New York Sushi Ko - Tribeca Pop-Up

I first heard of New York Sushi Ko a year ago ago when I saw Instagram pics of a sushi chef blowtorching bluefin tuna skin until the rendered droplets of fat dripped onto the piece of toro tartare waiting below.

After I wiped the drool from my phone, I learned that the chef’s name was John Daley, a 6’1” American from New Jersey with awesome RICE and FISH knuckle tats.

With only 11 seats at Sushi Ko, I tried and failed a few times to snag a table so I gave up. Fast forward a year when my opportunity came up two weeks ago when my friend, Nina, mentioned Sushi Ko’s popup at Church Street Tavern, a restaurant right across my office.

Fate was knocking, and I was ready to answer.

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The Lure of JKP

I was running 15 min early to catch up with my dear friend, JKP, and decided to partake in happy hour at Lure, a seafood-centric restaurant located in Soho. To get the party started, I ordered 2 dozen Blue Point oysters- slick, briny, and ample. These aren’t the anemic, shriveled specimens you find at other happy hours. The dish of shrimp tempura was also delicious - crispy breading topped with a spicy mayo sauce. After washing that down with a glass of their house chardonnay, I dug into the deviled eggs and the fried oysters with tartar sauce, which is up there with my favorite rendition at Pearl Oyster Bar.

The aroma of Drakkar Noir wafted from behind and I knew JKP had arrived. We exchanged pleasantries but things quickly turned for the worst. You see, JKP is many things: a shrewd businessman always on the hustle, an unselfish wingman who jumps on grenades with arms wide open, and a Jewish Usher/Timberlake/Chris Brownesque dancer that delights the crowd at many bar mitzvahs and K-town karaoke bars.

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Rob's Chirashi Bday Dinner

Last weekend, Rob and Jessica hosted Chirashi Night at their apartment for 16 guests to celebrate Rob’s birthday. After having many food adventures together in 2013, it was no surprise that they were flying in fresh fish from Catalina Offshore and preparing 16 bowls of heaven. I was skeptical about eating fish delivered from a website but after some research about the reputation and reviews of the website, I was sold. And, if anybody could pull off a successful chirashi night, it would be Rob and Jess.

The menu: ahi, maguro, chutoro, scottish salmon, escolar, hamachi, unagi, uni, avocado, masago, ikura, poached egg, and tamagoyaki over sushi rice.

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Sushi Nakazawa: The Apprentice Becomes a Master

My first meal of 2014 was at Sushi Nakazawa, a restaurant that I couldn't get a reservation for last year.

The early buzz was due in part to the fact that its head chef was Daisuke Nakazawa, the hard-working apprentice seeking perfection in the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  In the film, he made over 200 tamagoyaki before getting a nod of approval by Jiro. That tireless commitment to exacting standards would translate well when Nakazawa made his American debut in 2011 at Shiro’s, a restaurant owned by a fellow Jiro apprentice. My friend Kevin recounted a positive experience and said that a flight to Seattle was warranted just to try the omakase.

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NYE 2012 at SakaMai

“What are you doing for New Year’s?” asked Doug.

It was New Year’s Eve and I didn’t have any plans yet. After being in NYC for 6 years, the whole counting down in a club with overpriced bottle service in a throng of sweaty strangers had lost its appeal. Back in 2008, Carson Daly had been a no-show to the official "Carson Daly and Friends NYE party" at $125/ticket (while I was still a temp making minimum wage) -- but I’m not bitter about that any more.

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