a table. At this restaurant show is at the counter, you have to see how these chefs under the leadership of the Yasuda San create these tasty little morsels of deliciousness.
They offer two menus; one is for appetizers, entrees from the kitchen and drinks. The other menu is what you can order that day from the sushi bar. There is also a small menu of daily specials which we always order few appetizers from that to start the meal. Then we simply return the menu back to our server and tell them what we don't like and leave the rest up to the chef.
Chef starts preparing the sushi and leaves it on the your large banana leaf. There isn't any chopsticks, wasabi or so sauce unless chef think that you will need them with what he serves. Chef already dresses the fish with enough soy sauce, wasabi, lemon juice, etc depending on the fish so you don't need to add anything else to this perfection. There is a small wet towel so you can wipe your fingers after each time you enjoy your sushi. This how sushi meant to be consumed, held between the thumb and the index finger.
They offer a small but excellent selection of sake which is served in small carafes. For some reason they don't serve them in large bottles so if you drink a lot then make sure your server will bring fresh carafes as soon as they see you are running low. Sake is good and very reasonably priced and they are selected to complement the sushi. Talking about sushi they always have about forty to fifty types of fish in the Sushi Bar menu. Sometime they ran out of some but then they have other daily specials. According to Chef Yasuda most of the fish comes from Japan's Tsukiji Market via daily flights. Be prepared to be amazed with the taste, quality and the selection of the sushi. Last time they offered three types of Uni (Sea Urchin), five types of eel, seven types of salmon, five types of tuna and more...
They also have a point of differentiation from other Japanese sushi restaurants. Chef Yasuda believes sushi is 50% fish and 50% rice so the preparation of the daily rice is a process of its own. It needs to have the correct sweetness, stickiness, moisture, etc. So after doing this for over twenty years Chef Yasuda seems to perfected his trade. You have to try it once to appreciate it.
One thing you need to consider is that you only have one hour and thirty to forty-five minutes before you have to vacate your seats. This is the only drawback about the Sushi Yasuda. Because they are extremely popular they have a continuous flow of costumers from the opening to closing so they want to make sure that you are done with your meal within the allowed time which is not too bad when you consider that you are served non-stop with the bite size sushi. Prices are above your average sushi restaurant in New York. At our last visit our check came out to about $280.00 for two people with few carafes of sakes, few appetizers and the chef's selection of sushi. When we left we were pleasantly satisfied without being hungry or full.
We continue to keep Sushi Yasuda as our special occasion destination and we look forward to visiting few times a year to enjoy this unique experience in enjoying another aspect of sushi making and eating.
204 East 43rd Street
(Between 3rd & 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10017