New York City is not exactly a place renowned for its sushi. But Kura will give that stereotype a run for its money. Once you step past the unremarkable entrance, you’ll find yourself in an intimate 12-seater furnished with an elegant light wood. Chef Ishizuka works against the backdrop of rough, aged brick. But there is a quiet elegance about the place, with soft jazz playing in the background.
There is no barrier of glass counters here. Instead, Chef Ishizuka’s worktable is open and inviting, much like the man himself who’s always smiling.
There’s something special about Chef Ishizuka. He just exudes a quiet, benevolent calm and is always ready with a smile and twinkle in his eye. You get the feeling that he’s about to let you in on a secret. He works with a rhythmic sleight of hand and is congenial with his staff. The whole atmosphere in the restaurant was just so serene. It’s such a pleasure to dine in a place with such wonderful work ethic, where everyone seemed passionate about their work, and attentive to the needs of every customer.
Overall: ★★★★1/2 Fresh seafood, good sushi, excellent service.
We began our meal with three starters. First, some maguro and grated yam. The slightly sweet, viscous yam surprisingly went well with the lean tuna and that light dusting of seaweed.
We were also served this morsel of ikura with sushi rice. The flavour in this was very strong. The intense umami flavour just explodes in the mouth and coats the polished, soft rice grains. Mmm..
Then came these stuffed cooked squid rings. Interesting textures here.
But this meal was really about the sushi. And we ordered the larger omakase with up to 16 pieces. So here’s some mouthwatering pictures of our favourite picks starting with these unique Cherry Blossom Shrimps.
The torched red snapper was pretty interesting too.
Raw scallop with nori.
Toro, or fatty tuna.
Kanpachi, or Amberjack.
Hotate with red pepper.
Torched Aji or Horse mackerel.
Maguro or lean tuna.
Anago, or sea eel with sweet sauce.
Aka Uni or red sea urchin from California. Super sweet this one. Mm..
And glazed abalone.
Finally, we finish of with some homemade tamago and a warm bowl of miso soup.
Overall, everything came together nicely. There were generous slices of a wonderful variety of raw and aburi (gently torched) seafood. I thought the Cherry Blossom Shrimps and glazed abalone were very unique offerings. I also liked that none of the sushi was served with soy sauce or shoyu. And trust me, you wouldn’t need it. Everything was seasoned beautifully, including the rice. I’d say Tanoshi makes better sushi rice, but if you’re looking for a more elegant ambience with great service, then you’ll have a more enjoyable time at Kura.