11 Omakases That Won’t Cost an Arm and a Leg
Omakase, a Japanese meal tradition translating to “I’ll leave it up to you,” has become increasingly ubiquitous in the past few years, due (at least in part) to the gorgeous documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. This sort of meal entrusts the diner’s experience to the sushi chef, who prepares a prix fixe series of dishes that showcase their skills and creativity.
Such a meal can easily cost a few hundred bucks per person, and while many of NYC’s higher-end temples of sushi are absolutely worth the splurge, it’s not exactly justifiable as an everyday expense. Here, we’ve rounded up 11 places in the city where you can get your fresh-fish fix while still saving up for a trip to Japan—and all of them cost $100 or less.
At this East Village spot, you’ll never find bluefin tuna on the menu—and that’s a good thing. The entire menu is dedicated to sustainability and environmental responsibility, which is in no way limiting under the expertise of chef Jeff Miller, whose creativity shines in myriad dishes like miso-cured Nova Scotian sable, Montauk scallops and Alaskan sockeye salmon. The 13- to 16-course omakase at the eight-seat sushi counter will run you $95. Considering the satisfaction both your stomach and your conscience will feel, it’s a steal.
620 E. Sixth St.; mayanoki.com
This longtime Park Slope staple opened a second location in the West Village early last year. Both of its spaces are modest and clean, with offerings at both outposts including a mix of reliable and surprising choices, like trout, sea bream, uni, barracuda and firefly squid. Prices are slightly more affordable in Brooklyn, where the sushi omakase is $52, and the sashimi and sushi omakase is $72 (compared with Manhattan’s $60 for sushi and $87 for the combo). Either way, you’ll leave stuffed and happy.
Multiple locations; sushikatsuei.com
Chef and owner Don Pham sharpened his knives at several of the city’s premier sushi restaurants (O Ya, Morimoto, Geisha) before opening his own place just over a year ago on the Upper East Side. Here, he offers two original omakase menus, one of which is $85 for 12 courses. Offerings will change seasonally and according to Pham’s creativity, but attention to detail is always key, as is the case in the warm, wood-filled space with custom design touches aplenty.
419 E. 74th St.; ishikawanyc.com
At Tanoshi Sushi, also on the Upper East Side, chef Toshio prepares dishes with a classical approach, emphasizing simply prepared high-quality fish and other ingredients. Prices range from $95 to $99 depending on what’s on offer, but the omakase menu consistently includes akadashi miso soup, crispy fluke, ten pieces of chef-selected sushi, one half roll and one hand roll.
1372 York Ave.; tanoshisushi.com
A neighborhood stalwart that’s been operating since 1984, Hasaki serves both “traditional” and “special” omakase dinners. The traditional option includes nine pieces of sushi and one roll for $60, while the special includes 12 pieces and one roll for $80. The deal is even better at lunchtime, when three different omakase offerings are all less than $50.
210 E. Ninth St.; hasakinyc.com
It’s been a couple years since Sushi Dojo reopened in the East Village with a new chef after a glove-related DOH issue, but it’s been well received since. If you can handle the club-friendly musical accompaniment, you’re in for a real treat where a meal has the potential to include simpler options amid, shall we say, more experimental choices. (Gold leaf, anyone?) Sushi Dojo offers seating at both the sushi counter and surrounding tables, but two omakase offerings are only available at the bar, including the $90 chef’s choice of 15 pieces of sushi and a hand roll (there’s also sushi and sashimi for $120). If you sit at a table instead of the counter, you can dine a la carte or choose the prix fixe offering of 12 pieces of chef’s choice sushi for $65.
110 First Ave.; sushidojonyc.restaurant
Located in Crown Heights, Uotora’s physical space is as bare bones as its website. But that doesn’t prevent chefs Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Atsuomi Hotta from churning out crowd-pleasers at their still-new restaurant, serving a ten-course omakase for $70.
1075 Bergen St., Brooklyn; uotorany.com
Sushi chef Take Jung’s offerings at the Bari are informed by nearly 20 years of experience. His standard omakase offers ten pieces of sushi, miso soup and a hand roll for $65 at one of the restaurant’s tables, or you can opt for one appetizer, 12 pieces of nigiri, miso soup and a hand roll for $79 at one of the six counter seats. Menu items at this Noho spot are inspired by Japanese and Korean flavors.
417 Lafayette St.; thebarinyc.com
Sushi by Bou
Former Sushi Dojo and Sushi on Jones chef David Bouhadana now runs three spots of his own that all feature the same quick-service omakase concept: $50 for 12 pieces that must be consumed within 30 minutes. As long as you arrive on time (before your reservation is given away), we promise you won’t feel rushed eating signature dishes like his “tres amigos” bite of ikura, uni and a quail egg.
Multiple locations; sushibybou.com
Sushi by Bae
Think of Sushi by Bae as omakase inception, a separate offering within Sushi by Bou’s location at the Jue Lan Club. This one clocks in at exactly $100, but it’s too good not to include: Oona Tempest, an artist and a rare female sushi chef in a notably male-dominated field, first became interested in sushi while she was an art student and serving at Tanoshi on the side. Now she uses both her sushi training and her eye for aesthetics to create a 90-minute meal of 15 to 18 courses of edomae-style sushi.
49 W. 20th St.; sushibybae.com
Sushi on Jones
When the original Noho sushi counter—part of an outdoor food court—opened two years ago with its 30-minute tasting sessions, the concept seemed odd to many New Yorkers. But it’sactually modeled after Japan’s quick-service subway kiosks. Now there’s a second (indoor) outpost in the West Village, and both locations serve a $58 twelve-course menu that includes items like arctic char and Wagyu beef. (Unlike those subway kiosks, however, reservations are accepted.)
Multiple locations; sushionjones.com