Not a lot of sushi lovers know this, but the fact is that we have Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, to thank for sushi's arrival in New York City. Back in the eighties, the Korean-born Moon was not only the leader of the "Moonies," he was also quite the business visionary. He instructed his Japanese followers, including Takeshi Yashiro, to go into the fishing business, and thus was born True World Foods, which supplies fresh food to thousands of restaurants in the United States.
Today, sushi has conquered New York, from bodegas to Michelin-starred restaurants. Choosing the very best is no easy feat, but we've selected 21 top sushi spots in the city. Considering flavor, service, and value, this is your ultimate guide to eating sushi in New York.
Inspired by Japan's listening bars, this hip spot in Alphabet City is a vinyl bar-meets-sushi joint, impeccably blending two of life's greatest pleasures. The mood is set by low lighting and funky decor and complemented by the house's record selection. You can choose from the 12-piece omakase — the chef's daily selection — or an á la carte menu featuring sushi made with ingredients like fresh hamachi, fatty tuna, and caviar, as well as temaki in versions like salmon ikura or spicy scallops. Whatever your choice, make sure to book your table in advance. Open til 2:00 a.m. from Sunday to Tuesday, and til 4:00 a.m. the rest of the week, this spot saves you the hassle of finding an after-dinner bar. As the night progresses, sip on a selection of sake, whiskey, or craft cocktails.
With one location in the West Village and another in Park Slope, Sushi Katsuei has captured diners' hearts and stomachs with its extensive sushi concept. Both spots boast sleek dining rooms and a varied menu that invites you to explore Japan's flavors as an omakase or à la carte. Should you choose to trust the chef and go for the omakase, you'll find several options, including a Kosher version, a Sushi omakase — nine pieces and one hand roll — and a Sashimi and Sushi omakase. If you prefer to go à la carte, you'll find dishes like tofu and seaweed miso soup, pork gyoza, and kama yaki (broiled fish collars). When it's time for sushi, you won't be lacking options. Sample fresh salmon, fluke, mackerel, and king crab, plus rolls like eel, spicy tuna, and fried oysters. An extensive sake selection will provide the perfect pairing.
The story of Shuko takes us back to 2005 when chefs Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau met at the Michelin-starred Masa. A few years later, the chefs teamed up to create Shuko, an omakase-only spot near Union Square. Exposed brick walls and industrial lighting give the space a cool, modern air.
The $270-dollar omakase menu changes seasonally and can include a caviar course and sashimi to make way for the chef's current selection. To elevate the parade to even higher levels, you can order additional options, like a spicy trout hand roll or a charcoal-seared tuna belly. For $150, you can include beverage pairings in your experience or choose from the impressive wine and spirits list, featuring European and American wines, Japanese whiskey, sake, and cocktails like the Yuzu Shiso Sour (Nikka Coffey gin, shiso, and yuzu cordial).
Tradition reigns at Sasabune, a Lennon Hill sushi jewel since 2006. The restaurant is a Los Angeles import and follows the three commandments established by its founder, the late chef Nobi Kusuhara: "No California roll," "No spicy tuna roll," and, most importantly, "Trust me." An L.A. alum, chef Kenji Takahashi is at the helm of the New York location, honoring Kusuhara's legacy with an excellent omakase experience built around fresh fish, traditional warm rice, and homemade sauces and vinegar.
Trusting the chef means having three omakase options: Nigiri (with miso soup and 10 pieces of sushi); Tryout (with soup, one hand roll, and 12 pieces of sushi); and Trust Me (with two sashimi platters, 12 pieces of sushi, and soup). You can also try à la carte creations like eel sushi, salmon skin hand roll, and octopus sashimi.
A veritable East Village icon, Hasaki is about to celebrate its 40th birthday — no easy feat for a New York restaurant. Yet its commitment to authenticity has earned it a solid spot in the city's sushi scene, with fantastic sashimi and Edomae-style sushi. Whether inside its dining room or in its outdoor zen garden, Hasaki promises an experience of authenticity and variety.
Take your time as you explore the menu, starting with appetizers like mixed seaweed salad, kanisu (snow crab meat with vinegar), and beef teriyaki. The main event, of course, is the omakase, available in several versions. Choose between a Sushi & Sashimi combo, a Sushi Omakase (with nine or 12 pieces of sushi), or a Chirashi Omakase (the chef's selection of sashimi on a bed of rice). There are plenty of à la carte options to choose from, including yellowtail, clam, and eel, all available as sushi or sashimi.
