Our sushi chef goes all Jackie Chan on us

I recently found some old photos buried on my phone from a trip to NYC we took three years ago. We took in a Saturday afternoon matinee of Kinky Boots, but the highlight was the most amazing omakase experience that evening at Sushi Yasuda on E 43rd St. We sat at the sushi bar across from our own personal chef for the evening with Yasuda supervising all. Far from stuffy, we were instructed when and when not to dip in shoyu. Since the chef literally paints each piece with the sauce and flavorings appropriate for the dish, in most cases dipping in shoyu would overwhelm the carefully orchestrated flavors that you are paying $$ to enjoy. We also learned that using chopsticks is pretty much restricted to sashimi, while sushi is eaten with the fingers. And if you do dip the sushi, it is done upside down (ie. fish side down, with the rice staying out of the sauce). This limits the amount of shoyu that adheres and prevents the rice from falling apart.

Another humorous, but expensively learned, lesson was about bringing our meal to a close. Everywhere we had had omakase around the world, the chef dictated the beginning and the end of the meal. We had no clue that it was up to us to discuss with our chef when we wanted to wind down, so he kept offering us courses after courses and we kept accepting wondering when the meal would be over. About a half hour after we were into our meal, a Japanese banker had sat down next to us (he had his own chef of course) and a while later we noticed him starting to pull out his wallet to settle up while we were still going strong. Since he spoke English, I asked him why his omakase had been so short compared to ours and he clued us in that it was up to us to tell the chef when we were done! Who knew? We had a big head-palm d’oh moment. When we told our chef, he said he knew we were slowing down, but it was impolite for him to presume to know without us telling him.

Another (but not so pleasant) remembrance from the evening, was our satiated walk back to our hotel afterwards which was located just off Times Square. This required us to walk directly past Grand Central Station. There was nothing more of a come-down than taking in the jolting aromas as we walked past greasy schwarma and steaming peppers-and-sausage carts after one of the most ethereal meals we had ever had. The smells of dirty-water tube sausage late at night quickly erased all thoughts of sushi exotica from our minds.

Click on the photo of our chef to see the few photos we managed to take


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