Food & Drink

The 10 Best Under-the-Radar Sushi Spots in NYC

Published On 04/23/2015 Published On 04/23/2015
Thrillist
Courtesy of Tristan Wheelock
Thrillist
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1. Kyo Ya 94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

Good news for raw fish lovers -- while this subterranean Japanese restaurant is known for an exquisite kaiseki tasting that requires a strict reservation, the top-notch sushi and sashimi are offered a la carte at any time. The ingredients change frequently, but the quality never wavers (expect the freshest Hokkaido octopus or Tasmanian salmon trout, for example). Pressed sushi is another specialty, featuring firmly-packed rectangles of shiso and ginger-infused rice topped with buttery mackerel or soy-marinated salmon.

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2. Yuba 105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Helmed by two former Masa chefs, this 36-seat, paper-globe-lit sliver turns ingredients flown in directly from Japan into mouthwatering bites like duck & foie gras steamed buns, caviar-topped tuna tartare, and spicy cod roe pasta.

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3. Sushi Katsuei 210 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Park Slope)

Bypass the California roll-eating crowds and head straight to the wooden counter, which is presided over by a team of skilled fish slicers at this Park Slope sushi spot. From behind the bar, they dispense nigiri in its most traditional form -- mounds of tart, loosely packed rice, and slivers of fish amped up by a dabble of wasabi or a brush of citrus OR a brush of wasabi and a dabble of citrus. With an omakase that starts at just $45, dinner here is by far one of the best deals in town.

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4. Momo Sushi Shack 43 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

The sushi Bombs at this wood-clad Bushwick hangout are, well, bomb. The hefty seaweed-less orbs come in creative combos that you won't find anywhere else, and you’ll also want an order (or seven) of the Pork Betty -- slices are cooked ‘til tender in a sake-soy mixture and then served with tiny dollops of wasabi cream.

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5. Hibino 333 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Cobble Hill)

This neighborhood standby is one of few places in NYC doling out Kyoto-style hako sushi. The rectangular bites -- showcasing eel, grilled Spanish mackerel, or tuna -- are a must, while Hibino’s signature ultra-creamy tofu is a double-must.

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6. Bugs 504 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

This Japanese eatery serves sushi, sashimi, and tapas like Asian pancakes w/ seafood & wild spinach, and a Berkshire pork filet w/ "gobo chips."

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7. Sushi Zen 108 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036 (Midtown West)

This lesser-known fish den offers two pristine omakase options, plus three bluefin tuna specials, a luxe chirashi bowl, and, for thrill-seekers, a seasonal fugu (blowfish) sushi.

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8. Hasaki 210 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

This no-reservations Japanese restaurant has been around since 1984, when it was opened by Bon Yagi -- the empire-creator behind Sobaya, Otafuku, and Sake Bar Decibel. It was one of the first sushi bars opened in the East Village and remains one of the best to this day. You can order an omakase for around $50, or stick with the consistently high-quality sashimi options. Pro-tip: it's got great lunch specials, making an afternoon trip super enticing for the particularly budget-conscious.

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9. Watawa 33-10 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105 (Astoria)

Sometimes, those sushi cravings call for crazy, over-the-top, O, M, G rolls. This is the place to get ‘em -- the date night favorite doesn’t skimp on creativity when it comes to its specialty rolls , but Watawa also knows when to dial down the modernist accents. The sushi and sashimi assortments are refreshingly simple and rely solely on the freshness of the fish.

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10. Tomoe Sushi 172 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012 (West Village)

Despite its no-frills environment, diners queue up daily to get their hands on Tomoe’s delicious rawness. The monster-sized pieces of sushi and sashimi, plus the skillfully assembled hand rolls (the spicy tuna in particular), are well worth the (also sometimes-monster) wait.