I dunno if it’s the heat or what but lately Cookie Monster and I have been craving (and consuming) sushi like crazy. We were visiting some friends at their summer home over the weekend so we wanted to head down to Murray’s Cheese Shop in the West Village to pick up some goodies. We decided to find a spot to eat around there and decided upon Sushi Ushiwakamaru. I’ve heard that this place puts out amazing quality fish and also has some very hard to find types of fish. It’s very traditional Japanese. The female servers are even wearing kimonos. One other thing, I read that the key was to go early if you are into more strange/rare/unique cuts of fish as the expat Japanese clientele come early and gobble everything up.
The small details is what I love about a dining experience. Notice the small brightly colored piece of paper holding the chopsticks together:
Another detail: we ordered sake and the server came around with a tray of different types of beautiful sake glasses and asked us to “choose one” – how adorable.
We were served a small but very delicious amuse of wilted spinach in a bonito broth with bonito flakes atop:
There was a pretty amazing deal of $35 getting me a wide variety of nigiri. It pretty much had all my favorites and everything I always order: salmon roe, sea urchin, toro….So I opted to get that for dinner. Cookie Monster went a la carte and it cost him double!!!
Since it came with a miso soup, I didn’t get an appetizer.
That little something you see poking through the soup is actually the whole shrimp head. The shrimp head infused the miso soup with a deeply shrimpy and umami flavor. Best miso soup I’ve ever had because to me, miso soup is generally all the same in my book and this was quite different.
Cookie Monster got the chawan mushi with whitefish and shrimp:
It was perfectly executed. The custard was impossibly light and delicate. Chunks of whitefish and shrimp gave each bite texture.
I’ve never had blowfish before and always wanted to try it. I’ve heard the fish is incredibly tasty. Well I have never seen blowfish on any sushi menu before so I had to get it.
It is served with some chives and grated radish. The fish is firm in texture but honestly I couldn’t tell it apart from any other firm white fish? It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I suppose in that one bite, I couldn’t see why it has such a cult following…
My main course came out in two separate servings which I thought was nice because it didn’t overwhelm the table. I tried to savor each nigiri – SO fresh, SO delicious and that small mound of rice was perfect.
The favorite for both of us was the toro. It literally melted in our mouth so we got an extra piece each. (Left to right: fluke, sweet shrimp, toro, tuna, salmon)
This was the best part in my book!!! (Left to right: half a toro and cucumber roll, uni, salmon roe, egg custard and freshwater eel)
Yummy. This place is a gem. And the value of my meal blows me away. I would easily come back again and again and get this $35 sushi dinner. How often do you pay so little and get the choicest (and more expensive) cuts of sushi? Anyways, we were pleasantly satisfied (meaning contently full but not stuffed to our noses). The restaurant does take reservations and special requests for the sushi bar so I’d like to come back and dine at the sushi bar. We walked in at 6:30 so the place was able to accommodate us. By the time we were leaving, the restaurant had a wait.
Sushi Ushiwakamaru, 136 West Houston Street, New York, NY