Albany is the capital of New York. I get the impression that there is an inferiority complex about the place. Albany may be the capital but it plays second fiddle to New York City. When I was there, natives referred to it as Smallbany.
I had already found a great seafood restaurant, Bob and Ron’s Fish Fry. After a couple of meals with fried fish, scallops and clams — I was ready for something healthier. It was sushi time!
I found Yoshi Sushi on the Internet. The online reviews were consistently good. Yoshi is located in a strip mall near the Albany airport. The restaurant looks more like a greasy spoon than a sushi bar. Yoshi is the kind of place where the chef seems to know everybody. There seemed to be a flow of regulars both dine in and take out.
I ordered sashimi with a salad. It was not a good start. The lettuce in the salad was limp and the dressing was unremarkable. But sushi is about the fish. When my sashimi was served it looked good. That is until I took a bite. Some of the fish was warm and slimy.
Despite the reviews, I was dissapointed in Yoshi — I should have gone back to Bob and Ron’s Firsh Fry.
|Sushi & Deli Box
68 W 39th St
New York, NY
Manhattan is full of sushi restaurants. Usually, I take the time to go to a full-service restaurant like Sushi Zen
. This week I was staying in a different hotel than usual. I was right by Bryant Park. One afternoon, I was walking back to the hotel from work and I had a craving for sushi.
I was on 39th street and I looked up and saw Sushi & Deli Box. Sushi and Deli Box is a typical New York Deli serving sandwiches, salads and hot foods. It also has a sushi bar with counter service inside. When I went in my eye was drawn to the takeout sushi prepackaged in the refrigerator case.
Since I was only a block away from my hotel and I wanted to watch the news, I choose take-out. I picked a package of tuna sushi and a California roll. When I opened my sushi, I was pleasantly surprised. The tuna was firm and tasty and the roll was good as well.
I do not often get take-out sushi but this was not a bad place to have it.
|Sushi & Deli Box 3 rice bowls
When my travels take me back to a familiar location like Manhattan, I find it hard to explore and try new sushi restaurants. Surrounded by old favorites like Katen and other great restaurants like Sushi Zen, it is hard to take a chance on a new place. Even so, this week I took the elevators in the Marriott Marquis past Katen, down to ground level. I walked the block down the street to Kodama.
Kodama is a busy sushi bar in the heart of the theater district on what’s known as restaurant row.When I stopped in the place was crowded and I had a seat at a table. On the appetizer menu they had a Hotatate and edameme (scallop and soy bean) dumpling. Since I like both ingredients, I gave it a try. I wish I hadn’t. I could not taste the soybean or the scallop. The dumpling reminded me more of a tater tot than anything else.
I ordered a deluxe sashimi combo to go with it. When my sashimi arrived, it was nicely arranged and looked like a good selection. I started with the mackerel, lightly marinated with absolutely glistening skin — it was downhill from there. The salmon was tasteless and while the tuna was colorful and firm it seemed too bland. The yellowtail was not bad but the red snapper was slimy and had an odor about it. All in all the quality was mediocre at best.
With so many great sushi (and non sushi) choices within five blocks or less — I will never be back. The fish was so bad .that I might have a steak tomorrow night instead of visiting my favorite, Katen. (Note, I did go to Katen the next night and everything was spectacular!)
57 46th St W
New York, NY
Usually when I am in New York, I stay in the Marrriott Marquis hotel. The hotel’s sushi bar, Katen is one of my all time favorites. Because I like Katen so much I don’t usually get out and try many other places. This week I am in a different hotel so I thought I would try Sushi Zen, a place that I walk by on my way to work when I am in New York. I did a search and Sushi Zen got good reviews from a variety of sources including Zagat.
When I got to Sushi Zen I was seated quickly at a table in the front dining room. Sushi Zen has a sushi bar, two dining rooms and in season — outdoor seating. I really enjoyed the dining room at Susi Zen. The decor was tasteful and modern. The walls were textured with a large bamboo sculpture in an arch over most of the dining room. There were several Japanese objects d’art on display in the room. The lighting was subdued but not too dark. While the place was definitely modern I would describe it as tasteful rather than trendy — a plus in my book.
The waitstaff was all Japanese and seemed to work as a team. When a plate needed to be cleared or it was time to take a dessert order, the nearest waitress always responded.The menus at Sushi Zen were printed and bound in red leather, a nice touch. The menu included a wide range of Japanese specialties beyond just sushi. I ordered Miso soup and the deluxe sashimi combo. When my sashimi arrived it was very artfully arranged on a square plate with mounds of shredded Japanese radish.
The combo had three nice pieces of tuna, snapper, mackerel and a couple of interesting rolls. One was a tuna and avocado roll and the other was an inside-out tuna roll. All of the fish was fresh and tasted great. Mackerel is one of my favorites and the mackerel here was absolutely perfect. I enjoyed every part of my meal.
As I finished the waitress asked whether I wanted dessert and I got a menu. There were lots of choices but I saw something delivered to a nearby table. It looked like an apple napolean served with berries and some ice cream. I asked the waitress what it was and she told me that it was their apple pie. When it arrived it was every bit as good as it looked. It was served with a side of homemade ice cream and some orange and raspberry coulis. The apples were cooked perfectly so they were still somewhat crisp and the light sauce was just sweet enough.
The only negative comment was about the service. Not the service I received which was perfect but an incident at a nearby table. I got to the restaurant about 45 minutes before closing and at 10 minutes to closing a couple came in and was seated next to me. The waitress brought them a menu and shortly afterward came back to take their order. They had not even had time to read the menu but the waitress insisted that they place their entire order she even said, "appetizer, entrees and dessert." She told them that the kitchen closed in five minutes. They said they didn’t want to be rushed and they left.
I’ll reiterate that my service was perfect but the lack of service at the neighboring table was inexcusable. It is the only thing that kept Sushi Zen from getting 5 rice bowls.
Katen — Marriott Marquis Hotel
New York, New York
Katen is located in the eighth floor lobby of Marriott‘s flagship New York property. The Marquis is my preferred New York hotel located in the heart of Times Square. While I had tried sushi before, it was at Katen that I really began to appreciate it.
I was a sushi novice and I ordered the sushi combination at the sushi bar. A few weeks later I visited Katen again and the sushi chef recognized me. He had some mirugai (giant clam) sashimi and asked whether I would like to try some. Since then mirugai has become my favorite type of sushi. It gave me the opportunity to try more exotic types of sushi.
I have been to Katen several times over the last five years. Even when business keeps me away from New York for many months at a time, the staff always treats me like a regular. The sushi is always fresh and the service is excellent. Perhaps for sentimental reasons — Katen is one of my favorite sushi restaurants.