New York City is a sushi wonderland, from your high-end restaurants with famous chefs named Nobu, Yasuda, or Gari to the takeout boxes at your local Essen, Cafe Hestia, or corner market. The chef’s choice for a multi-course meal, omakase, typically falls into the fancy territory of the former and can run you hundreds of dollars. Omakase, which translates literally to “I’ll leave it up to you,” typically implies you are getting the best selection of dishes at a Japanese restaurant, but it can be costly and unpredictable.
Fear not New Yorkers, you can get a more affordable omakase at Sushi on Jones, a four-seat outdoor sushi bar that has a distinct cabana feel for a unique and tasty sushi experience. This venture of David Bouhadana is located in the Bowery Market, a series of semi-permanent mini-houses, each with different food purveyor.
Here’s how it works: The omakase here is $50, not cheap and maybe a stretch to say a steal, but definitely is a good deal for the quality of what you get considering how much more you’d probably be paying for the same meal if you weren’t sitting outside in a pseudo-cabana. You must text, not call, them at the number on their website if you want a reservation (recommended).
A list of ingredients featured in the omakase hangs on the sides of the cabana. You have half an hour to eat. A kitchen timer ticks away next to you with a friendly sign says, “Less Talk More Eat Mucho Arigato” hanging above the sushi bar. They time the meal surprisingly well so you get over a dozen pieces of sushi yet you don’t feel rushed in the process and get to enjoy every bite.
The two most inventive items are the Wagyu beef selections, both torched to a nice sear, one minimalist with sea salt, and one with uni, sea urchin, perched on top of it. Both are prepared to perfection. The shrimp, usually what I consider the least wow item in a sushi set, tastes sweet and complex in a way I’ve never eaten.
Pro-tip: Get yourself a can of UCC cold green tea to complement your meal, and go easy on the soy sauce, there’s plenty of flavor in the great fish selection. Other great food stalls have also set up at the Bowery Market, including Butcher’s Daughter, Champion Coffee, Pulqueria, and Alidoro. Japanese Premium Beef across the street, while pricey, probably is one of the best butchers in the city, especially if you’re looking for Asian cuts of meat. All are worth visiting for specialty foods in a laidback atmosphere.