There's no more beguiling story than that of the apprentice sent wandering by his master, armed with nothing but his training and a rib-breaking walking stick. In the case of Kenji Takahashi, the training's in sushi, and the walking stick's the just-opened Sasabune -- a restaurant that will cripple you with deliciousness.

Takahashi studied under Nobi Kusuhara, the sushi sensei behind the famed Sasabune Los Angeles. His UES spot's completely frill-less -- he arrived in NYC with just enough cash to sign the lease -- but the food speaks so loudly, your eardrums will bleed. Everything's served omakase, meaning Takahashi himself decides what you'll feast on -- as indicated by the restaurant's post-prom-hotel-room-style motto, "Trust Me". Offerings vary seasonally, with highlights like albacore, toro, fluke fin, squid stuffed w/ blue crab, and butterfish (a.k.a. black cod). The chow's further distinguished by unique preparation, i.e., slightly heating the rice (thereby unleashing the surprisingly delectable aroma of raw fish) and using homemade dipping sauces ("makes own dip" slayed back in The Tak's eHarmony days). Though Takahashi won't remember your name, he's got an uncanny knack for pairing faces with favorite dishes (so don't get pissed if he starts calling you Mr. Fatty Tuna). And despite his refusal to let you order your own meal, he's not arrogant: his only goal's to provide you with the greatest sushi of your life. Because if he doesn't, he'll have to pick up his stick and wander off into a crimson sunset. And then possibly to Baltimore.