There isn’t much of a middle ground when it comes to sushi. Options tend towards the suspiciously low end (i.e., $20 all-you-can-eat buffets) and prohibitively high — think $100-500 a head omakases.
And with its long-standing, two-star Michelin designation, it’s easy to guess where Ichimura at Brushstroke was graded. Located in David Bouley’s multi-use Hudson Street space, it already ranked as one of the most expensive sushi spots in NYC, commanding $195 for an 18-piece progression of nigiri, sashimi and chawanmushi.
As it turns out, that was a steal. After setting out on his own this past fall, chef Eiji Ichimura raised the stakes still further with his just-opened Tribeca eatery. As spare as expected, the wood-paneled room is adorned with little more than a brown quartz counter, lined with 10 seats (as opposed to Brushstroke‘s 12), and offering only two services per night. Yet at an elite $300 per person (landing Ichimura just behind Kuruma, Onodera, and the wallet-busting Masa), he hardly needs to pack patrons in; especially if they inevitably tack on supplements for tea, sake and wine.
Not that there’s no added benefit to customers to go with the elevated pricing — Ichimura will serve everyone himself (not necessarily a given at even the most hallowed of sushi temples), and his omakases will last longer, featuring fish imported from Tokyo’s Tsujiki market. Welcoming bites include akimo (monkfish liver), crisped herring roe, and pots of miso soup, followed by a house-aged sashimi assortment of toro, abalone, fluke, shrimp and clam. Then there’s the parade of nigiri — unique selections may include double-stacked planks of chutoro (medium fatty tuna), kohada (gizzard shad), needlefish, and rarely seen Hokkaido amaebi — achingly sweet Japanese prawns. There are even a few cooked options, such as potato with yuzu and miso and grilled, marinated tilefish, served with translucent curls of cod shirako (take a deep breath — it’s sperm sack).
But after forking over $300, it would be unthinkable not to clean your plate.
69 Leonard St.