The sushi counter at 15 East
Bloomberg (by Tejal Rao):
15 East is a quiet little Japanese restaurant just off Union Square, where I find the mood is always quite civilized and serious. That was the case on a recent evening, until a junior sushi chef started playing with two massive prawns, whirling them together on the cutting board as if they were ballroom dancing. Another sushi chef grinned widely, then politely told him to stop that.
The restaurant opened in 2006 and it’s a consistently good spot for sushi (along with dishes like poached octopus, and delicate soba noodles with duck and scallions). The newest menu item, a “local fish flight” ($55 for 10 pieces), was introduced a couple of weeks ago and features fish from Long Island and its environs. Earlier this week, that meant lightly smoked mackerel, and a piece of fluke wrapped in a shiso leaf, each presented as nigiri on long, slender clusters of warm rice.
Owner Marco Moreira is a big fan of the local squid from Long Island, served raw. “It’s just gorgeous,” he told me over the phone. “It’s unbelievable with a little citrus zest and sea salt, but unfortunately we don’t always have it in house.”
The kitchen purchases fish from all over the world—Japan, Spain, Portugal—but Moreira explained that he wanted to introduce a new option that would celebrate local scallops, and a couple varieties of whitefish, as well. A tuna from North Carolina, which Moreira admits is only relatively local, may occasionally make an appearance.
If the kitchen runs out of the local stuff before you get to your tenth piece of nigiri, you’ll have the option to try other fish at the counter. You may find yourself with a wide slice of crunchy sea clam, a sweet raw shrimp, or a couple of oysters marinated in olive oil and rosemary (works!). With tiny wedges of the pickled ginger Shimizu makes in house in between each bite, it all makes for a lovely, light, clean-living kind of dinner.
This flight isn’t the most luxurious one in town, but it doesn’t bill itself as that, and in many ways that’s part of its appeal. The experience is straightforward and inexpensive, and so is the seafood. This is everyday sushi done well—if you’re looking for something more deluxe, go with the excellent $110 omakase, which roams farther and wider.
15 East Restaurant is at 15 E 15th Street (Flatiron); +1 212 647-0015 or 15eastrestaurant.com
Smoked mackerel nigiri, from 15 East’s new local fish flight
Ladies, did you know? You can now figure out how much a guy makes based on the kind of sushi he orders.
Fancy looking clothes can only say so much. If you really want to judge a man’s class and the size of his wallet without being direct, ask him what kind of nigiri (hand-pressed sushi) he likes — apparently, his response will tell you what he’s truly made of. Hold on, guys — we’re about to get real superficial.
RocketNews24 got the expert advice of an “elite businessman” in Japan who went by the alias “Mr. M.” Allegedly, Mr. M spent a month observing sushi diners to form his theory on what the sushi orders of men says about their income; using his theory, he said he can accurately guess a man’s income based on their order within $1000 dollars.
Tuna — $0, No Income
“Tuna? Wow. You peasant.” According to Mr. M, poor people can really only afford sushi from supermarkets or convenience stores and the lack of variety there really only means they’ll be eating tuna. This is not the classy choice.
Salmon, Avocado Shrimp — You Make $27,000+
This range is for those who fancy the kind of sushi served on a conveyor-belt — which means a dollar a plate. Mr. M says that the men who order salmon or avocado shrimp tend to order sushi that is geared towards children.
Salt Lemon Squid — You make $45,800+
If this person were a car, they would be a Saab. While this choice highlights the middle-class businessmen, they will still frequent conveyor-belt restaurants, though they can still afford the more expensive places that offer a greater variety of sushi. Apparently, men who choose squid prefer salt as their extra topping of choice.
Boiled Clams, Garden Eel, Conger Eel, Herring — You make $73,000+
These are the respectable yet frugal businessmen. They know good sushi enough to have specific choices and tend to like more traditional forms of sushi. Mr. M surmises that these men tend to be architects and engineers, generally jobs of skill and class.
Sea Urchin, Fatty Tuna — You make $91,000+
“I can tell by your taste you are quite generous,” the lady says with a smile. These men pay for other people’s sushi, and by people, we mean women who have expensive taste. The pick-up line that we assume always works for Mr. M is, “I know a good place that has sea urchin.” This choice of sushi will leave her thinking only one thought — “Playaaah.”
All the sushi — You make $100,000+
It turns out that when you enter the six-digit income range, anything goes. This guy makes so much money he gives no f*cks what other people think of him and orders whatever he likes, fatty tuna (oturo), salmon (sake), sea urchin (uni) or otherwise. A good way to spot these men of paper and class really depends on where they eat — usually the best spots in the best cities. Good luck getting in without an invite.
Thus concludes Mr. M’s non-scientific study. While he preferred to remain anonymous, he did wear a nice shirt and jacket to the interview, so we’ll go ahead and assume he was loaded.
So next time you are curious about the size of his wallet but you don’t want to come off sounding like a gold-digger, try this out and ask him what kind of sushi he likes. He could be poor, he could be loaded — the point is you can never really tell.
Sushi has evolved over the years from an unknown entity to trendy universal dish to irreplaceable staple, winning over the hearts of even the most disbelieving of Americans. Sushi is constantly evolving – new ingredients, preparation and serving methods — traditional nigiri sushi, cut rolls wrapped in seaweed or soy paper, creative additions like cream cheese, spicy mayonnaise and deep-fried rolls… dare I go on? It’s difficult at times to know exactly what is going on with little to no menu descriptions and endless varieties of fish to be devoured.
Fortunately, tumblr artist Slimu has come to the aide of those loyal, yet at times challenged, sushi lovers.
Slimu offers up a unique alternative way to help you remember what the different types of fish and ingredients are so you can feel confident in what you are ordering. Even if these gifs don’t help you remember that “uni” means “sea urchin,” at least you’ll remember smiling at the bouncing jolly sushi characters. Peek some of our favorites below.
Additionally, this excellent how-to-eat sushi guide will aid you on your quest to becoming a true sushi aficionado.
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