One of my best friends from when we both lived in Beijing after college, F, was in town this weekend from London. Since he’s never done an omakase before, it was the perfect opportunity to try to blow his mind at a bucket list restaurant I’ve been dying to check out: Sushi Katsuei in Brooklyn. Located in Park Slope, it’s a bit of a hike but long story short, 100% worth the journey.
Sushi Katsuei has been on my radar for a long time, but I was especially eager to make it there because I knew they offer up multiple varieties of uni straight in the half shell, and given it’s peak sea urchin season, the pieces are extra big and plump this time of year. Very luckily for me, they only had one Santa Barbara one left this weekend that happened to be HUGE and saved it especially for our dinner on Saturday night – domo arigato Sushi Katsuei team!
We sat at the sushi bar (10 seats or so), where I decided to go with the sushi and sashimi omakase, which was priced at $65 and included 10 pieces of sashimi, 6 pieces of nigiri, and a handroll. F went for the sushi only, priced a bit cheaper at $45 and included 9 pieces and a handroll.
As expected, the show-stopper of the evening was actually the first course – our a la carte Santa Barbara uni straight out of the shell. At $33, the price was definitely steep but the quality was second to none. So rich, so sweet, so creamy, with perfect hints of the ocean and a refreshing aftertaste, it was out of this world delicious.
Fun fact. F had only tried uni a couples times before this (always with me, incidentally) but had never really taken to it. This sea urchin is what actually successfully converted him into an uni fan, as for the first time, he went back for seconds…and thirds…and fourths. That’s how good this uni was! Seemingly never-ending spoonfuls that were truly 10 out of 10. Spectacular.
A close second to the uni was the medium fatty tuna, as well as the salmon belly. Impeccable presentation and both super fatty and rich.
The starter for the sushi and sashimi omakase was a generous selection of various sashimi pieces, including monkfish liver, mackerel, sea bass, bluefin tuna, and a super rich and creamy Kumamoto oyster – each of which came already dressed with an extra kick of flavor to enhance their overall profiles. Very tasty.
And of course, the sea urchin from the actual omakase was great. Maine uni was the one included and extremely yummy with its sweet brininess.
Some other snapshot highlights from both omakases:
As with every sushi meal, I ended this one with an additional piece of uni for dessert. To complete the trifecta, I went for the Hokkaido uni which was more brown than usual in its coloring but sweet and clean as expected in taste. Best dessert ever.
A few other fun snaps from dinner:
Sushi Katsuei – Pros:
- So much uni! As an uni lover, the amount of sea urchin to select from was pretty awesome: live Santa Barbara uni, live Maine uni, and then of course the usual trifecta of Santa Barbara, Hokkaido, and Maine uni from fresh trays.
- The service was fantastic. Not only did they go through the efforts to save their only remaining live Santa Barbara uni for us (thanks again Sushi Katsuei!), we were nearly 30 minutes late to our seating (the downfall of traveling to Park Slope and not rationing enough time) but never once felt rushed throughout the meal.
- The chefs were really great. I’ve always said omakase is like a perfectly orchestrated masterpiece, and the five Japanese chefs behind the bar didn’t once pause once the entire night as they created one impeccable work of art after another.
- The price was absolutely reasonable. $45 only for 9 pieces plus a roll and $65 for 16 pieces and a roll was quite a steal, although $33 for the live uni was somewhat painful (but, again, worth it). And similar to Sushi Yasaka, love that they allow each person to order whatever you want at the bar vs. both being forced into doing the exact same omakase.
Sushi Katsuei – Cons:
- The sushi bar itself was a tiny bit cramped. Felt a little bit like you were on top of the person next to you and I had difficulty getting in and out of my seat, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable experience by any means.
- The location! Park Slope is a significant train ride away, and I hate taking the subway. If only Sushi Katsuei were in Manhattan because if it were, I’d be there ALL THE TIME.
Rating [out of 5]: ★★★★
Address: 210 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY