L took me out to celebrate my work promotion on Wednesday night, which obviously meant I got to pick the restaurant which obviously meant sushi was going to be a given. We’ve been traveling A LOT, so I wanted to be cognizant of price tag, making it the perfect opportunity to finally cross Sushi Yasaka off my never-ending restaurant bucket list. Located in the Upper West Side, I’d always heard great reviews about what’s apparently one of the best omakase deals in the city right next to Sushi Dojo.
We sat at the 9-seater sushi bar, and both went for the $45 (!) omakase – 12 pieces of sushi plus a maki roll. Given most highly lauded omakases tend to be at least twice that cost, we were curious to see just how the quality would turn out. (Spoiler alert: it was really freaking good.)
It goes without saying that the show-stopper of the evening was of course the uni, fresh from Santa Barbara and melt-in-your-mouth heavenly. The generous heaps were sweet as can be. Pretty sure it was so good I had a temporary sea urchin blackout.
A close second to the uni was the lightly seared bluefin tuna that was incredibly tender and exploded in your mouth with a perfect one-two flavor punch of sweet and savory. L thought it was one of the tastiest as well.
Part of why I love omakase is because the entire meal feels like edible art, with each delicate and carefully crafted piece a thing of beauty to be admired before completely devoured. I actually found the below shima-aji aka striped jack to be one of the aesthetic stunners of the night (of course, it was delicious too).
Another wow factor was the multiple courses of deliciously fatty and plump toro we were served throughout the night. Grade A quality for sure.
Some other snapshot highlights from the night:
Anyone who knows me knows that I have zero self control when it comes to uni, so once the omakase was complete, I couldn’t help but order dessert aka three additional orders of sashimi: Santa Barbara uni, Maine uni, and baby abalone.
Sushi Yasaka – Pros:
- When it comes to the art of the omakase, the sushi chef is the maestro. L and I each had a dedicated sushi chef who, in perfect unison, would each place our piece onto our respective plates simultaneously. Flawless orchestration that was a delight to witness.
- Speaking of the chefs – they were wonderful! Stellar service and fun personalities that kept us smiling the whole night.
- The price! Holy cheap. Still can’t believe it was $45 only for 12 glorious pieces plus a roll. Even my additional orders of uni were totally affordable – believe it was $7 for what ended up being approximately five pieces of Maine uni and $6 for the Santa Barbara uni. They even offer a mini omakase (6 pieces and a roll) for $24! Such a steal in my new favorite hidden gem on the Upper West Side.
- While we both went for the omakase this time, we did inquire whether it’d be OK for one of us to get it and the other to order a la carte. Typically, we’ve found that fancier restaurants don’t allow this (aka if one person gets omakase, everyone in the party must join in as well – i.e. 15 East, Shuko, etc.) so that’s a nice plus if your dining companion isn’t quite as committed as you are.
Sushi Yasaka – Cons:
- Sitting at the sushi bar was a nice and personalized experience, but it was right in front of the dining room itself – which was a bit too noisy and crowded. Definitely request seats at the sushi bar if you venture here.
Rating [out of 5]: ★★★★
Address: 251 W 72nd St, New York, NY