The best sushi bar in New York.
I finally had the opportunity to dine at Brushstroke, which is the best sushi bar in New York, as far as I'm concerned!
The place only has a counter with 6 seats. There's no menu; you're encouraged to ask the sushi chef there and see which fish are the best in season.
There are many sushi restaurants here in New York, but most of them seem to be Americanized in some way. However, Brushstroke keeps it authentic. The sushi chef prepared several kinds of sashimi and sushi for us. The chef gives you descriptions about each of them. Sea urchin and extra fatty-tuna tasted great, of course. Some of the fish that were caught fresh near New York were delicious as well.
I was very happy to eat such delicious sushi with fantastic sake in New York. No wonder it's so hard to make a reservation here.
Ichimura in Brush Stroke
the most incredible dinner at Ichimura at brushstrokenyc w whoamieating started w this plate of small bites: firefly squid w a miso sauce, abalone liver , steamed abalone, this funky super creamy tofu, baby eel w pepper & ponzu & finally squid stuffed w its own roe. every dish was artfully prepared and so elegant yet complex. omakase squid abalone eel tofu
Ichimura is a great restaurant
Ichimura is an amazingly good restaurant, its food and decor is almost perfect, and their service is top tier. The sushi I had there is top 5 in my opinion. I don't think I've seen service more concerned with the customers well being. The decor was also amazing, t was in great taste
Ichimura At Brushstroke
Celebrating greed76 'a birthday at - a beautiful plate of sashimi including giant clam and medium fatty tuna
A few of the gorgeous pieces of sushi from the at including sea eel, jack mackerel and bluefin tuna #HBD greed76
A close up of the Ebi with the uni on top of uni peeking in the back
Three layers of toro!!
Chawanmushi lighter than air!! Egg custard with blue crab, ginger, chives and black truffles
I am really concerned I would not be able to enjoy sushi elsewhere any more
......I have been to many good Japanese restaurants in the city, 15 East, Azabu, Yashuda, Masa etc. But I had not found any of them can compare to the quality and variety of fish that I had in Tokyo, until last night I was invited to a dinner at Ichimura. My search for the perfect (on the east coast of US) sashimi/sushi ended here.
Disclaimer. Friend is a friend of Ichimura san. So we got some special treats that usually not served to regular customers. Being said that, service and food here definitely surpass its peers. The fish was fresh and perfectly seasoned. One thing that sets Ichimura san beyond other traditional edo style sushi places is that he creates and experiments. Aged abalone anyone? Sea pineapple con uni?!
During our 3 plus hour dinner, I heard myself said "foodgasm" more than 3 times!
My favorite of the night was Japanese sardine, aged Japanese mackerel, and domestic sea urchin on Japanese sea urchin. Actually, every bite I had was perfect. Picture worth thousand words. Just check out my pictures. Better still, pick up your phone and make your reservation now!
Ichimura at Brushstroke – Our Jiro!
The Pants visited Brushstroke over a year ago, and found that the bar area there was odd… great design, but the space didn’t attract a bar-menu type of crowd, nor would it be a place you’d go for a drink before dinner besides Brushstroke. I have no idea when, but sometime in the recent past, Chef Ichimura took over and turned the Brushstroke bar space into an 8-seat sushi bar. The “hidden,” tiny, and unexpected sushi bar location is similar to the 3-Michelin-starred sushi outposts across the world in Japan, and as soon as Pete Wells uncovered Ichimura to the foodie world with his review back in September, I couldn’t wait to plop myself down in front of Mr. Ichimura and sample his magic.
Getting a reservation wasn’t a simple task, so make sure you plan ahead – there are basically two seatings where they stagger the times of the 8 lucky guests – so although 9PM sounds late, there will definitely be people arriving after you… and you may even be annoyed, as I was, when you aren’t getting Ichimura’s undivided attention! Another important thing to note – I have batted my eyelashes at every sushi chef from NYC to Japan, and the masters just do NOT care… except Ichimura; he may be the most precious and engaging sushi chef on the planet.
