Sushi Yasuda

I just had one of the most satisfying meals I had in New York, courtesy of Sushi Yasuda. Thanks to a great recommendation from Rambling and Gambling after I complained of a not-so-perfect omakase meal from Sushi Yasuda (Website) couple months back, TF and I made a reservation at Yasuda's station to get the best. Hey, it's my last day in New York, I'm going all out.

The sushi, real quick:
  • The absolute best: Yasuda calls it the Custard Sushi, which is made of egg and yam. I have never heard of or had a sushi like this one. While it harbored many tastes and textures, it had a hint of sweetness that was the perfect followup to all the fish sushi. Yasuda explained that the Custard Sushi was rarely made in the US and that the ingredients all came from Japan (I think, it was loud). And that it had something to do with the year 1934. My god it was good. Next time I have it, I will write down what he said.
  • Maybe the best I've had: Uni, Tamago, Ebi
  • Great: Tako, Unagi, Otoro, Oyster
  • Good: Toro, Salmon
The station, however, was what amazed me.

Our seats were on the side of the sushi station so we had a good view of all the stations down the bar. Watching Yasuda work his magic is fascinating. He's the only chef with a bucket of seafood in front of him (all the other sushi chefs had their seafood in the bar window). He peers into the box, puts his hand in, picks and chooses, and takes a cut of fish out. With perfect precision and utmost concentration, he slices the fish and examines it for a split second. He puts the fish back into the bucket and starts handling the rice. He grabs a small bit of rice, and massages it into a sushi with both hands deliberately, and then quickly puts the fish on top, applies a small about of sauce, and then places it on your plate with a twist of his wrists.

You have to be there to appreciate it. His hands are lightning quick. They are always on the move, doing something to create the next best piece of sushi. Serving six customers continuously, he remembers every single piece he made. If you ask him a question, he will answer it with great detail on where the fish is from, how it was prepared, and what other ingredient is used.

In fact, he will tell you how to eat it: immediately, within 15 seconds of being served, with no sauce, so as to "have the perfect temperature for the fish and the rice to taste just right". Hence no pictures of food - I do apologize. The man seemed like a semi-sushi-Nazi about everything happening at his station. He wanted our experience to be perfect. I don't want to be yelled at. Can you blame him?

TF told me that in her last visit, Yasuda told her not to eat her sushi fish-side-down and that "nobody eats their pizza upside down". I looked it up and every where I go it says fish-side-down. I, however, did not have the guts to challenge the grand master, placing my sushi fish-side-up like a good little boy.

And "how do/should you eat your sushi?" is now the biggest question in my life. Do you go with popular wisdom with "fish-side-down" or with Yasuda's "rice-side-down"?


chaubella said...

it was more like scolding, less like telling.

chef yasuda: "do you eat your pizza upside down? do you eat your hot dog upside down? then why would you eat your sushi upside down?"

me: cus eric lam told me to! kidding, i was too shocked to say anything

rk: that's funny {laughing at me}

The Pretender said...

How can you go to Yasuda and not talk about the rice?

Justin said...

Upside down meaning "sideways"? Cause that's how I do it if I have to add soy sauce: turn the sushi on its side and use fingers or chopsticks to grab on "top" and "bottom".

If no sauce is needed, then I do right side up.

I think its more of a utility issue. If Yasuda says to eat without sauce, then its not necessary to eat it "upside down".

Karen T said...

Dude, I am offended...I was the one to take you to Yasuda first, when you were visiting NYC from Chicago! Don't you remember?