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Omakase, the ubiquitous Japanese term used in chef's choice dining, literally translates to: “Chef, I’m in your hands.” Here, the nimble hands are those of executive sushi chef Subhash Gurung, who is as quick with a smile as he is with his filet knife. Omakase dinners frequently top $100 per person at the city’s more high-end Japanese counters, but here you can indulge for the relative bargain of a well-spent $65.
After a hot towel, sip of sake and requisite miso soup, you’re ready to begin the show. On a recent night, live shrimp was dismembered before diners, the head tossed in a fryer and the tail, still pulsing, deveined and topped with a thimble of roe and wasabi. The two halves were reunited seconds later on a plate that also included sashimi of abalone, giant clam and amberjack. That two-way shrimp highlights a favorite theme of Gurung’s: showcasing a single seafood through various preparations and cuts. From there, you might progress to fluke with bonito flakes, red snapper with lime juice, seared salmon belly with a teardrop of mayo or yellow-tail with yuzu and shiso leaves.
Among the more unique courses pits California uni (sea urchin), large and custardy, against Japanese uni, more petite, creamy and sweet by comparison. If and when it arrives, the most spectacular offering triples up on Bluefin tuna in distinct forms: akami, the lean, bright red, ubiquitous side cut; chutoro, the dull pink, richer belly cut; and otoro, the fattiest, palest and most prized cut of tuna belly. A morsel of otoro is a quasi-religious experience with meat so unbelievably delicate as to practically evaporate from your tongue.
An omakase experience at The Lobster Place’s sushi bar proves that fine dining need not come with all the rote accouterments. In the background din of the power washers and the austerity of the surrounding white tile there is a profound authenticity and satisfaction that comes with eating incredibly fresh seafood inside a bustling fish market.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER MICHAEL PEARSON
75 Ninth Ave
|Cross street:||at 16th St|
|Transport:||Subway: A, C, E to 14th St; L to Eighth Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 9:30am–9pm; Sun 10am–8pm|
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