Dinner is a set Omakase; Ichimura will personally ask if you have any preferences or allergies/dislikes, and then offers to start the meal off with crab chawanmushi, which you do not want to decline. Although chawanmushi is technically an egg custard, the bowl presented in front of you is more like a soup (and EXTREMELY hot, so don’t sear your tongue like I did), and the tender crab just melts in your mouth. After this came a sampler plate, which included 6 little bites: monkfish liver, a mushroom salad, a fancy seaweed-type salad, a clam, trout caviar, and a smokey piece of cooked toro. Everything was great, but at this point, Mr. Ichimura had started slicing our sashimi and I was ready to rock (and roll, haha). I almost forgot to mention that with this sampler comes a small bowl with a large piece of uni, in a salty water that only accentuates the awesome flavors of this special roe.
The first round of sashimi was mostly white fish, about 5 different varieties with two pieces of each, and then 3 tuna varieties swiftly replaced their spots. The toro, cut into little blocks, may have been the best I have tasted outside of Japan. After this, Mr. Ichimura handed us pieces of sushi, and even presented soy sauce dishes which is generally a big no-no in the serious sushi world. Upon asking him, he laughed and told me he will let me know which he recommends using soy sauce for so I didn’t have to worry about offending him.
Besides one of the best pieces of uni I have ever eaten, adorned with a dollop of freshly grated wasabi, we were obsessed with a piece of baby red snapper. Something about this particular fish was magical, and although we also enjoyed the more traditional “edo” style pieces (the chef cures them himself which lends a vinegary, smokey taste) and toro, this white fish stole the show. Mr. Ichimura asked us if we wanted any repeats when we were done, so of course we ordered another taste of our favorites (uni, toro, and the baby red snapper).
At this point, the teapots of sake and overall sushi high made us giddy, so we ordered dessert. Although the Pants usually skips the sweet stuff, we were intrigued by the Mirin and Soy Sauce Ice Cream and decided to give it a try. Once put in front of us, Mr. Ichimura came over and placed some fresh wasabi on the soy sauce ice cream, smiled, and told us to trust him. I’d probably trust him with my life! This was an excellent and unique twist to a mainly traditional omakase dinner.
I’m not sure everyone will agree, or even understand Ichimura unless you are a totally sushi whore like me; the sushi couldn’t be fresher, but there are no bells and whistles beyond that to justify the steep price tag. But if I were you, I’d pick up the phone and get your tush onto one of those 8 seats as soon as you can!
Sampler of Amazingness
Select Sashimi from the Omakase
The Pants' favorite Baby Red Snapper Sushi
Edo Style Mackerel
Mirin and Soy Sauce Ice Cream
pants at a glance
NYC: Ichimura at Brushstroke & it's new 2 Michelin Star
Award season for foodies is here! I couldn't care less about which movies win an Oscar, but am all ears when the Michelin Guide releases their list for the year. Even if I don't agree with the ratings all the time (
umm, just how did Pok Pok NY get a Michelin star?
), their stars are definitely one of the most recognized. It's provides great enjoyment to me to see who gains and loses a star.
One of the most surprising news to me for the
is for Sushi Nakazawa to not get any stars, but for Ichimura to make the jump to two Michelin stars! To put things in perspective, there are now 58 one Michelin star restaurants in NYC, but only 9 two Michelin star rated ones. That extra star is a HUGE deal.
So let's talk about Ichimura. The first time I realized that I absolutely needed to eat here was when I saw this picture of a triple stack of otoro. I mean... just look at it!
I mentioned earlier last November when I wrote about my first ever omakase at
, that I'm a sushi noob. While I can distinguish really fresh sushi from the average sushi joint, I'm still working on that sushi tasting palette. I mean, like,
getting into it. Figuring out what temperature I prefer my rice to be. Just how vinegary should the rice be. What makes that perfect cut on a fish want to eat. You know, the nit-picking stuff.
Ichimura at Brushstroke was my second "fancy" omakase. I've had numerous foodie friends who tell me that this is on the top of their list, and one even claims that Nakazawa is nothing compared to Ichimura. Strong words, but I wanted to see for myself. J and I decided to come for his birthday in June 2014. As it turns out, just a week before we made the ressie, they raised the price of their omakase, from $160 to now $180. Painful, but worth it.
