Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jewel Bako - Review

Jewel Bako - Dude Grade: A
239 E 5th St, New York 10003
(Btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave)
Phone: (212) 979-1012

Ever since Chef Yasuda decided to leave NYC to go on his ronin mission to become the #1 sushi chef in Japan, I haven't had phenomenal sushi since his departure. Porthos has been talking about Jewel Bako for a while now, so I decided I have to see this place for myself. Needless to say for all things sushi Porthos is better than any michelin, ny times, etc guides. This place is phenomenal and for the price point I think definitely my go to sushi joint for higher end stuff.

Our Menu
Sushi Omakase **
Sushi here is at an exceptional level, but it is quite different from what you get at Yasuda or the delicious Gari. At Yasuda, it was an ethereal experience where the fish had such amazing flavor and texture and the rice was perfectly balanced. The sushi here is also very delicious, but there are lots of things going on flavor wise. You'll notice salt, bitterness, some sweetness depending on the fish. It's not drowning in sauce by any means, but very delicately done.

One of my favorite pieces of sushi was this mackerel which was made into a paste with ginger and scallions - reminded me of the chinese ginger/scallion sauce served with boiled chicken. Lights out good.

Other highlights included this live lobster which was tasty, but what floored me was the miso soup made out of the lobster heads. Amazing flavor.

Finally, this urchin and scallop dish was a pretty ridiculous wtf moment. Two of my favorite things combined perfectly with rice and some nori on top. The chef here rocks the torch on the uni and scallop briefly so you get this smokey thing going on and he puts more fresh uni inside also - a huge sweet, meaty, smokey combination and oh so satisfying with the rice.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A-) – Phenomenal sushi that is definitely inventive and very delicious.
  • Service (A) – Typical Japanese service - very professional and very attentive. The chef was extremely nice to us.
  • Atmosphere (A) – Kind of a weird cavernous place that has these rounded arches for ceilings - a great date place. All the way in the back is the sushi counter and it's brightly lit. The place was completely full on a Thursday 9:30. We were seated immediately and closed the place down.
  • Price (A) – $125 for everything which is a great deal for NYC omakase sushi - especially for this quality
Closing Comments
As I stated before, this maybe my new go to sushi joint for the exceptional quality and reasonable price. Although Yasuda and Jewel Bako's sushi are completely different, I still feel Yasuda is king for me. No idea how his joint is without the commander at the helm though, but I will definitely have to check it out.

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