I may have missed out on Per Se and Eleven Madison Park (due to my naivety to think it's okay to book a week in advance during the Xmas / NYE period), but I wasn't prepared to pass up exceptional Japanese cuisine.
With a bit of fiddling about, we were seated at the sushi bar where we could see the itamae at work. My original plan was to go omakase, sample the best of 15 East. However my original plan did not factor in hitting 3 bars and nibbles before the meal. So instead I picked out all my favourites from the menu, all with a carafe of Hakkaisan.
I won't be describing each piece in detail, but the food was simply extraordinary; each and every piece left me in awe of the chef's precision and the sheer perfection to showcase their delicate flavours. The temperature and thickness of sashimi, firmness and consistency of the rice ball were all at optimum.
Sashimi & Tartare of Bluefin Tuna - akami sashimi, toro tartare, caviar sauce
The chefs kindly split the portion into 2 for Mister and myself to share.
Yellowtail Sashimi Four Ways - kanpachi, shimaaji, hamachi, buri
From left: amber jack, striped jack, yellowtail and wild yellowtail, all paired with slightly flavoured soy sauce to bring out the individual characteristic of each.
My favourite was wild yellowtail, which despite being slightly leaner, carried over strong fishy taste that was complemented by the smoked soy sauce.
Hamachi - Yellowtail
Aji - Horse mackerel & King Tasmania Salmon
Oh-toro - Fatty Tuna
It's Mister's first. I'm not sure if he's got over the experience yet. He marvelled at how the fish literally melted in his mouth, leaving the fish oils to seep through the rice ball and dispersed its indulgent aroma all over. Priceless.
Hotate - Live Scallop & Mirugai - Giant Clam
Namero - Aji tartar with shiso & Ikura
Uni, Hokkaido Japan & Uni, Maine
Another first for Mister. This one got him shaking his head in disbelief and our sushi chef laughed, "First time eh?".
We were served the Japanese sea urchin first. Personally I preferred the one from Maine. It was creamier, sweeter and had a tad more minerality in the morsels; there was more complexity to it compared to the curt and crisp Japanese uni. Mister disagreed, but Chef was on my side with this one.
Rice Pudding Tempura a la mode - Dassai sake-kasu ice cream
A phenomenal dining experience. I'd highly recommend 15 East to anyone looking for the true art of sushi and sashimi. On my next visit, I have the Tasting Menu in mind.
15 East 15 Street
New York City
Tel: 212 - 647 - 0015