Right off the bat, you'll notice that chef Eiji Ichimura is the only person behind the sushi counter serving 8 eager guests. J and I came here a few minutes late, so everyone was already eating their appetizers. Don't be foolish, come on time!!
Enjoyed our 4 appetizer bites, among them were monkfish liver, octopus, uni and some crab on a chip. As we were eating the pre-prepared bites, Ichimura-san was preparing for our sashimi course. Really enjoyed the toro, giant clam and always can appreciate freshly grated sushi. We also ordered some sake which came in the cutest kettle with an ice holder in the middle of it to keep it cold.
The one thing that I was looking forward to the most was this Truffled Chawanmushi with Crab Meat. I've always loved the chinese version of steamed eggs over rice, and chawanmushi is just that. Soft and delicately steamed eggs, topped with an aromatic truffled broth. Just a hint of umami with the crab. Yum-o!
The rest of the meal consisted of nigiri sushi which I decided not to take meticulous notes on throughout the meal. Please enjoy the pictures...
Up until this point, J and I were thoroughly enjoying every single bite. You'll find Ichimura-san very soft-spoken, almost sometimes like he's whispering. Almost like you're going to your friend's nice Japanese grandpa's place. Be polite!
14 pieces of sushi later, I saw Chef take out a large box he kept in the refrigerated cabinet behind him. Out comes his box of perfectly prepared chutoro and otoro. The color on them is perfection, very on trend with a beautiful ombre gradients of pink.
The first piece was a stack of
, medium fatty tuna.
But I had my eye on this triple stack of
the whole time. 3 beautiful thin slices of fatty tuna stacked on top of each other. So drool worthy, melt in your mouth goodness. Tasted like butter of the sea. At this point, I have to point out that a girl who was sitting next to us was visually full and she was almost about to give this piece to her date. It's been a lot of food, but I have a good appetite so I definitely ate it with the quickness.
The final dish to end the night was the only cooked fish of the night, this freshwater eel with a thick unagi sauce that was sweet enough to make this a savory yet sweet dessert.
Since it was J's birthday, we ordered a small dessert to celebrate, a panna cotta topped with a gold flake.
All in all, I found the meal extremely delightful and would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a wonderful sushi omakase. The atmosphere here was a lot more relaxed and quite since there were only about 10 people in the hidden dining room at a time, 8 guests eating, Ichimura-san behind the counter, and the waiter who does all the front of the house stuff.
The walls were also super cool, if you look closely, you'll see that it's made of piles an piles of books stacked in different ways to make a wall.
The main notable differences to me between Sushi Nakazawa and Ichimura at Brushstroke is that you will get more of a variety of food at Ichimura. You start off with 4 bites, then 5-6 pieces of sashimi and a lovely chawanmushi before you start your 17 piece nigiri course.
You also get the full undivided attention of Ichimura-san who is the only person preparing your food. At Nakazawa, there were often sous-chefs who helped him with the preparation. In terms of actual fish quality, rice temperature and flavoring, I'm afraid I'm too much of a sushi-noob to make a full on distinction. I enjoyed both! From this dining experience, I wasn't too surprised that Ichimura gained that extra star. It definitely belongs in the ranks of one of the best meals I've ever had.
I also loved the story of how Chef Eiji Ichimura got started as a dish-washer at a Japanese restaurant, learning how to make sushi by only watching chefs and practicing himself at night. From dish-washer to two Michelin Stars, a big congratulations to Ichimura-san and his team for this amazing accomplishment! It is well deserved.
The #1 sushi experience in NY -- for anybody (including the pickiest Japanese connoisseurs!)
I've been hiding this place from everyone, but this is THE BEST SUSHI place in New York City, maybe within the East Coast as well. All the Japanese New Yorker foodies were disappointed when Mr. Ichimura closed his Midtown restaurant in 2008. That was among the best Sushi places in NYC back then. And we found him back at Brushstroke! I've been going back at least once a month, sometimes every week.
