For a few years now, my sisters and I are obsessed, and I do mean obsessed, with a tiny sushi place in the basement unit of a building in Midtown East (usually a foodie dead zone).
Sushi You is owned by Chef Miku who is a one-man sushi band. The other employees are wait staff or help with hot food. Only Miku prepares the sushi. The place seats two dozen people, including spots at the bar, and you should expect most (if not all) of the other patrons to be Japanese businesspeople.
(You can also expect to see old-school Soul Train on the small TVs behind the bar. Everyone’s got to get their inspiration from somewhere!)
The types of seafood at Sushi You aren’t terribly outlandish (don’t expect barracuda or something like that), but everything is very fresh. Miku then adds his creative and whimsical spin. Nowhere else have I had pink peppercorn used as a sushi garnish!
Now, if you’re a sushi purist, you may not like this place. But for adventurous eaters (or those who want to spice up their sushi habits), make a reservation for the bar and order the sushi omakase (chef’s choice sushi service). Most of the sushi Miku makes has its own special sauce, so he tells you when you’re “allowed” to dip your sushi into soy sauce. All you need to do is sit back, follow Miku’s heavily Japanese-accented instructions, and eat whatever he puts in front of you – trusting that it will be delicious.
A great part is that the sushi omakase is an incredible value (starts at only $50, and since we’re regulars he nicely hooks us up with special sushi every once in awhile)! (UPDATE: Now starts at $65, but that’s still a bargain because most places start at $100)
For $5 additional dollars, you get an appetizer (usually Japanese potato salad), salad and soup. Totally worth it. These items are not the typical throw-away sushi restaurant salad with ginger dressing and miso soup. Sushi You takes it up a notch.
Couple special ones we’ve gotten …
I haven’t tried the kitchen omakase, which includes hot food plus sushi, but that is what most of the Japanese patrons order.
The specialty rolls are great too, but you really see Miku’s playfulness and attention-to-detail come out in the omakase.
Click here for a sushi photo play-by-play from one of our dinners (Thanks Evernote food app! Just wish I could post directly onto WordPress!)
Here is a photo from when the sushi bar was full and I ordered omakase at a table. The pieces were served at one time on the wooden plank vs. individually at the bar (excuse the poor photo quality, which makes the sushi look not as delicious!). The omakase seafood includes torro, scallop, shrimp, salmon belly, mackerel, white tuna and conch. What’s on the wooden board is pretty standard for the lowest-priced omakase ($50).
And here are some close-ups …
Super simple, yet shockingly delicious inside-out shrimp with caviar. Every friend I take to Sushi You raves about this bite.
Sea urchin and salmon roe
Miku loves the floral punch of pink peppercorn.
He also lightly torches some of the fish. I’m guessing it releases some of the fat in the fish, which makes the bite even more melt-in-your-mouth.
Try this place out – it is the sushi truth!
P.S. I hope to try Tanoshi Sushi in the near future and provide a comparison. I’ve heard it is more about sushi purity a la Jiro in Tokyo.
Sushi You: 246 East 51st Street, ground floor unit (between 2nd & 3rd Ave), Tel: 212.752.2987, no deliveries, reservations recommended (some weekdays they are very busy from the business crowd, and they have no qualms turning people away at the door – no “come back in an 30 min/an hour” they just say they’re full for the night!), http://www.sushi-you.com/