Serious sushi lovers cannot miss a pilgrimage to Sushi Yasuda. Founded by Shige Akimoto, Naomichi Yasuda (now retired), and Scott Rosenberg in 1999, this iconic Midtown spot seeks to serve sushi in its purest form. It all starts with the rice, a mix of Japanese short and medium-grain rice cooked in perfectly-calculated amounts and temperatures. Next comes the fish, brought from Japan and other international waters. The result is a unique omakase experience, best enjoyed at the counter, where you'll come face-to-face with the chef crafting your dinner with flawless technique and deep respect for tradition.
Carefully assembled dishes featuring ingredients like uni and fatty tuna are to be slowly appreciated, and the calm space, with soft hues and simple decor, echoes the search for purity. Yasuda's consistently excellent food and service have earned it a Michelin star.
2002 was the year that saw this Upper East Side legend emerge when chef Seki Shi opened the doors to Sushi Seki. More than two decades later, he continues to impress diners with his classic sushi, made with high-quality ingredients and personalized to each guest's taste. There are three ways to enjoy the omakase at Sushi Seki: Sushi, Sashimi, or Sushi Kaiseki, a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner built with seasonal ingredients and the utmost care.
Going à la carte is an excellent option, too, as the menu features a wide variety of appetizers, including yakitori, steamed shrimp dumplings, and entrees like yuzu miso cod and chicken teriyaki, as well as noodles, sushi, and sashimi. The comprehensive sake and wine list was designed to offer the ideal pairings for each meal. Today, Sushi Seki boasts two additional locations — Chelsea and Times Square — and plenty of praise.
Named after the Japanese prefecture where chef Tadashi Yoshida's father was born, this restaurant carries a long sushi-making tradition. Yoshida began his sushi apprenticeship in Tokyo when he was 18 and later inherited his father's restaurant in Seki. After moving the restaurant to Nagoya, he opened the New York location, bringing his flawless style to the Bowery.
Each night, only 20 diners are welcomed, divided into two seatings. The space boasts artisanal details like hinoki wood from the Nagano prefecture, handmade chairs, and doors made in the Kumiko tradition, an intricate woodworking technique that bypasses nails or hardware and relies only on the interlocking of each piece.
The intimate hinoki counter is the stage for this omakase spectacle, featuring ingredients such as Hokkaido hairy crab, cured salmon roe, and caviar. The nigiri is the stuff of legend, including a series of tuna pieces, stunning dish preparation, and presentation, all worthy of a Michelin star and four stars from The New York Times.
Tribeca is home to this revered sushi spot, led by Executive Chef Shion Uino. Born in Amakusa and trained in Tokyo, Uino's impressive talent for handling seafood, most of which comes from Japan, is on full display at the restaurant's 12-seat sushi counter. Every evening, Uino welcomes guests during two seatings and serves an omakase that includes delicate sashimi, appetizers like poached octopus, and crab salad served in its shell.
Sushi at the Michelin-starred Shion 69 is Edomae-style. Born a couple of centuries ago as Tokyo's first "fast food," Edomae style essentially means using Japanese ingredients and curing or cooking the fish to preserve it. Perfect pieces of nigiri are made with soft rice, topped with impossible fresh ingredients such as reef squid and otoro (fatty tuna), and sparsely dressed, allowing the main ingredient to shine. Meals end with Uino's signature tamago, a perfect, creamy egg rectangle that brings the omakase to its sweet conclusion.
Chef Koji Kagawa's love for hip hop brought him to New York, where he opened this low-key spot. Raised in the seafood-rich Kagawa Prefecture, he worked in Peru, London, and Dubai before landing in the Lower East Side. Here, he serves beloved classics like uni nigiri, scallop sashimi, and crab meat rolls. You can also feast on hand rolls featuring snapper, eel, and ikura, with optional add-ons like cucumber and avocado. Creations that deviate from tradition include salmon ceviche and tuna pizza with avocado and ají amarillo. There are also two budget-friendly omakase options: the Sakana, with seven pieces of sushi and one hand roll for $50, or the Mizu, with nine pieces of sushi and one hand roll for $70. A selection of wine and sake is available for pairing.
