UPDATE: This story was originally published on January 9.
So, you recently realized that slurring a Champagne-induced vow at 1 a.m. to embrace green juice and a 5 a.m. gym time was a lot easier said than done. But you still wanna drop (at least some of) the pounds you packed on during the calorie-awesome holidays. To help you get — and stay — healthy, we thought it was the perfect time to shine a spotlight on one of our favorite diet-friendly meals: sushi. It doesn't get much healthier than bite-sized rolls of rice and raw fish wrapped in vitamin-packed seaweed (suck it, kale smoothie).
But in a city where sushi restaurants are as abundant as Starbucks, it's hard to know which one to choose. Are you ready to up your hand-roll game? It's time to say "sayonara" to sucky sashimi and maki with our list of the 17 best sushi-serving spots in town. From high-end restaurants like Morimoto in Chelsea Market to BYOB, under-the-radar joints like Poke, you'll never have to chew on a stale California roll again.
If you’re into monster-size pieces of sushi topped with thick slices of extremely fresh fish (yes, please!), this no-frills Greenwich Village staple is a must-try. While they don’t offer any super-funky sushi options, the traditional menu is packed with delicious, straight-forward choices. We’re obsessed with their Spicy Tekka roll (spicy tuna with a little mayo) suited up in almost-black strips of seaweed.
Tomoe Sushi, 172 Thompson Street (between Bleecker and West Houston Streets); 212-777-9346
For wallet-friendly rolls ($5-$14) that will give you a good chuckle due to their LOL-worthy names (like the Good Time Roll: avocado and asparagus roll topped with salmon and spicy sauce), head to this no-frills haunt on the Upper East Side. In addition to these quirky special rolls, Poke offers traditional sushi and sashimi options. But before you go, make sure you pick up a bottle of booze (it’s BYOB) and hit up the ATM (it’s cash only).
Poke, 343 East 85th Street (between 1st and 2nd avenues); 212-249-0569.
Restaurateur Gabe Stulman’s (Perla, Fedora) latest venture, Chez Sardine, is an inauthentic take on Japanese izakaya (Japanese 101: an izakaya is a casual drinking establishment that also serves food). In addition to entrees like Maki Tempura (shrimp, avocado, and soy mayo) and Miso-Maple Salmon Head, the menu boasts seven, super-funky sushi options. We’re stoked about the Beef Tongue roll with ponzu and jalapeno or the Smoked Arctic Char roll made with spicy rice.
Chez Sardine, 183 West 10th Street (between West 4th Street and Waverly Place); 646-360-3705.
At this high-end contemporary Japanese restaurant tucked away in Chelsea Market, acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto uses fresh fish sourced from markets around the world to create some of the finest sushi in NYC. Dine in the glass-walled, 160-seat dining area, or saddle up to the 24-seat, wooden sushi bar surrounding the exposed kitchen, and watch the master whip up rolls like the soft-shell crab with asparagus, tobiko, avocado, scallion, and spicy sauce. Other options on the seasonal menu include Japanese Lobster Fritters and Duck, Duck, Duck (roasted duck leg, duck sandwich, and duck egg). Have $125/pp to throw down? Then take our ad-rice and order the multi-course omakase (chef’s tasting menu).
Morimoto, 88 10th Avenue (between 15th and 16th streets); 212-989-8883.
Sen has been providing Hamptonites with quality sushi for 18 years at its Sag Harbor digs, and just opened a sexy second location in NYC (finally!). Wash down specialty rolls (Crispy Snapper with spicy miso sauce is our go-to!) with exotic tipples such as the Sen Mojito (sake, coconut rum, fresh lime, and rum) or Seasonal Hot Apple Cider Sake. There’s also a stellar traditional Sake list for the less adventurous (or those looking to double fist).
Sen, 12 West 21st Street (between 5th and 6th avenues); 212- 388–5736
If you can find this subterranean East Village Japanese eatery (hint: descend an iron staircase into a nameless resto that simply says “Open”), you’re in for a real treat: pressed sushi. This rectangular type of sushi is a real rarity in NYC, and boy is it delicious. At Kyo Ya, the rice is flavored with shiso, scallion, sesame seeds, fried kelp, and two kinds of ginger, then topped with melt-in-your-mouth slices of fresh fish. And if you can remember to make a reservation about a month in advance, you might be lucky enough to nab one of chef Chikara Sono’s ten nightly multi-course kaiseki meals ($95-$150), which offers dishes made with hard-to-find ingredients like bamboo shoots.
Kyo Ya, 94 East 7th Street (between Avenue A and 1st Avenue); 212-982-4140.
Photo: Courtesy of Tomoe Sushi
- 1 of 3