15 East, 15 East 15th St., New York, NY, 212.647.0015
Ambiance: Minimalist and effortlessly authentic, this diminutive winner is manned by Masato Shimizu, an alum of Jewel Bako. Its stripped down presentations won over GQ critic Alan Richman, who called it one of New York’s top 10 restaurants.
What To Order: The “tuna flight” featuring five different cuts of the fish.
Who Comes Here: This is a neighborhood joint whose prime Union Square location is also convenient to sushi purists from all across the city.
Sweet Tooth: Rice Pudding Tempura A La Mode.
Kanoyama, 175 Second Ave., New York, NY 10003, 212.777.5266
Ambiance: A breath of fresh-aired calm in the crowded, often raffish, East Village sushi stampede. It’s small, but not claustrophobic.
What To Order: Futomaki (omelet, shrimp, kanpyo, tobiko, cucumber, gobo, crab stick, sea eel, asparagus, oshinko).
Who Comes Here: Tokyo expats. And artsy downtown types looking for a change from the glitz of Bondst
Sweet Tooth: Generous helpings of ice cream. Opt for the ginger flavor.
Masa, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, 212.823.9800
Ambiance: The towering tabs (starting at $500) at Masayoshi Takayama’s 26-seat sushi shrine on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center get as much press as the sushi. But connoisseurs are happy to pay through the nose for his meticulous sashimi, preferably prepared within diners’ views at the bar.
What To Order: Risotto folded with uni and truffles, saltwater eel.
Who Comes Here: Masters of the universe, Russian debutantes who flood the Time Warner Center’s poshest pads
Sweet Tooth: Grapefruit Granite, a tart concoction topped by yuzu zest.
Sasabune, 401 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021
Ambiance: The bamboo that makes up the sushi bar is about the only frill at Kenji Takahashi unassuming and no-fuss ode to luxury Tokyo fish shacks.
What To Order: Fluke with lime and wasabi, blue crab roll.
Who Comes Here: UES Japanophiles seeking a respite from the mayonnaise-loving greasy chopstick joints that clog the neighborhood.
Sweet Tooth: Green Tea Ice Cream