New York City already has tons of great sushi restaurants; what struck me most about the sushi scene in the city is the diversity of style (from traditional edomae to more fusion incorporating a variety of non-fish ingredients). At the same time, the freshness of fish at top-shelf sushi institutions in the city is certainly at the very high level. Kosaka, led by chef Yoshihiko Kousaka (formerly of Jewel Bako in East Village), is another new entrant to the sushi game in the city, and I must say, a pretty good one. I was surprised when the server approached me to take orders in Korean (I was with a Korean friend as my dining companion). Apparently, the owner and the staff are all Korean while the chef’s team is all Japanese. A rather interesting mix, but I digress. Let’s get to the food.
The style at Kosaka is more geared toward traditional style; there is nothing really fancy that goes into each piece although the fish is all properly seasoned so there is no need to use soy sauce. There are two tasting menu options ($145 per head for sushi omakase and $175 per head for chef’s tasting menu), as well as some a la carte options. I went with the sushi omakase option and (obviously) sat at the bar where chef Kousaka began serving all the pieces himself after a very delightful crab and avocado salad.
I was really a fan of many of the pieces, which were incredibly fresh and had proper balance of seasoning. Rice also had the right amount of firmness that worked very well with the fish. Tuna was really the strength at the bar that night, whether it’s the Bluefin tuna, medium fatty tuna or the toro. All three pieces were just literally melting in my mouth! Uni, another favorite of mine in sushi restaurants, was also incredibly fresh and had the silky smooth texture that was just so memorable. Sea eel and shrimp were also winners.
My favorite of the night, however, came from an unexpected piece. I usually think of maki (seaweed hand rolls) as an afterthought, as they have a hard time shining compared to the other sushi pieces, but the one at Kosaka which consists of toro, pickled radish and scallion was simply outstanding. The ingredients inside the seaweed wrap were working together so harmoniously that I wished I could’ve got another even though I was getting pretty full by that time.
Some pieces were slightly off, such as Tasmanian king salmon or sea scallop with yuzu (nothing wrong with the texture, but seasoning was slightly off for both), but overall the omakase at Kosaka was a very pleasant affair. The meal ended with tamago (I haven’t had these egg pieces in a while but wasn’t my favorite here), followed by miso soup (a little too salty) and the assortment of desserts (green tea pudding was delightful, but chocolate mochi was a bit funky) accompanied by tea.
My dining companion got the reservation so I’m not sure how difficult it is to get seated, but the sushi bar area is relatively small, so my suggestion is to try to book early (and as always, for the bar not the dining room inside). I liked the modern décor of the restaurant; service was attentive and there are some nice sake selections to choose from the menu. Kosaka is another welcome addition to the sushi scene in NYC, and I definitely recommend having a visit at some point if you’re a sushi aficionado.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 220 West 13th St, New York, NY 10011
Telephone: (212) 727-1709