Rice, nori, and New York City spirit—think unusual ingredients and drink pairings. You can combine both for an innovative experience at the best sushi restaurants in New York. At these nine destinations, chopsticks and an open mind are required.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi star Chef Daisuke Nakazawa is behind this critic’s darling located in New York City and Washington D.C. The 20-course Edomae-style omakase at Sushi Nakazawa is one of the best in the city, thanks to daily changing domestic and international ingredients such as Japanese and California sea urchin, fatty tuna, and Dungeness crab.
Sushi Yasuda has been a staple of New York City’s sushi scene since opening in 1999. With a mix of different types of Japanese rice, two Japanese rice vinegars, and fresh fish from the Big Apple’s own backyard, the sushi here only appears straightforward. Yasuda’s traditional sushi and sashimi offerings have been hailed by multiple outlets, including Travel + Leisure, as some of the best sushi in America.
Hatsuhana Sushi Restaurant serves “Tokyo-style authenticity in Midtown.” Since opening in 1976, Hatsuhana has prided itself on its freshly ground wasabi, fish from around the globe, and centuries-old traditional methods brought over from Japan. Guests can experience all three when they order sushi like the simmered squash and salmon skin rolls, à la carte marbled fatty Bluefin and giant clam sashimi, and Hatsuhana’s signature Box of Dreams.
Shuko is not your average sushi restaurant. The omakase-only menu, created by Masa Columbus Circle alums Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, features up to 27 courses, some of which include as many as 18 sushi pieces. Shuko’s sushi kaiseki experience, which comes with the option of adding wine, sake, and spirit pairings, costs $195.
The food world’s “plant-based sushi movement” began at Beyond Sushi. At this vegan eatery, chefs treat local and seasonal produce with the same reverence that a sushi master has for fish. At its five Manhattan locations, Beyond Sushi offers rolls with mango, pickled jalapeño, black bean purée, and other unconventional ingredients. Tip: Don’t skimp on dipping sauces, such as the toasted cayenne and shiitake truffle.
At “The Original Hand Roll Bar,” freshly made hand rolls outshine the standard sets sushi-eaters may be used to. The signature snack at L.A.-import KazuNori presents familiar ingredients, including rice and nori, in a form nearly as fresh as its blue crab, lobster, and scallop stuffings. At $5.25 to $11, diners can afford to enjoy as many hand rolls as they can carry.
At the 21-year-old Sushi of Gari, every bite is perfection. The Upper East Side mainstay (today, Gari boasts six concepts across New York, Tokyo, and Los Angeles) pre-dresses each sushi piece with the perfect amount of sauce and toppings, including escargot herb butter, prosciutto, and white truffle oil.
Serious foodies will recognize this restaurant’s name from shows like Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, through which Masaharu Morimoto became a household name. At Morimoto, plates of deep-fried soft shell crab rolls and freshwater eel and Golden Big Eye Snapper sashimi captivate diners more than any screen could.
Take one look at the menu, and it’s easy to see why Sushi Seki has garnered a devoted following of New York City chefs, including Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud. An extensive wine list and late closing time make it a popular go-to, but it’s the masterful sushi and sashimi, such as Snow Crab California rolls and raw mirugai, that has earned this mini-chain its cult status among cooks.