There is something to be said about visiting a city where your older brother lived at for seven years. It makes things a little bit less overwhelming to know that there are a few people around who are just a degree closer than a complete stranger. It also helps if those friends also happen to work at Blue Ribbon Sushi, one of the few New York established Sushi slinging counterparts of the Blue Ribbon restaurant family.
Blue Ribbon: Distinction
A newcomer to foodblogging scene, Teresa would be the girl to know in this unknown food megalopolis, my brother was right. After a couple of random FB messages, we had decided to go the Sushi and Grill outpost, one of their more snazzier joints located right in front of A train Columbus Circle stop, atop the 6 Hotel. Would of been optimal walking distance in the relentless blizzard outside, but of course, the train that I was in overheated and broke down one stop before. But for the meal that followed, I wouldn't of minded walking in the strongest of flurries all the way across town...
We started off with one of their Namazake's that still in their tasting room floor, Harushika Shiboribana.
Harushika Shiboribana: Bold
A Namazake is a certain type of "live" Sake that is only brewed seasonally and is not been heated past 65C, thus, 'unpasteurized'. Its usually drank in its younger state, and the taste is a little more brash and dry around the edges, kind of requiring of small sips only. However, this one proved to be quite fruity, nonetheless a little more viscous with an acquired thickness probably due to the umami content in the liquid itself. This one has not yet made it to the menu but there are four more in stock from the $9-$12 range.
After this, the chef had sent out a sample of his Amaebe Sashimi ($17.50), Maine Sweet Shrimp with a light Wasabi Yuzu. Delightfully creamy without the sinewy chew of raw shrimp I've had before, he fried the heads, whole and they served as decapitated crispy chips to go elevate the experience even more.
Ankimo: Foie Gras of The Sea?
Shortly after, a few generously thick, silver dollar sized slices of compounded monkfish offal known as Ankimo($13.75) showed up. Apparently, she 'always has to have it' every time she eats here, and I could see why. What Foie Gras would taste like if Trader Joes ever made a "reduced fat" seafood variety, I preferred the mild, liver-y luxuriousness of it actually. Maybe since the last time I was served the duck stuff , I was nearly induced to a lipid induced seizure with a full 2 oz of it...
After the fist dishes, I knew that if there was ever a time to splurge in my short stay in NYC...it was going to be here.
We had decided on the Sashimi-only Omakase; Toshi's Choice ($80 per person here)
Yaki Hama: Baked Oysters w/ Miso Butter
The Panko topping soaked in the butter and ponzu beautifully, nice buttery crunch to contrast the chewy oyster.
Then came what Teresa explained to be "very Blue Ribbon", two platters of artistically presented bounty:
Sashimi, Mushi and Karai of Ise Ebi: How Much Lobster Can You Handle?
In awe of the presentation, I dug right in the raw lobster flesh. The sinewy meat snaps at the slippery bite, almost like a tendon. A texture I am slowly getting used to as this is only the third time I have it. I enjoyed more the set rolls of the cooked stuff with the foundation of rice.
But I was then completely swooped off my feet with the presentation of their Omakase:
Behold: Blue Ribbon Omakase
From bottom to up:
Noresore--Baby Sea Eel (Shooter in a Ponzu Dashi; Kyushu, Japan)
Binnaga--Albacore (behind cup; Pacific Ocean)
Hotaru Ika--Reef Squid (Lemon Shell drizzled with Mustard ; Setouchi, Japan)
Oshinko--Assorted Pickles (Kyuri Cucumbers, Japanese Squash)
Masu--Tasmanian Sea Trout(Next to Cucumbers; Australia)
Chu Toro--Medium Fat Blue Fin Tuna Belly (Light Pink; Japan)
Shime Saba--Wild Mackarel (Silver Skinned, Crimson Meat; Kyushu, Japan)
Sujiko--Marinated Fresh Salmon Roe (House Cured w/ Soy; Canada)
Uni--Sea Urchin (Pacific Ocean)
Kamasu Sashimi--Torch Seared Barracuda (Last; Japan)
The soy sauce that is issued with the Sashimi is an aged one, as thick as blood and as dark as opaque paint; all the better to complement everything all these rich fishy's.
The Money Shot: Working The Angles Baby
Suffice to say, I was Omega-3'd the hell out and blown away by the distinctness amongst each fish, especially compared to recent Sushi expeditions. I know this because I was not able to plow through everything like I usually do, a new kind of richness I've never encountered before.
But we all know that there is ALWAYS room for dessert.
Ginger Bread Pudding w/ Butterscotch Sauce and Ginger Ice Cream
Another one of Teresa's "must haves", surprisingly light I must say.
Chocolate Bruno w/ Green Tea Ice Cream: My Finale
Reminiscing about it now, I think this is my first ever REAL sashimi experience ever and worth every single penny.
And, NO, this was not a fucken PR meal...
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
308 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019