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I see I wrote this up above, but Soto is not a place for sushi IMO. It is a place for composed dishes from the kitchen and sushi bar, beautiful ones at that. I also think these dishes are best shared so you can try more of them. I do think the "soto=uni" thing is a bit overblown, they do other things very well here as well. Just not sushi :-)


Agree with Bonner, if you want to be in this area specifically for eating the best sushi, do Ushiwakamaru. 15 East is going to have a much more polished dining experience, which for a single visit from out of town might actually make it the better choice for you. You'll be able to get good sushi and other good dishes as well, like the Soba and Homemade Tofu etc..., and a more Western style of service. But I'll take the fish and rice component from the counter at Yasuda or Ushiwakamaru over 15 East any day, even if they've got a very basic aesthetic by comparison.


Kyo Ya is good, but not sure it's a light bite.

Perhaps a matter of personal taste and preference, but I like the seasoning and texture of the rice at 15 East better than at Ushiwakamaru (as well as the eel, actually).

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bad news: no omakase yet (maybe later this week?), as they just opened. (also, no liquor license so BYO for now. not that that it's bad news - just and fyi.)   good news: inventive (as advertised)

Thanks all. My fear (probably warranted given my propensity for overindulgence when traveling and eating) is that 15 East would end up far from light. Foie. Soba. Tempura Rice Pudding. Duck. Impressive Sushi and Sashimi. Pasta with Uni. Octopus. :)


Self restraint with a menu like that will likely be a failure - though perhaps Octopus, Soba, Sashimi, and the Rice Pudding would be enough.

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  • 2 months later...

As excellent as the sushi and other composed dishes are at Soto, the service was overwhelmingly awful. Actually, if this weren't the worst service I had in NYC, it's in the top five.


We got there for a 8pm reservation at the sushi counter and was directed to a table. The BF explained to the server that he had specifically made a reservation for the sushi counter and was told promptly that he must be mistaken because they do not accept reservations at the sushi counter past 730. We looked at the row of empty seat at the sushi counter and said, in that case, we should be able to sit there. The server said 'No, because they are RESERVED." Really, if they do not take reservations after 7:30, how come the seats at reserved at 8:30? We decided to ask for a manager what exactly is the reservation policy. We were told by the same server that they have no managers. We told her to go get anyone who is in charge, she came back and told the BF that he never said the sushi bar when he made the reservation. We asked if she was the one who confirmed it, she said 'no' so in that case, how did she know what he did or did not said.


9pm came and went and no one came to take our orders but food did magically appeared by 9;30. We were told that the only thing the restaurant was serving that night was Omakase. Although plenty of people at the sushi bar seemed to be ordering regular food. By then we were so hungary that we decide to go with it.


In the meantime, a party of 4 at the next table asked for the check claiming that it was taking too long and left.


Our courses suddenly stopped as well. Then it's half an hour of nothing, so we decided to ask the server if we could get some pieces of sushi instead. She stared at us blankly and said but you have Omakase, not sushi. I said, I get that but I am hungry and want something NOW!!!!! she said well, if I want sushi, it would have to be AFTER my Omakase was done. I told her to stop all my Omakase. She disappeared into the kitchen for another half hour and return with another bite sized plate of a composed dish or raw fish.


By then I lost it and asked her if she actually have a brain cell to spare. She stared and smiled at me blankly. We asked for the check, which took another 15 minutes. First time in my life that I spent 3 1/2 hours eating and still left hungry. First time, I saw BF, normally an over tipper, left a 10% tip.

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  • 11 months later...

Went here on Saturday night and sat at the counter. The service issues here are well documented, and I'll just say I found no reason to disbelieve them. But the food... extraordinary. Easily one of the best meals I've had in NYC. Right up there with the *** Michelin places. The caveat, of course, is that you don't order the sushi. But the sushi is actually pretty good, just not as great as the top places.


Photos can he found here.


The menu here is pretty long, and the ordering options are kind of odd. To add to the frustration, you can't find the menu online, which makes it impossible to plan. It's divided into five sections: "small plate" (14 items, $4-$18), "From Sushi Bar" (13 items, $17-$26), "From Kitchen" (11 items, $10-$28), "Sushi nigiri" (28 items, $4-$9 a piece), and rolls (16 items, $5-$16). Three omakases are offered: 8 piece ($46) or 12 piece ($62) sushi nigiri omakase (which I suggest you decline), or the "Omakase Course", which is stuff from only the first three sections of the menu. (price is listed as "upon request". In reality it's $135 + sushi. Give them a budget and they'll work with you.)


Soto is another one of those small plates places that's way more expensive than it looks. But in Soto's case, it actually already looks expensive. The only thing to order here is the "omakase course". I gave them a budget of $150. They sent me 15 courses + 3 nigiri. I totaled up the a la carte prices of the items they sent me. It added up to over $250.


Of the 15 courses they sent out, there wasn't a dud among them. But I'll go over the highlights.


Black & white tofu - flawless.

Fluke with ponzu - flawless, artistically cut, and beautiful presentation.

Sea trout carpaccio - flawless. The best dish of the night. A must-order.

"Uzaku" (broiled freshwater eel) - flawless. I'd put this up against the eel anywhere.

"Scallop, fluke, and shiso agedashi" - flawless.

"Kanisu" (snow crab) - flawless. Maybe the best thing anybody's done with crab.


This place is underrated.

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haha, yes it was a lot of raw fish, but also a few cooked things thrown in there. And much more variation in preparation and presentation, as opposed to the same thing 15 times in a row with a different species of fish.

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  • 1 year later...

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