Sushi eating tips I learned from Mr. Yasuda

Mackerel sushi - Sanma and Kibinago

Sushi Yasuda is hands down, the best sushi experience I have ever had. It’s probable that this is because I have yet to visit Japan, but this does not devalue my opinion as Mikee, who visits Tokyo frequently, makes the same claim.

The restaurant is notoriously strict with reservations. Not only do you have to call and hope that after the 10th busy tone, you’ll get through, but you must also confirm the day before AND rock up exactly on time. If you’re more than 10 minutes late, you can say goodbye to the best sushi of your life.

We could not believe our luck that we got the grand master Yasuda himself. So our only option was to take the Omakase menu – the sushi chef’s best picks for the day and they keep on coming, one at a time until you’re either full or broke.

Yasuda told us that today; he would not serve us sashimi, only sushi, because that was the best. I could sit here and give you a detailed account on how each piece of sushi literally melted in my mouth, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you the interesting part – the sushi eating tips I learned from Mr. Yasuda.

  • Make sure you eat fresh Mackerel in early October, this is when the fish is at its best and believe me it is – one of the most memorable pieces we ate.
  • Good sushi is not only about the freshness of fish. Although this is very important, the sushi that stands out has the perfect balance of rice, red and white vinegar, Japanese sea salt and sugar. Making sushi rice, he says is a science.
  • Generally, if a restaurant is serving spicy tuna or salmon, they are using older fish – the mayonnaise and chilli is used to mask the old fish smell.
  • Never mix the wasabi in your soy sauce, the flavours should ‘meet’ each other, not be mixed into an unidentifiable sauce.
  • Never put your ginger on top of the sushi, this will only mask the delicate flavour of the fish.
  • You can use your thumb and index finger to pick up the sushi.
  • Make sure you place the whole piece in your mouth so the flavours and textures can be enjoyed in their entirety.
  • Never dip the rice part of the sushi in the soy sauce – only season the fish. At Sushi Yasuda, your sushi is dipped in soy sauce for you!

Oyster & Giant Clam sushi

If you ever get the chance to eat at Sushi Yasuda and you don’t get the Omakase, please do not leave without trying my favourites: sea urchin, mackerel (only in early Oct!) and oyster. I also hear that the restaurant offers a US$25 prix fixe menu at lunchtime. If I lived in New York, this is where you’d find me.

Sushi Yasuda
204 East 43rd St
New York, NY

28 Responses to “Sushi eating tips I learned from Mr. Yasuda”
  1. I adore mackerel. I love its tangy and robust flavor. Plus, I think the way its silver skin gleams is gorgeous. I’m definitely craving sushi now!

  2. Sounds fantastic! The oyster piece in the last photo is gorgeous.

  3. Kimberley says:

    I love mackerel and am now a little bummed that I didn’t enjoy any in early October! And I love this, though it will be hard for me to abandon mixing my wasabi with my soy sauce. Are you supposed to dip a little in each, separately? Also, dipping only the fish and not the rice sounds tricky. Do you take the fish off the rice?

    • jennynoowyn says:

      Hi Kimberley, I must admit, I make a few sushi eating mistakes too… I love to eat the ginger with the sushi rather than to refresh my palate after eating a piece 🙂

      Re wasabi, the nigiri normally has wasabi on the rice so that should be enough. If it’s not, you can pick up the wasabi using chopsticks or fingers and place it on top of the fish… for the soy sauce, it depends on whether you’re using chopsticks and how good you are at using them! I can just pick the sushi up and dip it into the soy sauce upside down… but I suppose it’s not really a problem to take the fish off?… not too sure about that one 🙂

  4. Rich says:

    If I ever get to eat at Sushi Yasuda … man, Dallas has such mediocre sushi and that sushi looks so good. Falling into depression …

  5. doggyb;loggy says:

    I dont know if the fish is supposed to be braided in that first shot but it sure looks good. I learned these very same tips from my “sushi-san” (I forget his name I think it was Minato) many years ago) but what I didnt learn was not to mix the wasabi in the shoyu…good to know.

  6. Monet says:

    I adore sushi…and I didn’t know any of these great tips! Thank you so much for sharing them with me. I’m glad I found your blog!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the tips!
    Oyster sushi sounds great!

  8. never had with anchovies healthy and looks good
    I must try 🙂

  9. Jenny! This is an amazing post… I love the tips, especially the one about mixing wasabi in the soy sacue. You’ve got to love Mr. Yasuda! Great blog… You’re so much fun!

  10. tam says:

    I love Sushi Yasuda – great post!

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! Great tip on eating mackerel in early October — I didn’t know that, and we love that fish! Have you been to Sushi of Gari (the original on the Upper East Side)? That is another NYC sushi favorite of ours from when we lived in Manhattan.

  12. Probably the best looking sushi I have ever seen to!! They just look so exquisite and not your ordinary salmon sushi!

  13. Stephanie says:

    When I was in New York last spring, I was lucky enough to score reservations at Sushi Yasuda, also with Yasuda himself. Besides being the best sushi of my life, he was also entertaining and funny. You compiled a great list of tips here and I will definitely try going to lunch next time I’m in the city – $25 is a great deal!

  14. loved yasuda when i lived in NYC! We’re planning a trip back in many places to try!! Thanks for stopping by our blog so we can discover yours!

  15. I went to Sushi Yasuda earlier this year and I agree — it was the best sushi experience I’d ever had, too. Now I’m a sushi brat and nothing else tastes quite the same. 🙂

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