Japanese food is an art form, not only for the tongue, but for the eyes. It is about beauty, balance, and harmony before the diner takes even one bite.
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than the sushi counter of Chef Shimizu at 15 East.
This small, almost hidden restaurant in Union Square has some New York City’s most excellent sushi, with unique cooked specials and pristine fish.
The restaurant is done in clean lines and light tones, with a small sushi bar in an anteroom outside the calm dining room. Note that if you make a reservation online, you won’t eat at the sushi bar—you must call in person to make a reservation here.
The foie gras and truffle chawanmushi is a steamed egg custard that arrives piping hot with an earthy scent from the black truffles. The first taste is that umami hit of the foie gras reduction swimming on top, then the rich creaminess of the egg custard. Hidden in the custard are meaty mushrooms and slightly spicy radish.
Soba with Santa Barbara uni comes with perfectly cleaned tongues of uni which dissolve in the mouth, tasting so fresh and almost sweet. They’re draped over al dente noodles, with an earthy taste that is pleasantly reminiscent of hay. With its deep, soy-flavored broth, this is a complex and satisfying dish.
But for just $28, you can have the omakase platter, a selection of seven pieces of nigiri, plus half of a roll, all of which are the chef’s personal selection. If you particularly like or don’t like something, feel free to mention it, and your request will be met with pleasure from the waitstaff.
Everything from hamachi to king salmon to seared goldeneye snapper is seasoned specifically and served so that each fish complements the other. Some are clean and snappy, some are velvety and rich, some are lightly seared and smoky and others are touched with a bit of ponzu to impart a lightly acidic taste. The negitoro roll is fantastic–fatty, lush, sharp with scallions.
15 East is the place to spend some serious money in a lovely setting with a passionate waitstaff who loves to discuss the difference between toro and maguro with you.
A meal here is art appreciation at its finest.
15 E. 15th St.
New York, NY 10003