Monday, June 10, 2013

Omakase at Yasuda

Finally. After years of working just around the corner from Yasuda and looking longingly through the window on my lunch breaks, my dreams have come true. I've had sushi every which way -- in a goblet, on an oyster shell, with mousse, blow-torched, wrapped in cucumber, topped with yuzu -- and I was ready to just have it done RIGHT. Good sushi. Good rice. No extras. No filler. No room for creativity. Just sushi, simple and perfect.

I knew I was in for a treat (I mean, I'd been anticipating this meal for years) but I had no idea sushi could be this amazing. Every piece was clean, pristine, disappeared like a cloud in my mouth. Even the taste was so pure it needed a little something -- soy, wasabi, salt, whatever -- to make the flavors stand out just a tiny bit more. 

My only request in the omakase was to start with sashimi. Prime our palates a little. Our private sushi chef got right to work, slicing ultra thin pieces of tuna, yellowfish, Alaskan trout (I think?), with chewier bits of orange clam and squid. We had a little coarse sea salt for the clam and squid, making two of my lesser favorites something I couldn't get enough of. Wow. Now we were excited for sushi.

I didn't write down anything or take many pictures. I really just wanted to experience and enjoy. The sushi chef would plunk it down. We'd pick it up with bare fingers and toss it back. And so it went. There were playful pairings that really made you pay attention to the subtle flavors of each fish: there were three types of salmon, different types of tuna (including bluefin, which I guess I should have morally refused but instead indulged and unregrettably enjoyed), fresh and saltwater eel. There was scallop and just-cooked shrimp. Everything piece melted onto the perfect rice beneath it, slightly vinegared, a little salty, every grain distinguishable from every other while the fish dissolved into it. Amazing. 

Even the seaweed here was unlike any I'd had before. Not crunchy or jarring. It was soft and fresh and a little sticky between my teeth. It was filled with toro that again, melted into the rice around it. A nice, filling way to end the omakase. I was full and satisfied but not too stuffed to go out for a nice bottle of wine after.

When we were done, our sushi chef -- who started off a little standoffish but had really warmed up to us by then -- asked if there was anything we didn't have that we'd like to. We both asked for uni. He said it was out of season, but put something together for us that worked just as well, if not better, than uni. It was part of a scallop. He said it was only available in the summer and that people went crazy for it. It was really similar to uni but bigger, slick and creamy like a freshly shucked oyster. Our eyes popped open. We asked him to tell us more about it. And so he gave us a brief tutorial of the anatomy of a scallop. It appeared that the part he was indicating was the reproductive gland. "You had male. This part female." Hmm. It was hard to decide whether to be grossed out by what we just learned or happy that it was so amazing. We both had the same "hmmmm" reaction. I guess its just like a big roe. No one had ever told me about scallop roe.

We finished the sake and headed back out into Midtown. This is it, we said. That's the last sushi we can ever eat.

(I might have ruined it with that Karumazushi bit, but, for the blog's sake of food drama, I'm gonna go ahead and say that is that. Forever. Now I'm done.)

Unless you also plan on giving up sushi forever, I have to warn against going here. It really is just that good.

204 e. 43rd St.

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