Sushi Jin: A Solid UES Outdoor Offering
Updated: Feb 4
After becoming puppy parents and getting our sweet girl Maisel settled in for a while, we decided it was finally time for some outdoor omakase. Not wanting to go too far, we headed to Sushi Jin, a recently opened omakase nestled cozily in the East 80s helmed by chef Satoshi Tachikawa. Having previously served up sushi at NYC institutions 15 East, Blue Ribbon Sushi, and Ginpachi, Chef Satoshi's omakase came highly recommended and thus, we went in with fairly high expectations.
So were these expectations fully met? Not quite. Would we still recommend checking it out for yourself? Yes. Here's why.
Coming in at $85 for 12pc omakase with appetizer, soup & dessert, Sushi Jin is one of the least expensive omakases in the area. For example, Sasabune & Sushi Ishikawa will both set you back about $135-$155, not to mention Sushi Noz at $395. For $85, you'll get familiar offerings such as akami, salmon, hamachi, kinmedai, scallop, botan ebi, madai, Santa Barbara uni, chutoro, and otoro.
Also included in our omakase were alaskan snow crab and barracuda which were welcome additions to the party. For this reason, we think this omakase could be a great introduction for someone new to omakase who might be trying it out for the first time - reasonably priced and nothing too adventurous in variety. Toppings were also minimal and sensible when utilized and the fish overall was of good quality.
On the other hand, we did have some reservations that we discussed on our walk back home. The first thing we found curious was that all of our appetizers were vegetarian—edamame, marinated radish, and soy/mirin marinated eggplant. Noting the lesser price point, we didn't mind too much as they were tasty and we were super hungry. When it came to the nigiri, these pieces could probably be branded as "micro-sushi"; although we appreciated the fish to rice ratio, the cuts were far from generous and we ended up ordering three more pieces each until we were decently satiated. The pieces included as part of the omakase were fine. We're not sure if it was the colder outside temperature (despite the heaters) but the pieces were notably cold which made it hard to get the full flavor. The seasoning of the rice was minimal but we did enjoy the amount of wasabi used to season the fish. What shocked us though, and further influenced our overall opinion, was that the three additional pieces we ordered ended up being the best three of our entire meal! The additional servings came from their list of nightly specials and included ika & uni with seaweed, sanma shioyaki nigiri (salt-grilled pike mackerel), and abalone nigiri topped with its own liver. Now we're talking—all were excellent. I'm so glad we ordered them but if we didn't, we may have had a lesser opinion overall.
All in all, will we be back? Yes - when we feel comfortable enough to eat indoors, we'd love to give Sushi Jin a proper visit. As far as outdoor set ups go, they did a great job with their COVID precautions and had heaters warm enough for coats to be shed. The service was great and we had fun with our waitress who humored our checking in on the pup every 15 minutes (shout out to Furbo!). If you're looking for a nice evening out that won't break the bank, Sushi Jin is a solid neighborhood option.
We truly feel for these omakase restaurants that have had to flip their entire business model and adapt to outdoor dining, especially in these colder temperatures. It's not totally fair to judge an outdoor omakase the same as you would a pre-pandemic, indoor omakase. By nature of it being outdoors, you miss out on the magic of enjoying the chef's artistry and personality and showing your gratitude in return. So, we look forward to writing a proper review in the future when we can sit at the bar and experience this omakase in its most intended circumstances . And we'll definitely ask for the specials!
316 E 84th St, New York, NY 10028