Sushi Lin in Soho, NY

So yet another new sushi restaurant opens in downtown New York City! Who knew the market for omakase was so big? It’s beginning to feel a little crowded in Soho, where there are multiple sushi restaurants near Sullivan, Thompson and Houston streets. The newest newcomer is a restaurant called Sushi Lin, which was started by two sushi chefs with the same last name, Lin, hence the name. The two Chef Lins collectively trained in restaurants like 15 East, Gaijin and Blue Ribbon. Sushi Lin uses seafood sourced directly from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, and the omakase focuses on “freshness, flavor and texture”. Indeed, the restaurant has a distinctive style that utilizes a lot of cooked garnishes for their sushi pieces.

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Studio 151 Sushi in East Village

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.

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Omakase Room by Maaser

wagyu beef and truffle (very good)

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.

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Shiki Omakase in Soho

uni with truffle

I always look forward to a sushi omakase, but the meal doesn’t come cheap. A new sushi bar seems to open in New York City at least every quarter, and the prices keep going up. For instance, the latest entrant to the high-end sushi scene is Yoshino, which prices its omakase at $400 per person. So I was super excited and curious when I passed by the signage for Shiki Omakase, a new sushi restaurant in Soho that offers a $65 omakase. It practically seems like a steal in comparison to so many other places. I had to try it, and the fact that it was byob was even more motivation, so off I went for lunch one day.

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Sushi Ikumi in Soho

It’s been awhile since stumbling upon a neighborhood gem has been a mode of restaurant discovery. But now that the city is reopening, physically walking through neighborhood blocks and finding something interesting that is newly opened is more relevant. Case in point is my recent dinner at Sushi Ikumi, a small sushi restaurant that could not be more nondescript. I walked past the simple dark blue awning multiple times, not knowing a restaurant was there, and the absence of visible letter signage didn’t help, until that one day I happened to pay closer attention and saw diners through the window. I made dinner reservations soon after, and had an excellent chef’s tasting omakase. I went to Nakazawa a month earlier, which was also excellent, but Sushi Ikumi’s omakase surpassed that experience.

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