eat. shop. love. nyc.


Sushi UO blows me away (again)
November 12, 2010, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve written about Sushi UO a couple of times already, which seems unfair because I have dined at several other restaurants and have failed to write about those experiences even once. But I just enjoyed one of the best sushi dinners I’ve had in a long time, and I felt I should encourage you NYC sushi lovers to go here once more. Don’t get swayed by the hype or the haters – Sushi UO’s celebrated Chef David Boudahana left several months ago and gone are the days of hot, tatted 23 year-old wunderkind sushi chef slicing fish and taking names.

On my most recent visit to Sushi UO last night, I opted to sit on the side of the sushi bar where two Japanese sushi chefs joked and laughed with one another as they worked away at fulfilling orders on a bustling Thursday night. He may not be 23 years old or covered in tattoos, but watching him slice, score, and roll, I thought he was pretty hot. It was definitely the best seat in the house. I felt like I was at a dinner theater, except better.

The first dish to arrive was the Creamy Rock Shrimp Tempura Duo with wasabi aïoli and spicy red pepper aïoli ($13). The shrimp is just barely cooked through, the tempura batter is unbelievably light, and there is just the right amount of sauce. No soggy bits, no gushing oil, no rubbery texture. Just delicious, bite-size pieces of creamy shrimp. Also, this is a huge appetizer. Can easily be shared between 4 people, so for $13, it’s a steal.

Sitting at the sushi bar is a great way to get a feel for the other dishes at the restaurant. Someone, presumably on a low-carb diet, had ordered a lovely roll wrapped with cucumber instead of rice. It was just four pieces, albeit four very large pieces, and immediately Sara and I had food envy. When we asked what it was, we were told it was the No Rice Roll #2 with yellowtail, tuna, kaiware (daikon sprouts), and Asian pear. Since that sounded light and heavenly and was just $8, we went ahead and ordered one for ourselves. The Asian pear brings a hint of unexpected sweetness that truly makes this roll stand out. This is going to be a roll I order every single time I come here.

Sara and I ordered the $49 sushi and sashimi platter for two. We didn’t know what would be on it or even how many pieces, but somehow we felt it would be a good call. And it was. The platter included 18 pieces of sashimi, 10 pieces of sushi, and an 8-piece crunchy spicy tuna roll. The rice-to-sushi ratio was perfect, and the fish was impossibly fresh.

This might be a little blasphemous, but I actually think I enjoyed the salmon here at UO more than the salmon I had at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. The salmon was melt-in-your-mouth soft, almost buttery, without any of the harsh fishiness of stale salmon. The tuna was so fresh and so perfectly cut that the fish was almost falling apart at the striations between the grain (I don’t know the proper terminology – sorry!).

The crunchy spicy tuna roll was good, but that’s fairly standard, I think. I usually don’t enjoy unagi. I think eel has a tendency to taste way too fishy, and I feel like the sweet sauce usually just masks the flavor of the eel rather than enhancing it. At UO, this was most certainly not the case, and I really liked the taste and texture of my unagi, finding the sauce to complement rather than hide the flavor of the fish.

After we had stuffed ourselves silly with sushi, the waitress brought us a two-bite dessert of flourless chocolate cake with raspberry ganache. The perfect end to an already-excellent meal.

Next time I head to Sushi UO, I plan to order the Botan Ebi Sashimi ($9) two pieces of shrimp sashimi, one topped with ikura (salmon roe) and the other with uni (sea urchin roe). It looked positively amazing. I will also be getting the omakase, a Japanese phrase meaning “It’s up to you.” The sushi omakase is $38 and the sashimi omakase is $46, 9 pieces of the chef’s choice depending on the freshest fish of the day. It is beautifully presented with fried shrimp head and tail, and the chef takes you beyond just the standard tuna, salmon, yellowtail, etc. that you usually find in the sushi/sashimi platters.

If a guy were to take me on a date to Sushi UO (without having known that I totally love this place), I’d be thoroughly impressed. It’s small and intimate, dark and sexy, and the food is really effing good. Quality sushi for a reasonable (not cheap) price. Sake flight also available for $14, I think.

Another important note for you dealseekers: Sushi UO serves an impressive $24.07 3 course prix-fixe menu daily from 6 to 7 pm. Sushi UO is closed on Sundays.

Eat: Sushi UO (LES) 151 Rivington St. between Clinton and Suffolk, upstairs. 212-677-5470. They take reservations starting at 5 pm, or you can reserve seats on Open Table.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I LOVE this article. I live in NYC and have heard of this place before but never been. To tell yout he truth, I am nervous of trying Sushi but I might as well take the plunge.

Comment by Babygirl

You can ease your way into sushi by starting off with sushi rolls instead of jumping straight into the sashimi, maybe go with tuna and some of the milder fish first. If you go to a nicer place (like UO), the staff will be happy to make recommendations for you. Good luck!

Comment by Melody

Thanx so much for the suggestions! I appreciate it. Love the site.. Just subscrbed. I will also include you in my “Love Blog Sites” list on my website but I will email you about it..

Comment by Babygirl

[…] also blogged before about the no rice roll #2 with yellowtail, tuna, kaiware, and Asian pear, which is a total steal at […]

Pingback by Botan ebi sashimi « eat. shop. love. nyc.




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