NYC Sushi: Sushi Seki (Mar. 2013)
Restaurant: Sushi Seki
Chef: Seki (I can’t find his first name on Google; we’ll just assume his first name is “Chef” ^_^.)
Date: March 9, 2013
Sushi Seki is one of the more famous sushi places in the Upper East Side, and I’ve wanted to try it for a while now. It’s known for its inventive/fusion sushi, and in that respect it’s very similar to Sushi of Gari—both specialize in sosaku sushi, which involves using other ingredients, such as sauces, to complement and pair with the fish.
Seki’s actually quite a bit cheaper than Gari, so price is definitely something to keep in consideration if you’re choosing between the two. ALSO, the sushi bar is apparently open until 2:30 to 3:00 a.m. That… is… amazing. I kind of want to come back when I’m drunk. (Then again, good sushi would probably be wasted on me in that state. Still… I WANT TO TRY.)
Food-wise, both have great seafood, but the rice at Seki was a taaaaaaad bit too hard/grainy for my taste. (The temperature was about right, though!) I prefer the sushi rice at Gari (either at the Upper East Side or Upper West Side location) to that of Seki.
Unfortunately, a few of the sushi pieces are inspired by (or stolen from, depending on your viewpoint) Gari but were inferior in taste. Apparently, Seki trained at Sushi of Gari, and he utilizes (or copied) quite a few of Gari’s creations (for instance, the tuna with tofu sauce, freshwater eel with avocado, and salmon with sautéed tomato).
Seki also might have more variety than Gari does. Gari has about ~50 different combinations, while our sushi chef at Seki implied that they still had many more combinations available after we finished our meal. We actually took that as a challenge to eat more haha, but we decided it’d be better to eat less so that we could prepare for the massive amount of drinking later on in the night—four friends were celebrating their birthdays, which meant… SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!!!
1. Chūtoro (medium-fatty tuna).
The fish was excellent, but the rice was a bit too hard.
2. Seared king sake (salmon).
This piece had too much fish; I could barely taste the rice.
3. Tai (red snapper) with sea salt.
This was really, really good. The tai was very fresh, and the sea salt added a nice touch. Also, the sushi rice for this piece was better than it was for the previous two pieces. I wonder why.
4. Yellowtail with jalapeno.
5. Sake (salmon) with sautéed tomato.
I strongly prefer Gari’s version of this. I can’t really explain it, but the tomato just didn’t taste nearly as good as it does (especially with the salmon) when I eat it at Gari.
6. Chopped ōtoro (fatty tuna).
7. Fried baby anago (saltwater eel).
This was good, but I couldn’t really taste the anago all that much. But I find most fried stuff tasty hahaha.
8. Shima aji (striped jack).
9. Chopped unagi (freshwater eel) with avocado.
This one actually tasted just as good as (if not better than) Gari’s version.
10. Uni (sea urchin) from Santa Barbara, CA.
11. Akami (lean tofu) with tofu sauce over sautéed tofu.
I think I prefer the texture of sushi rice to that of sautéed tofu.
12. Sake (salmon) with scallion sauce and fried kombu (kelp).
The fried kombu added some welcome crunchiness to the piece.
13. Hotate (scallop) with sea salt.
14. Baby kanpachi (yelliwtail) with jalapeno sauce.
15. Seared ōtoro (fatty tuna).
Mmmmm…. Seared ōtoro!
16. Saba (mackerel) with sesame sauce.
17. Sauteed whitefish.
18. Baby ika (squid).
20. Snow crab.
21. Ōtoro with sea salt.
Mmm… more ōtoro! The sea salt was once again a very nice touch! Part of me would have liked to have tried the two pieces side-by-side, one with sea salt and the other without.
22. Baby white shrimp.
23. Spicy scallop hand roll.
24. Tako (octopus) with something sauce (I forgot :(.)
25. Fried oyster.
26. Kohada (gizzard shad).
27. Hirame (fluke) with sautéed ankimo (monkfish liver).
I think I would have preferred the ankimo raw. Sautéing it did add some nice texture, but I LOVE the taste of raw ankimo!
28. Baby herring.
29. Ikura (salmon roe) with cucumber.
30. Aji (horse mackerel).
31. Seared akami (lean tuna).
32. Baby anago (saltwater eel) with quail egg and ginger shavings.
This was a wonderful piece! The baby anago, quail egg, and ginger shavings complemented each other really well, with the anago and quail egg doing most of the heavy lifting (as they should!).
34. Kumamoto oyster.
This felt out of place. We’re eating a bunch of sushi pieces, and then we get… an oyster. Whaaaaaat just happened?
35. Chopped tuna with avocado tempura and seaweed sauce.
37. Hirame (fluke) with sesame seeds.
38. Kumamoto oyster, chūtoro (medium-fatty tuna), and uni (sea urchin).
“Hey, let’s just throw a bunch of decadent and delicious ingredients together and hope they love it!”
Admittedly, it was VERY delicious. Still, I think my total enjoyment from eating each ingredient individually would have outweighed my enjoyment from eating this whole piece.
39. Lobster tempura with mayonnaise.
This piece didn’t seem great. It was fried lobster and mayo, so of course it’s going to taste good… But it could have been so much more :(!
Bottom right: Eggplant with bonito flakes.
Top left: Anago (saltwater eel).
Top right and bottom left: Tamago (egg).
Everything tasted great here. The eggplant was a nice beginning to the plate, the anago tasted great, and the two pieces of tamago provided a great ending to the meal.