I absolutely love sushi so sitting in front of a Michelin Star sushi counter when I’m in New York is a must for me. I didn’t want to blow it all out and go to Masa so I went for the next best thing. This was probably one of my top three sushi omakase experience I’ve ever had, and that’s including the ones I’ve had in Tokyo. Triple decker Toro? Yes please.
Ichimura is one of the two Japanese restaurants with Two Michelin Stars in the great city of New York. It shares many traits with other top tier sushi counters: limited counter seatings, omakase only, serene atmosphere, and like its Tokyo brethrens, minimal exterior signage – all the right ingredients of a proper, cultured sushi establishment. Behind the counter was master sushi chef Eiji Ichimura, Tokyo-trained and with over 30+ years of experience in traditional edo-mae sushi – so none of that California or Spicy Tuna Rolls nonsense here.
I was lucky enough to score one of the two seatings of the night. Each night there are nine counter seatings so a spot at this sushi counter is a rare commodity. Ichimura the restaurant itself is actually a secluded section tucked to the side of the Brushstroke Restaurant, a well received restaurant on its own. The space was noticeably more quiet and spotless with the wood accents giving away that zen and serene feel. Every one of these small little details enhanced my experience and bought me right back to Tokyo.
Ichimura grating wasabi with his shark skin paddle.
Knife Work. Some people spend money and their evenings on shows on Broadway, I prefer watching a master sushi chef at work – getting fed was just a bonus. Seeing him cutting fish with laser guided precision and carefully handling each ingredient like a newborn baby was just inspiring…I just couldn’t take my eyes off.
Black Truffle Chawanmushi. I wasn’t expecting this gem: it was insanely good. It was your traditional chawanmushi but every single bite was heavily infused by that rich truffle taste. Absolutely mind blowing!
Slices of O-Toro ready for Triple Decking! If I’m ever convicted of a crime, it would be me trying to steal this.
O-Toro. “Because three times is better!” explained Ichimura-san. I’ve devoured a countless amount of nigiri, and only two was so good that it made me shudder. One was at the infamous fish market in Tokyo, and then there was this piece of triple decker toro. EVERYONE at the bar, who has been making reserved, quiet conversations up until this point, was making foodgasmic noises when this was served. I was speechless, it simply melted in my mouth with all the essence of the sea. I thought I had the best piece of toro back in Tokyo but I am so happy that I am continuing to be impressed.
Throughout the service, Ichimura-san was soft spoken but friendly. With the zen-like setting, it felt like a formal affair – and it was. Each course was served individually one after another with Ichimura-san carefully explaining each course. My fellow diners were either Asians or Westerners that were either stationed in Japan or spoke some Japanese, so I knew I was in the right place.
The sushi themselves were amazing – every piece was mouthwatering. The fishes – a good variety of red and white in my omakase, were fresh and melted in my mouth as I should expect from a Two Michelin Star sushi counter. Rice was served at the correct temperature with just the right amount of vinegar – I had to snap the pictures quickly just to savor them at the right sweet spot. I was spoiled by Tokyo-grade sushi and this experience happily enabled that. Now, where are those terrible LIARS that says Vancouver has the best sushi?…