With homes in the West Village, Williamsburg, and Montclair, this casual joint focuses on temaki rolls, including vegan options. Created by partners Taka Sakaeda, Jihan Lee, and Lisa Limb, Nami Nori serves top-quality ingredients yet maintains a relaxed, friendly vibe, equally enjoyable inside the sleek dining rooms, outfitted in light wood or outdoor areas.
Start your meal with a glass of wine or sake or perhaps a house cocktail like the Matcharita (matcha, green apple, soju, mint, and cucumber). Share appetizers like the addictive furikake fries or the popular tuna crudo before you hit the temaki. Choose from the house's sets of five temaki, like the Signature or the Classic, or create your own set by choosing from the menu. Options include coconut shrimp, spicy lobster, California, and eggplant. And don't forget to save space for the sesame-miso chocolate chip cookie!
Helmed by chefs Atsuomi Hotta and Hiroyuki Kobayashi, this cozy Crown Heights sushi spot specializes in omakase, designing the feast with the very best Japanese ingredients. There are two versions of this multi-course meal. The first is the Omakase, featuring an appetizer, 10 pieces of sushi, a hand roll, and miso soup. The second one is the Sashimi Sushi Omakase, which adds sashimi to the list. At $85 and $105 respectively, they offer a budget-friendly alternative when you're in the mood to put yourself in the chef's hands. You can also treat yourself to plenty of à la carte creations, including edamame with sea salt, grilled miso cod, nigiri (choose from options like kampachi and king salmon), and sushi rolls. Toast to this neighborhood gem with wine and sake.
Chef Nozawa is the legend and mastermind behind this beloved spot. He began his career as a sushi apprentice in Japan, which inspired him to travel across the country to learn all about regional preparation methods. After opening a restaurant in Tokyo, he moved to California with a dream to share his love for traditional sushi. Fast-forward to 1978, when he opened his restaurant, Sushi Nozawa, in Studio City. Today, his name is a synonym of a multi-restaurant group that includes Sugarfish, boasting five lively locations in New York.
Simply prepared fresh fish and warm, loosely-packed rice are essential to the Nozawa philosophy. The best way to experience it is to order one of the Trust Me omakase menus, featuring dishes like tuna sashimi, toro hand roll, sea bass sushi, and bluefin otoro sushi. For pairings, choose from a short and sweet selection of beer, wine, and sake.
Sushi 35 West
There's the regular takeout sushi we're all used to, and then there's actually great takeout sushi. Hidden in plain sight in Midtown, Sushi 35 West is the spot to experience the latter. Offering excellent sushi for takeout and delivery only, it boasts an extensive menu that includes specialties like spicy tuna tataki, kale-gobo salad, salmon avocado roll, and lean tuna sushi.
Your best bet, however, is to choose one of their lunch or dinner sets. At lunchtime, you can go for the Two Roll Selection or the Unagi Donburi. At dinnertime, you can opt for the Sushi Regular, featuring eight pieces of sushi and a tuna roll, or the Sashimi Regular, which includes 15 pieces of raw goodness. Who says you need to leave your dining room to enjoy a top-notch omakase?
If you're a sushi lover, you've heard of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," the Netflix documentary that focused on Jiro Ono and his Tokyo temple of sushi, Sukiyabashi Jiro. Jiro's former apprentice, Daisuke Nakazawa, is the chef and co-owner — along with Alessandro Borgognone — of his namesake restaurant in New York. Since 2013, this elegant Greenwich Village spot has wowed diners from the city and beyond, earning a Michelin star for its flawless food and equally glowing service.
Using fresh fish and seafood from around the world — and mostly Japan — Nakazawa and his team of chefs create a 20-course nigiri-only omakase. Sitting at the sushi counter (for $180) is the ultimate way to dive into this experience, although you can also enjoy it in the dining room (for $150). Your sushi parade may include pieces boasting Hokkaido cherry salmon, fatty tuna, tiger prawn, and golden eye snapper, delicately dressed and prepared. The eye-popping beverage list features beer, champagne, wines from Europe and North America, and Japanese tea.
