Sushi Yasuda (NY) – Risotto-Like Rice

I am currently eating truffles in France but here’s a lost review from my NY trip last December.

I ate at Sushi Yasuda on my unforgiving NYC trip last week. Overall, it was what i’d call an “average Yasuda meal.” Good, even great for a few pieces, but the fish falls short of the other heavyweights. However, it’s about half the price, ringing in at around $125/meal for one. Others would argue it’s just as good but I firmly there are distinctions to be made – Kuruma Zushi for fish, Masa for an entire meal, and Yasuda for rice.
While a good place for a single diner, they really try to turn their seats. The whole lunch below took a scant 45 minutes and I tried dragging it out another 15 minutes w/ dessert. This has been my experience each & every time.

The Good
As everyone knows, Yasuda is the rice master (though Masa proper is just as good.) This becomes especially evident when you get that right combination of fish & rice where the texture of the fish yields to the rice and, basically, creates a nice little risotto in your mouth. This doesn’t happen w/ every piece, but when it does – it is special.

The Crab and Sea Scallop were the best examples – the stringy crab blended in with the rice as you bit down and the texture differences/creaminess/sensation was like that of risotto. Awesome.

The Arctic Char, White Salmon, Tasmanian Trout , and Fatty Tuna Roll offered this same sensation, albeit not as sensational as the two above.

The Uni was also very good – good enough for seconds at the end.

The Inconsistent
Do not expect every piece of sushi to have perfect rice. For whatever reason, it’s highly variable (maybe skimming off the top where it’s dried a bit?) When it’s on, it’s among the best.

The Entire Meal (in order, sushi unless otherwise noted)
- bluefin
- shamaji
- mackeral
- arctic char
- white salmon
- tasmanian trout
- clam
- scallop
- crab
- eel 1
- eel 2
- uni
- japanese mackeral
- jack mackeral
- pompano
- toro (lower quality)
- boston tuna
- sea bass
- striped bass
- fatty tuna rolls (i think he was trying to fill us up – 6 fairly large pieces out of nowhere, sorry, we’re still eating)
- squid
- clam
- king salmon
- fatty toro (finally, the better stuff)
- oyster
- crab redux
- uni redux
- green tea ice cream (pretty yummy)

Overall, good but nowhere near Kuruma for fish quality. For sushi, Urasawa is right behind him in terms of quality (better fish, nearly as good rice.) I’ll keep it on the once-a-year rotation.

- chuck

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  • Eric

    Thanks for the Yasuda write-up, and also for your response to my earlier comment. It’s always nice to read another review just for more information, even though making a decision between Yasuda and Kuruma seems to be getting more difficult. :-)