Interior: At the sushi bar & dining room
15 East is one of the few Michelin starred, Japanese restaurants I’ve been wanting to dine at for the past couple of years, as I’ve been hearing very good to excellent things about their sushi.
Perusing through their menu, and coordinating with my mother’s schedule, we had the lunch prix menu of three courses for $32. This particular menu changes accordingly with the season but looked back in retrospect, it’s mostly derived from their regular lunch menu.
Of the three options of the first course, I opted for their trio of oysters – the Kumamato, Kushi and Shigoku oysters with a soy based mignonette. All of these oysters were superbly fresh and clean flavored. My favorite was the super sweet Kumamato.
My mother’s cold asparagus soup (it was pretty warm day) was refreshing and sung of spring. The delicately sweet asparagus soup was sweet and not creamy heavy. The small speckles of diced ham added some salinity that’s appreciated.
My main course of sushi consisted of four nigiri-style sushi (scallop (hotate), spotted sweet shrimp (bontanebi), red snapper (tai), and King salmon (from Tasmania)) and a sushi roll (maki) of negitoro (toro tuna and scallion). While all the seafood on these sushi was superbly fresh, pristine flavored, and delicious, I thought the rice was a touch too wet for my preference on both applications.
Hot soba noodles with shrimp tempura
My mother always loved noodles so she opted for the hot soba noodles with shrimp tempura. The soba was tasty and it had its trademark grit-like chew when bitten down except it it’s overcooked that the noodle’s texture was too soft. The shrimp tempera was pretty darn good. The wispy tempura crust unraveled a large prawn (almost as large as my palm) and it’s cooked perfectly.
Come dessert time, we shared the “Tofu” and the soba ice cream and passion fruit sorbet. The soba ice cream was the most unusual of the list of flavors dictated to us and it was pretty delicious. Nutty from the buckwheat flavor and very creamy. The passion fruit sorbet isn’t too different than others I’ve eaten from various restaurants or ice cream shops but it’s tasty and tart like passion fruit should be.
The “tofu” dessert is actually a dairy based dessert rather than soy milk. It’s luxuriously rich and creamier version of dofu fa (豆腐花). The thick, not too sweet, kuromitsu syrup was a traditional but great compliment to this dessert. (If they did sell this “tofu” in large quantities, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one to go and be a very happy camper.)
Admittedly, lunch may not be the best time to really have the kitchen to showcase their food but service was attentive and very knowledgeable. The dining room was very civil as the noisiest it’s been when everyone was talking in normal voice levels that it sounds convivial, while at it’s later times, it’s very civil and modestly quiet. I am inclined to revisit and have their omakase for dinner soon as the sushi does show promise.
To view more photos of this meal, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set:
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15 E 15 Street (between 5th & Union Square W)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 647-0015