Our first proper meal in New York City was, without a doubt, traditional Japanese (can’t say no to Jap, can we?!) and we had also made reservations a month before our trip. Our friends waxed lyrical about the fish and the seven types of salmon at Sushi Yasuda, and being BIG Japanese food fans, we simply had to pay a visit….afterall, we’ve never heard of or had seven types of salmon!!
Eager, curious and hungry as hell, we cabbed it from our hotel to East 43rd right about fifteen minutes before dinnertime, and found ourselves standing in a medium-sized restaurant with clean bamboo finishes and simple decor. It was bustling with diners and there were seven sushi chefs working very hard at the bar…a good sign!
We were very quickly taken to our seats, and given the menus. I was famished and practically snatched the menu from our waiter. Then I read on furiously for ‘seven types of salmon’, but ohmygoodness, it was nowhere to be found!! I was absolutely gutted. I had come for that, yet the legendary ‘seven types of salmon’ eluded me! I was sulking by then, stayed absolutely still and quiet, fingered the menu with much disinterest and managed a weak ‘I don’t know‘ when M asked me what I wanted to have. I-don’t-knows usually culminate in omakase (meaning ‘it’s up to you’) for us; as the word clearly implies, we left the decisions to the chef. The stakes were high.
First, we had a rather forgettable appetiser (some, erm, fish and pickle in, erm, some sauce) and then a platter of sashimi was served for us to share. There were eight types of sashimi, all served in too-small portions (just one-squared inch apiece!). Having said that, I was highly impressed by the otoro, which was well-marbled with fat and melted so quickly in my mouth, I didn’t think I needed teeth for that. The wild salmon and wild hamachi were absolutely out of this world with deep, full-bodied and accented flavours. It was a double-edged sword though, as the wild salmon left a painful longing for the ‘seven types of salmon’ that I couldn’t have.
Next up was the chef’s selection of sushi. There were ten types, which again, were served in shrunken portions. Otoro, unagi, hamachi, hotate, the usual. The fish were incredibly fresh but there was nothing exciting or memorable on the plate. We felt that we have tasted better in London and Singapore at a more affordable price.
That concluded the omakase, which was priced at a painful US$85 per person; we thought it was a tad expensive given the small portions that were served. Our still-hungry selves dived back into the menu in search for more items to save our barely-filled tummies, and we decided to give uni and Peace Passage oyster nigiri a shot. The uni was mediocre at best, but the Peace Passage oyster nigiri saved the day. Those shiny slivers were the juiciest, freshest and plumpest oysters I’ve ever had, and they were such a delight to savour. The Kunamoto oysters at Sushi of Gari, whilst excellent, paled in comparison, and that’s saying something.
I would return just for the oysters, otoro, wild salmon and hamachi and I would also return to hunt down the ‘seven types of salmon’, but I think I would have to save up first, and fill my bottomless tummy elsewhere after a quality-not-quantity dinner at Sushi Yasuda.
Sushi Yasuda is located at:
204 East 43rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave), New York, NY 10017