NYC Sushi: Sasabune (Nov. 2012)
Authors: Victor and Monty
Chef: Kenji Takahashi
Date: November 29, 2012
-The fish was fantastic; it felt almost on par with Sushi Yasuda, which says a LOT.
-I’m a little sad that we didn’t get to try the toro. Also, they don’t make tamago, so we didn’t get to try that either.
-The rice was really soft and fluffy, BUT it was also a little too warm for my taste. It was significantly above room tempterature (It was even warmer than Sushi Yasuda’s rice, which is already slightly above room temp!).
-One or a few grains of rice would occasionally drop when I went to pick a piece up; I don’t quite like it when that happens. I’m guessing that the temperature of the rice has to do with how well the rice sticks together…
-I don’t really like how they serve you three pieces at once. I’d rather they serve it one by one so I can finish each piece within a few seconds. (Then again, I already do that; I still prefer that they come out one by one, though, so I have more time to enjoy each piece haha.)
I thought this place was amazing and worth the experience. The ambience is very intimate, but the chefs are quite busy putting out orders to the separate dining room. The rice is really warm like Victor said, and while I like warm rice, I think it was a tad (Hi Tad) too hot at times, and I wonder if it affected the stickiness of the rice. Two or three times for me, the pillows of rice beneath the sushi would just crumble into 5 smaller clumps the second I picked it up, and I would have to basically eat sashimi and try to reform the rice ball. Still, the quality of everything was really great and tastewise, I think it’s up there with the best.
Also, there’s apparently an “Asian”-focused omakase that focuses on shellfish, and a …non-asian focused omakase that I think has the more popular fishes in American sushi. Shrug.
Right: Kumamoto oysters
Left: Reconstructed “egg” (squid wrapped around crab meat)
Victor: The oysters were good, but they weren’t too amazing. The squid and crab meat were FANTASTIC.
Monte: Yeah, the squid and crab was really unique. I felt like I was eating a deviled egg, but it’s only seafood! The meat was sweet but creamy.
Top: Orange clam
Left: Aji (Mackerel)
Monte: The abalone was really crunchy and fresh. It had a slightly briny but sweet taste to it. I know some people don’t like abalone (Victor!) but this one is probably the best I’ve had. The octopus was also really tender, not at all like the rubbery ones I so often encounter (though those are fun to eat too, in their own little tapioca-esque-chewiness kind of way).
Left: Abalone liver
Right: Monkfish liver
Victor: The abalone liver was good, but the real winner was the monkfish liver. It reminded me of foie gras a LOT more than usual; it was one of the best monkfish liver dishes I’ve had in my life.
Monte: Victor took the words right out of mouth. Foie of the sea, it’s most definitely the best monkfish liver I’ve ever had. Sweet, creamy, and rich.
Left: Big-eye tuna with soy sauce
Right: Big-eye tuna without soy sauce
Victor: The tuna was amazing (not on the level of toro amazing, but still amazing!).
Monte: I had mentioned at dinner that I thought this lean tuna was as enjoyable as the toro at other places. I stand by that statement.
Right: Tai (red snapper)
Top: Madai (snapper)
Victor: For some reason, the rice in my madai nigiri was horrible. It was really, really hard and even a little cold.
Monte: I’ll say this here, and only here because then it gets repetitive, but holy cow the fish here is really fresh and sweet. Everything has a hint of the sea, and just tastes amazing.
Right: Albacore tuna
Top: Ebi (shrimp)
Victor: The butterfish was creaaamy.
Monte: The butterfish was definitely like a silky mix between sea bass and uni. I really liked it.
Bottom: Jumbo clam
Middle: Orange clam
Top: Hotate (scallop)
Monte: This might be my favorite trio of fishes, if only because I’ve had amazing fish, but amazing shellfish like this is rare. The two clams were absolutely tender and just melted in your mouth, not rubbery at all.
Left: Striped bass
Right: Spanish mackerel
Top: Uni (sea urchin)
Victor: The striped mackerel melted in my mouth. It was one of the best mackerel nigiri that I’ve had in my life.
Left: Salmon with kelp seaweed
Top: Salmon roe
Monte: I liked the amberjack. The kelp seaweed on top of the salmon added a pretty unique and tasty crunch.
Bottom: Hamachi (yellowtail)
Top: Norwegian mackerel with kelp seaweed
Victor: The Norwegian mackerel was also amazing.
Right: Blue crab hand roll
Left: Toro hand roll
Victor: I thought these two hand rolls were forgettable (waste of stomach space, sadly).
Monte: I have no idea what Victor is talking about, the crab was amazing. The warm rice and sweet salty stringy crab paired well with the crunchy seaweed.
Anago (saltwater eel) from Tokyo
Victor: The anago was really creamy and warm. I’m not sure whether I like this or Yasuda’s anago, better, but for now I think I’ll side with Yasuda’s. (I think Masa and Urasawa have better anago, too.)
Monte: Having never been to Yasuda, I can say this is probably the best (again, a running theme with the quality of fish here) anago I’ve had. What a great way to end the meal.