A foodie friend once told me the sushi in New York are better than those found in Japan in terms of quality. I still find it hard for the statement to be fully justified, but no doubt there are Japanese chefs who choose to showcase their polished skills in the city.
15 East is a brief walk from the Union Square – just two streets down from the Union Square Greenmarket – one of the world’s top farmers’ market. Chef Masato Shimizu leads the multi-culturered culinary team at 15 East.
Chef Masato served me at the sushi bar – he’s an engaging and observant chef – something his diners love him for. He explains the concept behind each dish in his fluent English, the preparation process and choice of ingredients, and in the process educating his diners on the world of sushi.
Masato honed his skills as a sushi chef from Sukeroku（助六） in Kameido, Tokyo.
Interaction at the sushi bar is a fun experience – diners laugh out loud, jokes with the chef – very New York-like. You’d be hard pressed to find this kind of carefree and amiable atmosphere in a high-end sushi place in Japan, where diners quietly savour each piece crafted sushi with sincerity and appreciation.
15 East is packed with loyal returning customers, book early. Must-eats includes the gelatinous Madako massaged octopus, umami packed uni (sea urchin) sushi and the melting unagi (eel) sushi.
Though I wouldn’t say it’s the best tasting sushi I’ve ever had, but as a whole, the dining experience is definitely enjoyable. With Chef Masato, you get to enjoy sushi in a different way.
Address: 15 East, 15th St, New York
Tel: +1 212 647-0015
Visited on: 19 March, 2012
Price: Tasting Menu: US$120
Things to order: Octopus, Eel Sushi, Uni Sushi
Hours: Lunch – 12:00-1:45, Dinner – 6:00-10:30 (Monday to Saturday); Sunday Closed