Those of you who know me know that I love a good omakase, especially when it is under $100. While the price points of omakase meals keep creeping north of $300+, I do stumble on new sub $100 places every few months. Omakase Room by Maaser is my latest find, a sushi restaurant in the West Village that was opened by Sushi Seki and Sushi by Bou vets in 2019. The 12 course omakase will run you $95 per person, while 17 courses will run you $135. I would advise you to stick with the $95 option and then order any extra pieces you like a la carte at the end. You can essentially tailor your own 17 course omakase with pieces that you would actually like, which is important, because not everything is created equal here.
Maaser specializes in edomae style sushi, in which the fish is treated beforehand, either with some sort of a cooking or curing element. I feel like edomae is the norm these days, and it’s been pretty rare for me to have eaten just a purely raw piece of fish with a hint of wasabi or soy. Chefs have been getting creative, putting yuzu, jalapenos and caviar on their pieces. In case you are curious, there’s an article in Saveur that talks about the origins of edomae, how it initially began as a necessity to preserve fish and has now evolved to bring out the umami flavors of different fish.
Maaser seemed to get a little too carried away with edomae at times. There were more than a handful of moments where my friend and I ate something and commented on the high salt and vinegar levels. Because of these mishaps, I don’t think I would do the omakase at Maaser again. There are too many others like Sushi by Bou or Shiki that do it better at a comparable price point. I believe the corkage is $25, so perhaps the omakase could be a good and fun way of drinking an expensive bottle. I would come back for that.
A la carte, on the other hand, is a different story. Maaser did have occasional moments of brilliance. The medium toro, for instance, was quite memorable, and surprisingly this was the second course in the omakase. I don’t know if it was the best idea to peak so early on and follow it up with the white fish (madai, salmon, amber jack, etc) that aren’t as crowd-pleasing. My other favorite piece was the fatty toro, a reliable fan favorite, but Maaser doesn’t even include this in the 12 piece omakase. I had to order this separately once the omakase was over. What they did serve in lieu of this was a yaki o toro, in which they had the ballsy nerve to sear the fatty toro. That’s not to say I didn’t like some of the “out there” pieces. The unagi with avocado looked strange but I did like the taste of it. They weren’t all hits, but there were some, so if you go in with that mindset, you’ll have a satisfying omakase at Maaser.
Omakase Room by Maaser
321 Bleecker St (between Grove and Christopher St)
New York, NY 10014