When you are denied something delicious for nine months, it only makes sense that this deprivation will make you obsess about the forbidden food for days on end. My obsession in this case was sushi. It didn’t matter if it was a cheap supermarket tuna roll or a high end omakase, I always wanted it, and it pained me to have to turn it away. So of course, once my pregnancy was over, my goal was to reserve an excellent sushi meal asap. I wanted something extravagant at a relatively reasonable price, which is why I chose the lunch omakase at Sushi Ginza Onodera, a 2 Michelin star restaurant in Bryant Park. While the evening omakase will set you back $400, the lunch omakase is a relative bargain at just $150 a person.
The mood at Sushi Ginza Onodera is a more relaxed one than at other sushi restaurants. To be frank, as an introvert, sometimes I get stressed out by an omakase restaurant, because I feel like there is either pressure to make small talk with the chef or to match his (or her) energy level. And then there are those strict places out there that dictate how you should eat and behave at their establishment. The chefs at Sushi Ginza Onodera are friendly and pass no judgment on how you consume the fish. They are also more than happy for you to ask questions about where the fish came from and even come armed with helpful photos. And if you don’t feel like talking, they leave you alone.
One of the more distinctive aspects of the sushi at Ginza Onodera is the appearance and quality of the rice. The rice is seasoned with a brown rice vinegar and is warm to the touch. It almost looks like it’s already been seasoned with soy sauce beforehand because of the color, but of course that’s not the case. The seasoning of the fish is also more minimalist, relying on soy sauce, salt and lime rather than jalapeno, yuzu or some other sauce more over the top. The standout pieces in my opinion were the yellowtail, skip jack, sea perch and sea urchin. The meal was a welcome re-entry to my nine months of a raw fish moratorium, and the fact that I could break the fast without totally breaking the bank made it even better.
Sushi Ginza Onodera
461 Fifth Ave (between 5th and Madison Ave)
New York, NY 10017