Sushi at 15 East

On Saturday night, we made it into the city for dinner at 15 East.  Our usual go-to high-end sushi place is Sushi Yasuda, and for “everyday” sushi, Kanoyama is our spot.  We figure it was time to branch out to some new choices…

We booked relatively last minute, so was unable to secure a spot at the sushi and had to make do with a table.  While not ideal, I was ok with it.  However, what I was not happy with was fact that we had a 9pm reservation and we were not seated until 9:35pm.  I suppose it was probably due to the fact that earlier tables were running late due to potential travel conditions created by post snow storm clean up.

We started with two appetizers for the kitchen:

15East_risotto 15East_chawan

Lobster and Uni risotto ($32 – really a main course from the kitchen, but we ordered it as an appetizer to share).  This was delicious, uni was blended into the risotto which was studded with nubs of lobster meat.  There were also 4 tongues of uni resting on top of the risotto.  Creamy, rich, perfectly cooked risotto AND uni?  Of course, this was a winner!

Foie Gras Chawan Mushi – egg custard with mushroom black truffle amber sauce ($18).  This was very tasty as well, although I do think I prefer a more traditional chawan mushi that is more ‘clean’ tasting vs. rich tasting.  It was a successful dish, just not really how I like my chawan mushi.

As our main, we both ordered the sushi omakase and added two pieces of uni:

15East_sushi 15East_uni

The sushi omakase contains 10 pieces ($60) – our selection included chu-toro, tuna, kanpachi (first row, l-r); king salmon, tai, black perch, red snapper (second row, l-r); scallop, sweet shrimp, anago (last row, l-r).

The two kinds of uni available on Saturday night included Santa Barbara (left) and Hokkaido (right).

15 East’s sushi was very good and fresh, however, I think the experience would’ve been better had we been seated at the sushi bar. I still much prefer Sushi Yasuda’s rice.  I think 15 East’s rice is a served a touch too cold – perhaps that would not have been an issue at the bar.

Overall, a good meal – was not happy with having to wait for our table, but for the price, I think I prefer Sushi Yasuda.

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Leisurely lunch at 15 East

15 East has a pretty good lunch deal.  $29 for a 3 course prix fixe.  On this visit, the first course was a choice of (1) home-made tofu served with ginger soy, (2) market greens with figs or (3) chilled summer corn soup.  Of course, I picked the corn soup – I love chilled soups and I love corn, really no other choice for me.  It was a very small portion, but the deliciousness more than makes up for the diminutive portion size, it was like eating corn off the cob in liquid form.

15 East – Chilled summer corn soup

Second course was a choice of (1) cold soba with shrimp tempura, (2) abalone risotto or (3) chef’s selection of sushi, 4 pieces and 1 roll.  All options sounded equally good, but today I was craving sushi.  I love that 15 East doesn’t dumb down the sushi selection and give tuna, salmon, etc.  Today, I got a negi toro roll, arctic char, snapper, yellowtail and scallop.  15 East has very high quality fish and a great selection.  Their sushi rice is quite good, I can’t say it’s as good as Sushi Yasuda but it is better than most places in the city.

15 East – Chef’s selection of sushi and roll

And I can’t leave 15 East without a few pieces of uni… 15 East had 4 types of uni on the menu today, from Chile, Santa Barbara, Hokkaido and Kyushu.  The uni pictured on the left is from Kyushu and the more orange-y one on the right is from Hokkaido.  The Hokkaido uni is more creamy, but the Kyushu uni had the more intense ocean taste of the two.  Both = sooooo good!

15 East – Hokkaido uni ($12) and Kyushu uni ($14)

The final course – any dessert off the menu.  I had the Mineoka Tofu, a scoop of home-made milk tofu in kuromitsu syrup.  Yum!  (Not photographed as tofu generally looks like a giant white blob with my poor iPhone photography skills)

  • 15 East – 15 East 15th Street – 212.674.0015

 

I ate a lot this weekend… (Kanoyama, Rubirosa, Momofuku and more)

I’ve been trying to keep vegetarian (mostly) during the week, but once the weekend comes around, I kinda go nuts…

Friday night dinner at Kanoyama with some friends:

duck

Kanoyama – Duck with miso sauce cooked on a persimmon leaf

baby conch

Kanoyama – Baby Conch with lemon and sea salt

corn tempura

Kanoyama – Corn Tempura

sashimi

Kanoyama – Sashimi Omakase

Kanoyama is my favorite casual sushi place in the city.  Very good quality and selection, you can end up spending A LOT here for a superb experience or you can scale back and still eat really well on a relative budget.  I think one of the best deals to be had here is the Sashimi Omakase, a selection of 9 different types of sashimi, about 2-3 pieces of each – all for $40 (includes soup/salad and ice cream).  They usually offer a pretty varied selection, on Friday, I had scallop, kanpachi, trout, tuna, toro, fluke, red snapper, and two kinds of mackerel.

