Restaurant Mini-Review: Sushi Yasuda, New York, NY

Although Flora’s Table is mostly focused on Italian food, cuisine and wine, sometimes we venture out of our comfort zone to share with you something else that has left us breathless: this is certainly the case for, in my view, one of the very best Sushi Restaurants in Manhattan (and not only Manhattan): Sushi Yasuda.

Sushi Yasuda is a little known gem located at 204 E 43rd Street between Second and Third Avenues that you really have to know because if you don’t chances are that you will just walk past it as it does not have any street sign and its entrance is as inconspicuous as it may get. So, if you have not dined there before, just pay attention to Street numbering and stop at number 204 to be rewarded with a heavenly Japanese culinary experience – if you have made a reservation that is. Yes, because Sushi Yasuda deservedly has a number of faithful aficionados who fill the place up fast, so definitely call them up at 212.972.1001 and secure a table or a seat at the beautiful sushi counter before heading there. One more word of advice: once you have made your reservation, pick up the phone the day of your reservation because they will call you back to confirm and if they cannot reach you they will just go ahead and cancel your reservation. Also, be there on time because they will give your table away if you don’t show up within 10 minutes of your assigned time.

Now that we are done with logistics and reservation etiquette, on to the restaurant. The all-bamboo decor is minimalistic and imbued with Zen simplicity (I want to believe that Steve Jobs would have liked it): sitting at the sushi counter is a treat as you get to watch your sushi maker do his magic and prepare your meal, which is an experience in itself. Executive chef Naomichi Yasuda is (quoting from the restaurant’s Web site) “a true artist — his work is utterly original. His ethic of pure, clean simplicity is evident in every aspect of Sushi Yasuda.” He interprets sushi with what you could call a religious attitude and does all he can to offer you the best possible experience, from selecting only the very best fish and seafood to pre-moistening your sushi with what he considers to be just the perfect quantity of shoyu (soy sauce) so they taste the best. I suggest checking out Sushi Yasuda’s Web site to read more about their recommendations as to how best to enjoy Chef Yasuda’s creations as it is very instructive.

Beside a large a la carte selection, at lunch they offer two types of combo prix fixe menus that I would suggest you give serious consideration to as they combine great value with a nice sample of Yasuda’s talent. In particular, one is a sashimi-slanted menu, where they will pick five varieties of sashimi for you while you can select one maki (sushi roll) from a given set of choices. The other menu focuses on sushi and you get to select five pieces of sushi from a selection that gets updated daily plus two maki rolls. Either way you decide to go, a salad or miso soup is included with your menu.

Everything at Sushi Yasuda is to die for (if you are into Japanese cuisine that is), so relax and dare as you will not be disappointed. Among my personal favorites are king or coho salmon, branzino, squid, orange clams, yellowfin and of course, whenever it is available, delicious toro! Yum, only writing about it makes me want to head over there right away and be delighted one more time by the magic of Sushi Yasuda!

As always, if you happen to go, please leave a comment on this page to let us all know how you liked it!

Disclaimer: All our restaurant reviews are independently made without the owners or managers of the restaurants knowing about it before they get published and we do not have any interest in nor do we derive any benefit from any of the restaurants we review. We just want to share with our readers our experience at certain specific restaurants that just left us in awe.

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About Stefano

I am a photographer and an ISA certified sommelier. I contribute to two blogs, Flora's Table (the fine cooking and wine blog - www.florastable.com) and Clicks & Corks (my photography and wine blog - www.clicksandcorks.com). My photography Web site is at www.LightQuill.com
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