Mr. Ichimura creates an amazing individual flow of food courses during your stay. First to start with a jaw-dropping Golden Crab “Chawan-mushi” Egg Custard Truffle Ankake Sauce, then sashimi course to follow with the real freshly just-grated wasabi, which is not possible to acquire unless you legally import it from Japan. Then maybe around 15 sushi assortments to follow. He will observe each guest's appetite perfectly to know when and what to serve the next. After each course, you can add anything you like to satisfy your stomach -- I always like to get tamago, shrimp, and/or rolls. Then the Brushstroke desserts to finish.
He can create a Kosher course or a non-raw fish course as well.
There are many amazing "Jiro" kinds of Sushi places in Japan, but in NYC, this is it. I don't miss Japan as much as before -- thanks to Mr. Ichimura. However, because of the NY Times article released in Sep. 2012, it is not easy to hold a reservation at Ichimura at Brushstroke any more. He can only serve 16 people a day and there are 30 people on the wait list each day. Good Luck!
NYC Sushi: Ichimura at Brushstroke (Feb. 2013)
Restaurant: Ichimura at Brushstroke
Chef: Eiji Ichimura
Date: February 11, 2013
I’ve been wanting to try this sushi bar–only restaurant for a while now. It’s in a more private dining area than the main dining area of Brushstroke, and there’s been a lot of hype around this restaurant. Reservations are pretty hard to get for this place right now, and there are only 16 covers a night (two rounds of eight).
There was a pretty large selection of fish, and apparently the vast majority of the fish gets shipped from Japan every few days. Everything was really fresh and high quality. Chef Ichimura had the usual choices (tai, saba, otoro, kohada, uni, and so on), but it was nice being able to try kuromutsu (black bluefish), higetara (a type of cod) , shirasu (baby anchovy), and shiraou (icefish).
The rice was soft and fluffy, though I like the sushi rice more at a few other places in NYC (like Yasuda). On the negative side, it started off too warm at first before finally getting to a good temperature (just sliiiiiiiightly above room temperature).
Anyway, you start off with an appetizer or two (chawanmushi and then some fish/vegetable bite-sized tastings) before trying sashimi, sushi, or a mix of the two. I went sushi-only because I was in a sushi mood. (Then again, I’m usually in a sushi mood…)
-The anago, akamutsu, kuromutsu, tai, and uni were really good.
-The ōtoro and chūtoro were AMAZING. Winter is a great time for toro haha ^_^.
-The one disappointing part was the tamago, which didn’t taste special at all.
I had a really good time here, and I thought the meal was really well-priced for what you get. The value to quality and quantity ratio is REALLY good here for sushi! Chef Ichimura is also REALLY nice. That might have helped haha.
Chawanmushi with black truffles, crab meat, chives, and fresh ginger.
There wasn’t too much egg in this chawanmushi, but the egg portions definitely worked well with the crab portions. The black truffles, chives, and fresh ginger added some nuance and complexity to the dish. At the same time, while this was good, I’ve had better chawanmushi at quite a few places.
(Right to left)
1. Uni (sea urchin).
2. Ankimo (monkfish liver) with ponzu sauce.
3. Bamboo shoot with.. something.
4. Himejako (giant clam) with sansho pepper from Kyoto.
5. Marinated tuna with shiso and… something.
6. Herring roe with shiso.
7. Toro with miso and ginger.
-The uni was very sweet and fragrant (as I’d expect).
-The ankimo was good and creamy, but I still liked the ankimo I had at Sushi Yoshitake in HK and Tenku Ryugin in HK more.
-The bamboo shoot was surprisingly enjoyable and provided a nice transition from the creamy uni and ankimo to the giant clam
-The himejako with sansho peppers was delicious, but I think I would’ve liked the clam with or without the peppers–they felt a little unnecessary.
-I didn’t really enjoy the herring roe. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.
-The toro melted in my mouth and was amazing (as expected, though–it wasn’t anything new).
Chef Ichimura’s preparing sushi here.
1. Hirami (fluke).
The rice is fluffy but REALLY warm. The hirami was solid.
