Studio 151 in the East Village is the sexiest sushi omakase you will ever experience, in the truest sense of the word. When I entered the space, I initially thought I was entering a nightclub. There was a line outside, we had to get vetted by a doorman, and then we walked through a dark set of stairs to enter the room. The room definitely is a vibe–there were posters of naked women on the wall, a DJ was spinning some tunes in the corner, and very young and hip people were having some drinks. The people watching was truly amazing. I was impressed to see a very diverse group of people really committed to wearing a “look” for their night out. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking where are we? Are we early for some sort of afterparty? Where is the sushi?? This is about as far away from the quiet and zen omakase atmosphere that usually marks most sushi restaurants.
So it turns out there is sushi being served over in the far corner. It is a tiny but very efficient sushi bar, cranking out pieces for omakases as well as for patrons at the bar ordering the hand rolls. We were there for an omakase–at 9:30 pm of all times–and I would say maybe the bar could accommodate 4-6 people at a time. The 12-piece omakase is $80 a person, which is a pretty good deal in a city where omakase can reach sky-high prices of $200+. I don’t remember what the sushi chef’s name was, but he seemed like a playful guy who knew that the night clubby location of the sushi restaurant was unconventional, but who cares because he was making “mad money.”
I would say four pieces were truly outstanding, while the rest were solid and on par with fish being served at a respectable sushi restaurant. The golden eye snapper, the scallop, the medium fatty toro and the bbq unagi were outstanding. There are some more modern seasoning fads on display here, like putting tuna in a spicy soy sauce, and pairing fatty toro and caviar together, but most of the fish were more simple in presentation. Overall it’s a satisfying meal, and the vibe really can’t be beat. The pictures above show the whole omakase in progression, the only one missing is the bbq unagi, which was the last piece, and also one of the best.
151 Loisaida Ave (between 9th and 10th St)
New York, NY 10009
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