$90 (12 pieces), $120 (16 pieces)
First things first, Sushi Kaito is a great deal. A 16-piece omakase for $120 is an omakase we can get behind. The variety and the freshness of the fish, the mastery and affability of the sushi chef, and the quality of service make this little Upper West Side omakase spot the best bang for your buck.
The rice at Sushi Kaito was lovely. If we had to critique something we would say that perhaps it was a little under seasoned, but the texture was perfect and the temperature was how we love it—slightly warm. The amount of rice in each piece of nigiri was also perfect as it didn’t fall apart and it didn’t take away from the fish at all by being too heavy. The chef honored our request to try some of the rice by itself and we were thoroughly pleased!
Wow! We love a nigiri focused omakase and this is exactly what you get at Sushi Kaito. The meal started off light and tasty with a Shigoku oyster atop a little pile of shaved ice, and two different types of sashimi. A beautiful presentation, and the standout here was the silvery mackerel. Mackerel can go either way for us most of the time but this was spot on. Topped with a little yuzu, the hint of citrus really brought out the flavor of the fish. Next, the chef got down to some nigiri business. Pieces included hamachi with finger lime, hotate with black salt, botan ebi, horse mackerel with grated ginger, kanpachi, toro, sake belly, sea bream, ikura gunkan, uni gunkan, torched eel, and more. There isn’t any soy sauce offered, but we liked the playful and clever use of different types of salt such as the black salt on top of the scallop. They really want the fresh flavor of the fish to come through and they nail it. After the nigiri came a delicious toro handroll with perfectly toasted seaweed, followed by a more than decent tamago and a warm & salty house made miso soup which was some of the best miso we’ve had. Overall, this was our favorite kind of omakase: started off with some beautiful bites of fish presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner, focused on letting the huge variety of fish speak for itself while adorning it with little flavor boosters when necessary, and ended with a much appreciated handroll and miso soup to warm our bellies and souls.
There were some reviews on Yelp that claimed the service was lacking, and perhaps we got lucky, but we're going to have to disagree. We were very well taken care of, had a delicious sake suggested for us, and were thoroughly entertained by the sushi chef himself. Sushi Kaito is no longer BYOB, but the one thing that did annoy us was that they told us the bottle of sake we ordered had actually just increased, they just hadn’t put the new price on the menu yet after giving us the bill. It would have been nice to know when we were ordering, but not a big deal.
Natalie was full and satisfied! She wouldn’t say she was stuffed, she was able to eat everything and still had room to order a couple additional pieces. But she left with a very happy belly :)
Josh could have definitely kept eating but he was content. He still felt like he got a lot of sushi for the price.
We were pretty impressed with the atmosphere at Sushi Kaito. Nothing to write home about but it’s clean and traditional with wooden accents and a beautiful sushi bar. It’s a small space, sushi bar seating only, with about 12 or 14 spots. We had cute reservation cards with our names on them and had a perfect view of our food being prepared as there are two sushi chefs working simultaneously and servicing each half of the bar respectively.