Sushi by Bou may be the most alluring stall in the Gansevoort Market, with a neon, street art-esque fish painted over geometric colored lines on the wall, all illuminated by a pink fluorescent sign touting the restaurant’s name. A corner counter balancing a case full of raw fish features four seats on one end and four on another, part of a pop-up within the food stall called Sushi by Bae, where Bouhadana’s protégé, 24-year-old Oona Tempest, serves a 90-minute, rotating omakase at dinnertime for double the price.
“I wouldn’t [call it] affordable sushi, I would say sushi for the people,” Bouhadana says of Sushi by Bou. “Because affordable sushi is different -- that’s Dean & DeLuca, that’s Sugarfish. This is a very New York concept. Fifty bucks isn’t a great deal for most people, but in New York City, it’s a steal.” For comparison, omakase at the West Village’s Neta ranges from $110 to $230, while Shuko in Union Square starts at $135, and Flatiron’s O Ya can be anywhere from $185-$245. The rise of so-called affordable omakase, like LA-transplant Sugarfish (which starts its omakase at $27), doesn’t make Bou the cheapest in the city, but, as New York Times critic Pete Wells wrote in his review, Sugarfish’s omakase is largely lackluster.