What are you willing to do for cheap sushi? That’s a relative term, so to be clear, I’m not talking about sushi you get from a market or an average take-out place, I’m talking about freshly caught, high quality fish comparable to that served in a good restaurant. Would you be willing to give up good service, as long as the food comes out in a timely manner? Never mind the high strung host whose nerves seem to be getting the best of him from the moment you arrive and who keeps reminding you that you were 5 minutes late and were ruining their overwhelming operations of serving 4 other people. Or the fact that the same host with the stanky attitude who never offered you water and wanted you to leave as quickly as possible tried to upsell you on a $12 hand roll that you could take to go? What about your physical comfort? Are you okay with sitting outdoors on a small stool? It’s only 30 minutes, so not a big deal, right? This is how they do it at the Tokyo train station and the Tsukiji fish market! And speaking of 30 minutes, is this brevity something you can live with? It might even be quicker than that, maybe 25 minutes, I Dream of Jiro style, even though this is no Jiro, but as long as the sushi is tasty, it’s all good, right? You only paid $50 (only?) for such 12 premium pieces, what a steal!
This basically captures the omakase experience at Sushi on Jones, the outdoor sushi bar in The Bowery Market that’s run by the former head chef of Sushi Dojo, David Bouhadana. It’s very much a Millennial business mindset that democratizes products and experiences by cutting out the middleman or extra costs so that high quality goods can be had by all. I think in theory this sounds like a great thing, but in execution, I realize how much things like service and comfort matter to me. I do have to say that the sushi was surprisingly good, and I would have loved to reorder some of the standout pieces like the scallop, unagi and bonito, but at an entirely different restaurant. And it is possible to get affordable high grade sushi, plus indoor seating and better service, at other places, like Domo Domo’s $52 sushi course, which comes with an appetizer, 12 pieces, a hand roll and free water. Or maybe you should go back to Bouhadana’s old employer Sushi Dojo and get 10 pieces for $45 inside. Or get the lunch special at Michelin-caliber places like Yasuda or Kurumazushi. So many different options, now that I think about it. I’m all for high quality, good value omakase, but you can make that $50 go much further elsewhere.
Sushi on Jones
348 Bowery (between 3rd and 4th St)
New York, NY 10012
Text 917-270-1815 for reservations