Saturday late lunch with Kevin at Rubirosa:

Rubirosa - Vodka Pizza with mushroom and garlic

Rubirosa – Vodka Pizza with mushroom and garlic

Rubirosa serves a Staten Island style, super thin (almost cracker like) crust pizza.  The vodka pizza has the thinnest layer of delicious vodka sauce with blobs of fresh mozzarella distributed across the entire pie.  I added mushrooms and roasted garlic.  I love Rubirosa’s pizza for a light lunch, the crust is very light and crispy, no extra dough to weigh you down for the rest of the day… so you have room in your stomach for…

A perfect kouign amann from Dominique Ansel:

kouign amann

Dominique Ansel – Kouign Amann

A short stroll from Rubirosa over to the west side of Soho leads us to Dominique Ansel bakery, the only places that I know of in the city that makes kouign amann.  If anyone knows of another place to get this delicious treat, please let me know!  For those who have not yet tried this sinfully rich baked good, I suggest you RUN to Dominique Ansel to get it.  The best way I know of to describe this is:  it is like a really rich, buttery, dense, sweet, caramelized crossiant – only BETTER!  Check out some of the other offerings: here and here.

Capped off Saturday night with a late dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar:

momofuku grilled corn

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Grilled corn with Benton’s bacon, lime and cotija

Momofuku grilled octopus

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Grilled octopus with piperade, radish and pistachio

momofuku ginger scallion noodles

Momofuku Noodle Bar – Ginger scallion noodles with pickled shitake, cucumber and cabbage

I really enjoy going to Momofuku Noodle Bar for late dinners.  Although you still have to wait, it is a much shorter wait compared to during the ‘prime hours’ and while you wait, you can enjoy one of their refreshing alcoholic slushies.  I had the creamsicle slushie made with soju, orange and cream.  I don’t like orange or cream separately but when you put them together I just cannot stop thinking… Oooooohhhh ORANGE JULIUS!!!!!  When it is summer time, I see corn on the menu and I HAVE to order it.  Over the years, Momofuku Noodle Bar has done great things with corn,  but I love this season’s incarnation – their rift on the Mexican elote.  Momofuku’s version adds a great smokey flavor with Benton’s bacon and it is served off the cob, I could eat this all day without having to worry about kernels getting stuck between my teeth.  Momofuku does a great job with the grilled octopus, super tender and very tasty, it is a great dish if you want octopus in a pinch but I don’t think it compares to other octopus preparations I’ve been having recently, here and here.  Ginger and scallion noodle is my tried and true favorite here – complete comfort food when you want something lighter than Momofuku’s ramen, which is delicious, but very very rich with the pork-y broth and pork belly pieces.

Ended up in Queens for a late lunch on Sunday and decided to have some Korean BBQ at Hahm Ji Bach:

assortment of banchan

Hahm Ji Bach – assortment of banchan

haemool pajeon

Hahm Ji Bach – haemool pajeon

kalbi

Hahm Ji Bach – marinated kalbi

bibim naengmyun

Hahm Ji Bach – bibim naengmyun

My first time here and I liked it a lot…  Their haemool pajeon is really good, not too thick, not too thin, the best part is their choice of ingredients.  Most restaurants should really call their haemool pajeon (seafood pancake), squid and tons of scallion pancake, but Hahm Ji Bach does it right and includes baby squid, scallops, shrimps and mussels in their version, soooo good!  I will be back to try their samgyupsal, which is apparently what they are known for.

  • Kanoyama – 175 2nd Ave (at 11th street)
  • Rubirosa – 235 Mulberry Street (between Prince and Spring)
  • Dominique Ansel – 189 Spring Street
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar – 171 1st Ave
  • Hahm Ji Bach – 41-08 149th Place (Flushing, NY)