I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but there are a few, precious restaurants you don’t want to share in fear you’ll never get a table again after you do. But I’ll risk it because good sushi spots in New York are hard to find and I’ve discovered a sleeper sushi counter right in midtown. Tsushima isn’t a new restaurant per se, but it’s new to me, though I’m not quite sure how I missed it considering my Japanophile, sushi-obsessed ways.
Tsushima is located on East 47th street just off Lexington, a mini-Japanese restaurant row, populated with several Japanese joints, including a tempura and udon house named Onya, a rice bowl joint called Donburi-ya. Tsushimia’s not much to look at from the street, but step inside and you find yourself in a stylish eatery, outfitted with white leather chairs, an undulating ceiling, and a dark wood sushi bar at the center of it all.
I highly recommend you reserve a seat at the sushi counter, so you can order the omakase. Don’t get me wrong: The a la carte menu is excellent, too. There’s traditional offerings, like cold soba noodles and miso-marinated sea bass, and the not-so-traditional, like fried oysters with anchovy sauce, grilled rice with squid and squid ink, and grilled black pepper chicken wings. And if you want sushi, Tsushima’s got an excellent yellowtail jalapeño sashimi and seared mackerel sashimi.
Still, the sushi bar is the move here. Tsushima prepares edomae-style sushi, code for traditional, none of those overstuffed inside out rolls here. Just crispy seaweed, a little warm, vinegary rice and a fresh, raw nibble of fish. The procession of sushi is different every time, depending on the season and the market, but there’s often seared toro, salmon brushed with a sweet tare sauce, sweet shrimp with lime zest, big eye snapper, uni, and an eel or spicy scallop hand roll to finish. Sometimes, there’s scallop sashimi or cod roe, yellowtail belly or smelt. It’s not blow your mind Sushi Yasuda quality sushi, but then again, neither is Sushi Yasuda since Yasuda Son moved back to Tokyo in December. Besides, Tsushima is much more affordable and laid back.
Address: 141 East 47th Street, nr. Lexington Ave.