When it comes to Japanese food, authenticity is key--and rare. However, my new Upper East Side favorite, Sushi Seki, has the cuisine perfected. Even the restaurant space is tiny in typical Japanese style. The front of the restaurant holds the sushi bar and a few two tops. Past the host stand is the miniature-sized dining room. Though small in size, Seki is in top demand. Sitting without a reservation is nearly impossible unless you arrive past midnight. Fortunately, the sushi bar stays open until 3 am.
During my first dining experience at Sushi Seki I was accompanied by one of their top regulars who happens to be one of my closest friends. It is not unusual for her to frequent the place 3 times a week. Every Tuesday you are guaranteed to find her fulfilling her 9 pm reservation. The impressive list of sake had many options within an exceptional price range. We started with two carafes of sweet, in-season sake, especially selected by our waiter. I appreciate the wait staff. They are all exceptionally generous and friendly.
As I was in my friend’s sacred territory, I let her order for me. First, two pieces of salmon and tomato were selected. A unique combination for sushi, the peppered tomato on top made for just the right bite. A spicy tuna roll and spicy scallop roll were ordered next. Definitely not to be missed is the spicy scallop. Though on the salty side, the scallop tempura was such a rich delight. I imagine I will forever enjoy this roll. The freshness of the seafood here is unparalleled. Sill, have no fear of bringing meat eaters to Seki. They have a delicious teriyaki steak and one of their best appetizers is the pork gyoza.
Mochi is easy to find and surprisingly legitimate in New York. Most restaurants offer the frozen version, as does Sushi Seki. A colorful trio arrived at our table with precision. I have to say the mochi at Seki is by the far the best I have tried. The vibrant passion fruit cooled my tongue delightfully. I consumed them all without hesitation.
All great things come at a price, however. Though appropriately priced, as the quality is phenomenal, Seki remains on the more expensive side of sushi dining. We were faced with an upwards of 100 dollar tab, before tip, between the two of us. Perhaps without the sake the bill would have been cheaper but surely a lot less fun!