Half Hopi and I organized a last minute dinner on Friday with the boys. Somehow she managed to score an 830 reservation at Sushi Azabu. The reason why that is amazing is two fold: 1) the sushi restaurant has a Michelin star (side note, not even Yasuda has one! And that is probably my favorite sushi resto in the city) and 2) the place is TINY – can’t be more than 20 seats. The restaurant is located underneath the Greenwich Grill which I believe is also owned by the same owners however the upstairs, I was told, is a fusion of Japanese and Italian. Downstairs is all sushi. Anyways, it was a first time for me at Sushi Azabu and I was ready to get my sushi on.
They started us off with an amuse bouche of celery that tasted as though it had been marinated in salt water? Well it was crunchy and oddly satisfying.
While we waited, the boys had a bottle of sake: (look at how gorgeous the sake glass is)
While Half Hopi and I had the yuzu martini:
We shared a bunch of appetizers and then all of us went for the Koi course as a main.
The first to arrive, and my request, the lotus root in sweet soy.
Lotus root has a slightly sticky crunch that is akin to water chestnuts and I am totally addicted to the texture of it. Add the sweet salty element and you have quite an addictive bowl in your hands. We were all kind of fighting over the last morsels.
The most interesting (and favorite) dish of the night was the natto. Natto is fermented soybeans, chopped tuna sashimi, mountain potato, sushi rice and a raw quail yolk. You drizzle a little bit of soy sauce into the bowl and then mix all the contents together.
Place a spoonful of the mixture onto a leaf of seaweed…
And then eat!
You have the salty soy, the creamy quail yolk, fresh bits of fish, a slight bite from the mountain potato and then a bit of this sour pickled flavor from the fermented soybean all delivered in a crunchy seaweed wrapping. It was SO good. It was a flavor explosion. I have never had this before and I would totally love to have it again.
The grilled fatty tuna:
It was served warm and dressed in a sweet soy marinade, topped with grated yam and scallions. This was the least favorite of the night -the fish was very fishy although tender. I think fatty tuna is eaten best raw. The cooking only enhances the fishiness.
The snapper collar:
I love fish collar period. The flesh around the collar is always the moistest and flavorful. This was no exception. Crispy fish skin that has been seasoned heavily with salt rounds out each bite.
The main course, 1 for each person – Koi course:
It’s 10 pieces of fresh nigiri (sushi) which is served with a small cup of miso soup. For $35, it’s not a bad deal.
While the boys had a roll and one or two more pieces of sushi, Half Hopi and I being the uni sluts that we are, each got the uni handroll.
It is chock full of the creamy delicious treat!!! Here is a better shot:
But for $20 bucks per handroll, I limited myself to one…and we got the domestic! Wonder what the stuff imported from Japan cost! haha
We got two desserts: creamy cheesecake that was impossibly silky
and an interesting take on strawberries and cream.
Ultra light cream filling with a crispier crust that was similar to pavolva. This was so delicious.
The restaurant is small and located downstairs so it’s quiet. I noted that the booths seat four people so I’m guessing for tables of less than four, you’ll have to eat at the sushi bar. The food tasted very authentic. I loved that natto. I eat out alot and have an adventurous palate so I’m rarely surprised by something in NYC – however, the natto really made this resto a very interesting discovery.
Sushi Azabu, 428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY