As much New Yorkers would like to believe that we’re the epicenter of the food world (and let’s be honest, we largely are), we’ve admittedly borrowed a lot from Los Angeles; from tacos to quinoa bowls to the farm-to-table movement. And this year, we’ve even appropriated a number of restaurants as well, including Eatsa (a quinoa bowl automat!), Cut (from Hollywood’s biggest star, Wolfgang Puck), and Sugarfish; an outpost of California’s beloved sushi spot.
And judging from initial impression, the latter is the most welcome and exciting export of the three, offering supremely high quality fish at an incredibly affordable price. Occupying a two-story space in the Flatiron District, the no-reservations eatery is meant to be a precise replica of the supremely popular franchise; which means expect serious lines for pristine, budget omakases.
The cost may seem in line with dingy all-you-can-eat joints, but the dedication and care (not to mention scrupulous sourcing) mimics that of the city’s most top-of-the-line sushi temples — yet at Masa, you can expect to spend around $400 a head. Not so at Sugarfish, where the “Trust Me Lite” set meal is $23 during lunch and $27 at dinner, the “Trust Me” goes for $33-39, and “The Nozawa” (named after Sugarfish’s chef and founder), commands merely $45-51. Each features organic edamame, tuna sashimi, and a daily assortment of flawless fish selected for simplicity and balance (such as bay scallop, albacore tuna, hirame or shrimp), draped over pinkie-sized lozenges of warm, melting rice, that are made to order and served immediately; along with a strict admonition to eat as is — so keep your mitts away from the wasabi and soy.
New Yorkers may have bragging rights to a great deal in the food world, but when it comes to impeccable, economical sushi, we’re happy to give Cali credit where credit is due.
33 E 20th St.