Mr Sushi Chef at Kura, I don’t know your name, I don’t know where you came from, but I will never forget your smile. Besides being talented, the sushi chef at Kura is so damn cute and happy, he made our night. Perfectly slicing some fish? Smiling! Serving that fish? Smiling! Health inspection going on with a full restaurant? Smiling! This man is a ball of sunshine in a basement on St. Marks and we love it. Describing Kura doesn’t really do justice to the experience offered, because it sounds slightly typical to jaded NYC diners: Minimal signage on a far east stretch of St. Marks leads to a 16 seat sushi heaven with no menu and omakase only. The place is small and done simply in blonde wood, and there is not a ton of staff, but you will never want for anything. They only offer two options- cooked food omakase or sushi omakase, and a well priced list of sake, beer and wine. That is it, but the experience is so gimmick free and pretension free, and so genuine and DELICIOUS that the whole adds up to something much greater than the sum of its parts, and for whatever reason, Kura is a truly fabulous experience. Oh- and this place is wonderful for a date- intimate and kind of off the beaten path, delicious food, close quarters, bow chicka bow bow….You can plan ahead to impress and get a spot at near-by PDT after dinner.
Kura is not trying to stay hidden, they want people to know about them, but the place is just really small. Reservations are a must. I first heard about Kura from a friend of mine who is good at finding hidden sushi gems, and her like-minded brother has since made Kura a weekly addiction. Wait- did I mention that the sushi omakase is only $65 per person? That is pretty much an affordable vice in the land of fancy sushi. And we were still not quite stuffed enough so we had an additional toro hand roll for $8 each. Mr Smiley Sushi Chef even let Sister finish rolling her own, with the cruncky crispy nori crackling with every touch. I am not going to say that this sushi is the best ever ever ever, but it is on par with a lot of the highly lauded sushi places in the city for sure. The pickled vegetable amuse and the miso soup were also both executed really well, tasty additions to our sushi courses. The intimacy of the space and the experience left us smiling into the night, but maybe it was just contagious from the love the chef puts into each piece. See below for pikchtassssss…..