Sushi Yasuda

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Traditions for Eating Sushi
“an initiation into the secrets of sushidom”
– Anya von Bremzen, Travel + Leisure,"America's Best Sushi,” March 2001
There are no strict rules about how to eat sushi, but there are a few customs that will enhance your experience. We invite you to try these customs and have fun.
“The restaurant takes pains to advise against overly liberal dousings of soy, wasabi or pickled ginger. No better opportunity may exist to take, on its own terms, what sushi has to offer.”
– Eric Asimov, The New York Times,"Quiet, Please: Sushi Being Served,” 3 stars, November 16, 2011
Shoyu, Wasabi and Gari
Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), pure ground wasabi (a delicately pungent, mountain-grown Japanese root) and gari (pickled ginger, sharp and slightly sweet) are intended to be used in moderation. More than a touch of shoyu, for example, upsets the delicate balance of tastes.

Avoid mixing the wasabi in the shoyu—allow the distinct flavors of the fish, rice and condiments to “meet each other” rather than blend. If you like, eat a piece of gari to refresh your palate for the next kind of fish. Use the gari sparingly and avoid putting it on your sushi or sashimi (or in your shoyu), as it will overwhelm the flavors of the rice and fish.

Traditionally, a sushi meal consists primarily of sushi (fish or other ingredients with vinegared rice). However, you may start with sashimi (fish without rice) to awaken your mouth to the pure flavors of the fish.

Begin your meal by cleaning your hands with the warm, moist oshibori (hand cloth). Pour a small amount of shoyu into your shoyu dish. If you like, take a bit of wasabi between the tips of your chopsticks and put it on top of a piece of sashimi. Then pick up the piece of sashimi with your chopsticks, dip only the edge into the shoyu, and place the entire slice in your mouth.
Between bites of sashimi and depending on which accompaniments the sushi chef provides, enjoy some tsuma (paper-thin ribbons of daikon—giant white radish), kaiware (daikon sprouts) or seaweed. You may also add a bit of tsuma, kaiware or seaweed (but just one at a time) to the top of piece of sashimi to eat together. The daikon provides a refreshing but subtle peppery note.
“Yasuda's impeccable sushi is traditionally pure and pared down”
Time Out New York, Eating and Drinking 2004
When you are ready for a more rounded-out and classic taste, move on to sushi. The two main kinds of sushi are nigiri (hand-formed mounds of sushi rice with fish or other ingredients placed on top) and maki (fish or other ingredients with sushi rice rolled in nori—a thin sheet of dried seaweed, handmade in Japan exclusively for Sushi Yasuda).

When you are presented with sushi, it is best to eat it right away—while the rice is still slightly warm and the fish is slightly cool. Carefully pick up a piece of nigiri or maki with a finger and thumb (chopsticks are fine, if you prefer), and place the entire piece in your mouth. Place the bottom of the sushi (the rice side) on your tongue for the best intersection of flavors, textures and aromas. The rice, which is the most important part of a sushi meal, is prepared throughout the day by the sushi chefs.

When preparing nigiri, the sushi chef usually applies a delicate topping to the fish, such as a sheer coating of Sushi Yasuda’s special house shoyu. Therefore, nigiri is best eaten “straight” without adding extra shoyu. Maki will usually be presented without shoyu. Dip the edge of the maki into the shoyu, applying only a small amount as an accent.
The sushi chef adds a certain amount of wasabi to nigiri and maki, depending on the type of fish being used (fattier fish get more wasabi) and your preferences. If you would like more or less wasabi added to your sushi, it is customary to let the sushi chef know. Also, if you want extra, you may pick up a bit of wasabi with your fingers or chopsticks and put it on the top of your sushi.

For cleaning your fingers during a sushi meal, a yubifuki (a small finger-cloth made of sarashi—fine Japanese cotton) will be provided.

To enjoy a sushi meal in the most relaxing and satisfying way, particularly at the sushi bar, we invite you to order omakase—which means “selected by the chef.”

Following Japanese tradition, omakase is not a prix fixe meal. Rather, you will be presented with a sequence of sushi—and sashimi, if you wish—tailored to your tastes and the sushi chef’s sense of an ideal meal based on the many varieties of fish and other ingredients at hand. Simply tell your sushi chef or server about your sushi preferences and appetite.

Sushi Yasuda welcomes you to try these customs and to enjoy your sushi experience!


204 East 43rd Street New York City 10017 tel 212.972.1001 fax 212.972.1717 tel 212.972.1001 204 East 43rd Street New York City 10017