Jewel Bako was on my list for awhile and I was both pleased and surprised to learn how easy it was to get a table here. As soon as I walked in, I could tell that this place meant business. The vibe here is authentic and low-key, think Sushi of Gari or Hatsuhana. The only difference here is that Jewel Bako is an upscale restaurant, though not nearly as flashy as other sushi joints like 15 East or Sushi Samba.
Overall, I’d have to say this place is underrated for a few reasons:
First off, I think the price point is great. We ordered two “large” rolls, two regular rolls and a hand roll, which to me seems like a fairly conservative amount for two hungry people. Our waitress warned us that it might be a lot, and apart from four leftover pieces, she was pretty accurate. Why? The rolls here are big. For $18 you get an 8 piece roll that’s stuffed with a lot of great stuff and pleasantly packed with sticky rice–quite a bargain if you ask me.
And don’t assume this place skimps on quality, all of the fish here is shipped in from Japan so you’re not going to find much better quality sushi around these parts. If you’re still not convinced, Jewel Bako has earned a Michelin star for the past nine years. BOOM.
Although I didn’t try the Omakase (several options starting at $75), it’s pretty clear that this place is serious when it comes to food. I watched the sushi chefs artfully put together each piece of sushi, complete with a brushstroke of sauce. That sh*t’s Jiro style if you know what I’m saying.
Solid sushi, top quality fish and a great ambiance. 9.1 for you, Jewel Bako. I’ll be coming back soon!
I learned about Sakagura just earlier this week while doing research on secret restaurants in NYC. The restaurant is hidden in the basement of an office building right near Grand Central, on a quiet street that doesn’t get much foot traffic. Apart from the location of the restaurant, the food here didn’t wow me. The menu here is definitely authentic and the quality of the fish is great, but I’m not planning on running back here. If you work in the area or are looking to change up your lunch game, it’s definitely a spot that’s worth checking out.
There’s been so much hype around this place for the past few months so I was glad when I got to check it off my hit list. In honor of Passover and Thursday, I thought it was only appropriate to try the 8-course Passover tasting menu for $75. I was a bit let down to learn that the Passover menu wasn’t actually K for P (why call it a Passover menu?)* but I went with it anyway.
Overall, this place gets a buttload of points because it’s the only place of its kind. The food is very good and I respect what they’re trying to do. However, I do think some of the dishes here could be a bit more creative-I didn’t feel the Japanese Jew vibe in every dish. With the Jew Egg, for instance, I didn’t really find any Japanese integration here. The carrots tasted pickled, but it would’ve been a lot cooler to open that falafel and find a quail egg inside. Oh well.
*Jew Warning: Shalom Japan does not have a kosher kitchen. The food here isn’t kosher and the
K for P menu isn’t kosher either. You can request to have your Matzoh Ramen without the ramen, but I guess that defeats the purpose. Basically, if you’re observing Passover or keep kosher, this place isn’t for you.