We all know my love for Italian food, but since my move to NYC, I’ve been infatuated with all things Asian. So when I received an invitation to the grand opening week celebration of Sushi Dojo in the East Village last week, I happily accepted and brought the hubby along with me.
I had done some research, and learned about their Executive Chef David Bouhadana who is quite a young rising star in the sushi world. When we arrived, there were seats available at the sushi bar which is definitely the place to be for the traditional Japanese sushi experience, and we were lucky enough to be seated right in front of him! Chef David greeted us with a big smile, and told us to feel free to ask him if we had any questions.
As I perused the menu, it was obvious that we were at a traditional Japanese restaurant – you weren’t going to find any Mexican rolls here! We started with some appetizers, I always get the seaweed salad and was so surprised when the server brought us a much more colorful version than I had ever seen. Chef David explained that the typical seaweed salad that is served at most restaurants is not seaweed at all, but actually a type of sea cabbage. Sushi Dojo’s seaweed salad contains five different varieties of seawood, hence the bright and vibrant colors and mixed textures. The flavors were similar to that of “regular” seaweed salad, but not as sweet and tasted much more complex and refined.
We nibbled on some edamame while we waited for our next appetizer, the Kaki Age which is tempura style deep fried seasonal seafood and vegetables. I don’t typically order tempura because I find it to be way too heavy, but this was so light and crispy, I was really pleasantly surprised. As I was eating I discovered a bit of green tea powder on the plate which I thought was just for decoration, but was actually quite delicious when used as a dip for the tempura. Both P and I ordered the 10 Pieces Chef’s Choice Sushi ($45 each – which is definitely on the pricier side). As I mentioned before, I greatly recommend sitting at the sushi bar to get the most out of the experience, especially if you are doing a Chef’s Choice or Omakase. Chef David was so informative, and really talked us through the entire evening. Plus it was a treat to see him at work, it was like watching an artist creating beautifully hand crafted sushi.
Kanpachi – Great Amberjack
Chu-Toro – Medium Fatty TunaO-Toro – Fatty TunaMirugai – Giant Clam. I couldn’t believe that the clam was still alive when Chef plopped it on the plate in front of us, it actually moved! He said he had just shucked it a couple hours ago. Talk about fresh!Chef David posing with the wild octopus – it was huge!Wild Octopus
Uni – Sea UrchinAnago – Sea EelI’ll admit that I was sad when the last piece of sushi came out (even though we got more than 10!). It seemed like each piece was better than the last. Even P went way out of his comfort zone with the octopus, clam, scallop etc., he typically sticks with the Americanized sushi, and he loved every bit of it. The quality and freshness of all the fish was really apparent, and what really made this sushi shine.
We finished our meal with a delightful green tea in a beautiful cup that I just had to take a picture of.
When we received our bill, there was a slight mix up which we had to speak to the manager about. He came over, and fixed the problem and was very kind to offer us sake to make up for it. After a wonderful dinner, I was pleased to see the management was able to turn an uncomfortable incident into an overall positive experience.
I really recommend a trip to Sushi Dojo, and I must insist you sit at the sushi bar. Though the prices are on the upper end, the quality of the product is clear from the start. You can really see the passion that Chef David puts into his sushi, and that is what made the experience truly memorable in my mind.
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Sushi Dojo | www.sushidojonyc.com | 110 1st Avenue