Tab Tos is a tiny, 10-seat sushi restaurant on East 5th Street. It's the kind of restaurant that helps define what dining should be in New York City: local, mostly unknown (a mere two photos of it on Flickr, one of which is seen here)—and totally addictive. A Gridskipper post from August summed up its charms nicely: "With only a dozen seats at this popular and delicious sushi spot, the elderly matron running the place doesn't screw around and will scold those who step out of line. But she never screws up, and she is incredibly efficient." And incredibly delicious. (The sushi, not the matron. We digress.)
Which is why this Eater reader email has darkened our afternoon:
This may be a bit too lowbrow or neighborhood-focused to warrant your interest, but it looks like E 5th St's best kept sushi secret Tab Tos has closed. Or rather, I should say, it's under new management. The cute Japanese family that ran the place for the last four years has been replaced by new owners who've renamed the place Fish Tail and ditched the homey decor. Although they have basically kept the menu -- and even recipes -- intact (with a slight price hike here and there), the quality and craftsmanship of the food has taken a nosedive. The place was literally covered in flies on our last visit (it would not be an exaggeration to say they numbered in the hundreds) and the fish seemed slimy and less than fresh. I know there are probably people who were glad to see the "Sushi Nazi" go, but I miss her already. Do you or your readers know if the family has any new restaurant plans in the works? I'm dying for a Tab Tos salad.Putting aside our will to rant about the absurdist indignity of the generic new name, anyone know more?
· Notes from a Waitress: Favorite East Village Hangouts [Gridskipper]