2. Higetara (a type of cod).
3. Kinmedai (golden eye snapper).
Hmm, the rice is better. Temperature is right, and still fluffy! The kinmedai was good.
4. Shirasu (whitebait or baby anchovy) from Kyushu.
It was a little fishy but was still really pleasant to eat and easy to enjoy. I’ve never had a sushi piece with any kind of anchovies.
(Apparently, baby anchovies are called shirasu, while adult anchovies are called shirauo.)
5. Tai (red snapper) with shiso and salt.
This was gooooood–basically what happiness tastes like.
6. Shiraou (icefish or noodlefish).
7. Shima aji (striped jack) belly.
This didn’t melt in my mouth like I was hoping it would. However, I’ve never had shima aji belly, so maybe it doesn’t do that. It tasted really fresh.
8. Akamutsu (red bluefish).
9. Kuromutsu (black bluefish).
I had this almost immediately after the akamutsu, and they tasted really similar with some slight differences. Unfortunately, I was just enjoying the pieces here and didn’t really pay attention to those differences haha :(.
10. Saba (mackerel) from Nagasaki with salt and vinegar.
I’m not sure the salt and vinegar were necessary. Then again, the saba taste was very intense, and the salt and vinegar definitely helped temper that a bit.
11. Sayuri (needlefish).
12. Kohada (gizzard shad) with salt and vinegar.
Goooood. It was a little fishy as usual, but i’ve never had kohada that wasn’t at least a little fishy.
13. Aji (horse mackerel).
The aji didn’t really melt in mouth, but it was still really flavorful.
14. Uni (sea urchin).
Sweeeeet and creamy!
15. Bluefin Ōtoro (fatty tuna).
SO GOOD. Melted in my mouth, where an explosion of intense flavor occurred. Cue the usual statements of “This is what Heaven tastes like”, so on, and so on.
At this point in the meal, I’m thinking to myself, “Was that the climax of the meal? Is it all downhill from here?”
16. Hotate (scallop).
Objectively, it was good, though a little hard–I prefer scallops softer. Still, it pales in comparison to the toro. It’s like
17. Aged chūtoro (medium-fatty tuna).
HERE WE GO. Back to Heaven! This was amazing. I’m starting to like akami (lean tuna) more and more, even preferring it to toro at times. This still had the fattiness and creaminess of the toro, but it also had a little of the meatiness of tuna that I so enjoy.
At this point, he’s asking if there are any other pieces I want to eat. MUST. KEEP. GOING. (He suggests giant clam and anago, which I gladly accept. I ask if he has any akami, and he’s not sure–he has to check.)
18. Himejako (giant clam).
Really similar to other really good himejako that I’ve had.
19. Anago (saltwater eel).
It didn’t have any of the sweet sauce, so I tasted a lot more of the actual eel–and it was amazing. It melted in my mouth and was sweet but not too sweet. Hmm… I might actually prefer anago without the sauce…
20. Hand roll with shiso and plum sauce.
Chef Ichimura suggested that I finish the seafood with this because it would help my digestion. The seaweed was really good, and the plum sauce and shiso worked well together.
Unfortunately, the tamago didn’t really taste special at all.
Seasonal fruit and sake kantern.
Orange, grapefruit, red and green grapes, apple, and kumquat. Served with sake gelée.
This dessert was very refreshing and sweet, but at the same time it felt really light. This feels like it would be an amazing summertime dessert
Brushstroke is a Michelin acclaimed restaurant that serves Japanese food. They are located in Tribeca in New York on Hudson Street. This restaurant has a four star rating with many four and five star ratings
Many people who eat here enjoy the food very much. Some in particular like the egg custard soup, red miso soup and some of fine sushi they serve. Many people enjoy the quality of the food for the price that it is sold for.
As for the ambience of this particular restaurant, reviewers state that it is very upscale with an average noise level. People say this is a good place to bring groups but not so great to bring children.
Many reviewers like the staff that is working here. They really enjoy the attentiveness of the staff and how friendly they are. This restaurant has take out, and delivery options. This restaurant does accept multiple forms of payment.