Tanoshi Sushi & Sake Bar
Drenched in history, Tanoshi is the creation of the late chef Toshio, who arrived in New York as sushi was making waves in the city. Trained in Tokyo, Chef Toshio began experimenting with sushi at his customers' request but soon realized he wanted to pay tribute to tradition and the classic Edomae style. One of his signature elements is nikiri sauce, used to lightly dress the fish on top of the nigiri. Loosely-packed rice, little use of soy sauce, and eating with your fingers are also part of the Tanoshi experience.
Fresh scallops, salmon, ikura, uni, and tuna are some of the ingredients you'll find starring in your omakase experience at Tanoshi. For pairing, you can bring your own sake — one of the best perks at this Lennox Hill eatery.
Partners TJ Provenzano and Jeffrey Miller (also the chef) created Rosella with the goal of showcasing sustainable domestic ingredients. The fish and shellfish served at this East Village restaurant are approved by NOAA and Seafood Watch, meaning you can rest assured that you're enjoying locally caught, responsibly sourced fish. The seasonal menu can feature items like watermelon and tuna salad, uni toast, and rolls like the Bagels-on-Hudson, prepared with smoked trout and dill cream cheese. On the sushi and sashimi front, you can enjoy items like New York fluke, Massachusetts bluefin tuna, Texas Wagyu, and South Carolina shrimp. On the beverage list, Rosella also keeps it local, as all wines are produced in America. Japanese sake breaks the rule — but we think it's totally valid.
Sushi On Me
Enjoying an excellent omakase among neon signs, disco balls, and taxidermy might not make a lot of sense to sushi purists, yet this is New York. Anything is possible. The proof is at Sushi on Me, which started as part speakeasy, part sushi bar in Jackson Heights and now boasts a second location in Williamsburg.
For $89, you can feast on a 15-course omakase and unlimited sake. Fatty tuna sushi and ikura-topped oysters are a couple of the surprises you may find in your omakase. Signature dishes include nodoguro (a white deep-sea fish) with homemade coconut sauce, and sushi topped with Wagyu beef and freshwater eel. Two things to remember: Sushi on Me is cash-only, so come prepared. Also, most one-hour seatings end up in karaoke or dancing sessions.
Sushi Of Gari
An Upper East Side staple since 1997, Sushi of Gari is the creation of Chef Gari, whose mission to teach us how to eat sushi properly inspired him to open his own restaurant. It all started when Chef Gari was working at other Japanese restaurants, and seeing diners use way too much soy sauce shocked him. Now, almost 30 years later, there are four Sushi of Gari locations where you can eat sushi as Gari intended it.
The omakase experience at Sushi of Gari is available in three formats: Omakase Sushi (12 pieces), Omakase Sashimi (12 pieces), and Omakase Sashimi & Sushi (four kinds of sashimi and eight kinds of sushi). Dreamy bites of eel, kampachi, and fluke might make an appearance during your feast. If you're in the mood for an à la carte dinner, the menu offers nigiri, sashimi, and creations like fried oyster hand roll, shrimp tempura, and vegetable gyoza.
Freshness is the top priority at Sushi Lin, with locations in the West Village, Brooklyn Heights, SoHo, and Park Slope. Each of the four chefs and owners oversees a location, ensuring high quality and complete attention to detail. With ingredients sourced from Tokyo's legendary Tsukiji Market, as well as other parts of Japan and the world, it proves the team's commitment to freshness.
To dive into these flavors, you can try creations like the uni tasting, hamachi sushi, spicy salmon hand rolls, or salmon sushi rolls. The sushi bar entrées are great options, too. This selection includes dishes like a sashimi combo or an eel donburi; all served with miso soup or salad. And if you want to put yourself in the Lin team's hands, might we suggest the Full Omakase, a parade of three appetizers, one sashimi platter, nine pieces of sushi, one hand roll, and one dessert?
Dining at Chef Satoshi Tachikawa's intimate Upper East Side spot is the perfect way to expand your sushi horizons. With more than four decades of experience, Chef Satoshi knows what he's talking about, so book your seat at the counter and get ready to explore. At his omakase-only restaurant, each meal is meant to introduce diners to the diverse world of sushi, leading them beyond the well-known flavors of crowd-pleasers like tuna or salmon. Using ingredients sourced from Japan and other international waters, the seasonal menu features delicacies like salmon roe, hairy crab, uni, and firefly squid. Each piece is prepared with traditional techniques, including aging, roasting, curing, and smoking, resulting in an impeccable experience. At $145 per guest, the omakase is worth every penny.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.