Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Restaurant Review: Kosaka (NYC)

Over the New Year's Day weekend, one of our out-of-state friends came to stay with us and visit NYC. For his last night, we met for dinner at Kosaka (YelpWebsite) in NYC. This Japanese sushi restaurant opened in mid-December, and Cory and I were both excited to try their omakase dinner. Priced at $145 per person for 15-18 nigiri pieces, this is not the most expensive omakase you can get in NYC by a long-shot, but I would group it as mid-to-high-end for omakase.

Spoiler alert: it was awesome, and possibly the best omakase we've had to date. For context, we have had omakase at Ichimura at Brushstroke, 15 East, Cagen, and Kura in the city.

Here are my pictures from our meal, with my notes (but I may have jotted a few down wrong). Let's be honest, ya'll are just going to scroll down without reading anyway. And that's OK. More thoughts after the picspam.


A demure exterior


Signage to confirm you are at the right place


Our appetizer was blue crab with asparagus, tomatoes, and onions. Very light and refreshing.


#1 - Yellowtail


#2 - Striped jack


#3 - Tasmanian smoked salmon: this one was very tasty, and I don't usually care for smoked salmon.


#4 - Japanese snapper with yuzu paste: I really liked the yuzu paste (my first time having it). It's got a bit of a kick to it.


#5 - Red snapper with umeboshi and shiso: I love shiso, so naturally I enjoyed this piece.


#6 - Needlefish


#7 - Spotted sardine


#8 - Wild bluefin tuna (akami) from Greece: I always feel a little guilty about eating bluefin tuna :(


#9 - Chutoro: It was unclear to me if this cut was also from Greece, but it was yummy.


#10 - Hokkaido uni: I generally prefer Santa Barbara uni, but this was the nicest Hokkaido uni I've ever had, and I may become a convert if this is the kind I get from now on. Super smooth and creamy, not too briney at all. Excellent.


#11 - Ikura: Similarly, I usually don't like ikura because it can be too salty. However, these ones were just pure, salmony flavour, without the salt overload. Incredible. Best one I've had!


#12 - Giant clam


#13 - Otoro: Fall apart otoro. Again, with the guilt, but it washes away quickly.


Chef Yoshi preparing our next piece. Every time we saw him working on 3 pieces at a time, we got super excited, since everyone else was their in pairs.


#14 - Japanese barracuda


Nearing the end - we received our temaki! I didn't pay attention to what was in it, but it was very yummy (something I don't usually say about handrolls).


#15 - Tamago: when you know omakase is ending :( Very enjoyable tamago.


#16 - Anago: generally my favourite type of sushi, this anago was served after the tamago. It was pretty amazing. Super tender, fall apart, melt-on-your-tongue. Love love love.


Miso soup to round off the night. I didn't need this, but I drank it anyway.


Dessert. We each received a different mochi (we think they were from Rin NYC). Mine was chestnut, Cory's was strawberry, and our friend's was a yuzu flavour.


Overall Thoughts: 

Chef Yoshihiko prepared our omakase, and I enjoyed all 16 nigiri pieces plus appetizer, hand roll, miso soup, and mochi immensely. My stand-out favourites were the Hokkaido uni, ikura, and the anago. I was stuffed by the end of the night, but wished I had more appetite to eat another round of those three!

In terms of service, we had no issues. Pieces were ready 5-8 minutes apart (judging by the time stamp differences of my photos), and the whole meal took just a bit over 2 hours.

The atmosphere is nice, but not overly formal (for example, I felt very self conscious at Ichimura taking pictures, but not here).

Staff is very polite and friendly. I think they are told to obsessively check for wet spots at the counter or moisture on your serving plate, because they are always camping you and wiping/blotting any wetness away (which is a *little* intrusive, IMO, but I understand that some customers might like that level of attention).

For drinks, we shared the 300mL of Warm Sake (Carafe Kikusui “Chrystanthemum Mist”, Junmai, Niigata). As a person who rarely imbibes alcoholic beverages, I found this sake surprisingly easy to drink.

I absolutely loved our meal here, and I look forward to coming back. I am currently brainstorming excuses to make a reservation. Feel free to help.



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