Hidden at the bottom of his review of Degustation, you may have noted that Mr. Frank could not resist hating on Jewel Bako, giving it just one star:
[W]hile Degustation is carving a distinctive niche, Jewel Bako belongs to a genre more familiar and competitive now than it was in 2001, when the restaurant opened...It's no longer easy for any one of these restaurants to stand out. In small ways Jewel Bako does...Those keeping score may want to note this as the official beginning of the end for Jewel Bako (though we did mention the debacle back in November), the sushi mecca owned by a man who once said, "I'll be the Danny Meyer of the East Village."
But on recent visits there were too few instances of extreme sushi bliss, even during a $95 omakase menu, even from such usual standouts as o-toro, which had unpleasantly ropy veins, and uni, which was unusually grainy. Among several disappointing appetizers, a wedge of salmon and a scallop were seriously overcooked.