- scene: Small small place with only a sushi bar
- sip: Sake, wine, beer
- savor: Omakase only; different course sizes available
- sit: With your most adventurous sushi loving friends; someone who is not budget conscious
- spend: $$$$
- address: 91 Clinton Street
- phone number: (917) 734-5857
- website: www.newyorksushiko.com
Disclaimer: For some reason some of my f–king images are all loading upside down, so please just turn your head a little for the full effect…
Riddle me this: What’s smaller than Kura, more expensive than Gari and has a cuter chef than Sushi Dojo? Answer: New York Sushi Ko. I know that we have been on a roll posting about small sushi places downtown that have blown our minds, but New York Sushi Ko takes every element of those places and blows it out to the extreme: It is the farthest downtown, it is the smallest, it is the most expensive, the chef is the most engaging, and the food is the wildest. Go there now-the reservation policy will seem less charming when you can’t get in until November.
So, starting from the beginning: I was looking for a new place to try that would’t disrupt the pre-wedding weight loss, and I stumbled upon New York Sushi Ko- right up my alley. I called for a reservation, was able to get one right when I wanted, and was told that I need to leave a cc number in case I don’t cancel at least 24 hours in advance. The guy on the phone then told me that he feels like a douchebag doing that, but the place is so small that if someone cancels at the last minute, they are screwed. Completely makes sense, and his honesty was endearing. Also, when I forgot what day my reservation was on, I was able to text and got a friendly reply back- no pretention here. My girl friend was over the moon excited to try this joint, and we steeled ourselves to go all in for the unlimited sushi omakase- 200 fish eggs, before booze. I am torn if I will go that nuts the next time I return ( I am embarassed to say how much the final bill was), but we did receive an insane amount of food; there is no menu and only omakase is offered, but there are less expensive options.
The place is small, large sushi bar, light wood, you know it. They asked if they could put my friend’s handbag in the office if it was in the way, or up on the fridge, which was cute (she declined, needed to keep her phone in close range to capture the pyrotechnics that ensued). The waiter was a bearded hipster type, he loosened up as the night when on and was knowledgable about the beers and sakes that we asked about. We followed his recommendations and were not disappointed. Chef John Daley is super cute, a white guy in the vein of Chef David, but with more tattoos and edge, swoon. I can not begin to describe everything we ate, but the techniques and manipulation of the ingredients were completely unique, yet true to the integrity of the flavors and fish. Uni was passed through strainers; tuna fat was seperated and then melted for a rich drizzle over toro; tuna bacon was made; blow torches were used a few times…it was dinner and a show, and it was incredible. If you are not intrigued already, I have three words for you: Tuna Bacon Uni
I need to stop drinking so damn much so I remember every dish, but below is what I remember, aided by the pictures. We got to chat with Chef John a lot about his training, his plans for New York Sushi Ko, and his thoughts on other restaurants. He trained at 15 East before he went to Japan, so he vaguely remembered Sister and I from our past weekly outings there. The restaurant was not that busy at all- besides from our group of two, there was a group of three that didn’t get as many courses (and skyped during their meal ummmm) and a single diner that actually knew my friend; he was on our go hard or go home plan with the food. While I love the attention, I am crossing my fingers that they are busting at the seams in the fall.
So, to start off, we had scallops with an uni sauce and some ponzu foam that was so good that we literally drank the uni sauce; the dishes are custom made by a friend of New York Sushi Ko, and they have places to put your thumbs to tilt the bowl and drink the sauce- I might have licked it but let’s move on. Other dishes included, in no particular order:
Crab chawanmushi- perfect consistency with some root vegetables, great saltiness in the broth
Three kinds of uni- Unipalooza! Santa Barbara, Japanese and Chilean uni…its borderline obscene in all the best ways
Tuna bacon uni- this was a unique take on the BLT, with a fresh piece of tuna wrapped around some greens and uni, with a piece of tuna bacon. Tuna bacon is a completely unique creation and as you can imagine, it doesn’t suck. Chef John had some very innovative ways to use the tuna fat, which brings us to the next dish…
Toro on rice with drizzled tuna fat and a tuna lardon with nori- Now, what can be more indulgent than a huge pile of toro on top of rice? How about that same thing, treated to a bath of warm, melted tuna fat. Chef John separated the tuna fat and then rendered it down to a liquid state, and drizzled the whole fatty mess right on top. He also put on a little tuna lardon, and gave us some nori sheets on the side to roll it up with if we chose.
Check out the pictures below and prepare to have your mind blown and your tastebuds tingling- this is extreme sushi, and New York Sushi Ko is sure to be a part of the conversation on the evolution of the New York sushi scene. Go now and show them some love…