Japanese fish import Wokuni’s Murray Hill restaurant gets the thumbs up from Pete Wells in the Times this week — particularly for chef Kuniaki Yoshizawa’s deft use of incredibly fresh fish.
The izakaya’s sushi and sashimi both come via fish flown in from Japan daily, with selections from the famed Tsukiji fish market and a fish farm that parent company Tokyo Ichiban Foods owns. Wells finds the resulting raw selections to be “exceptionally good and almost bizarrely fresh,” and daily specials like an $18 kaisen-don with sashimi and fish is “one of the best raw-fish deals in town.” Cooked fish, too, works here, Wells writes:
The grilled collar at Wokuni one recent night was one of the greatest pieces of cooked fish I’ve had in a long time, every bit of it worth chasing into the hollows of bone, skin and cartilage where it hid. It is not always available, but the grilled bluefin tail is, carved into a steak with the backbone sliced open so you can get at the teaspoonful of hot, clear jelly inside the spine.
Mr. Yoshizawa has had the surprising idea of treating the angles and corners of the sea bream’s body like chicken wings. Tucked into triangles, fried until crunchy and served with lemon, they are meant to be gnawed on between sips of sake.
Non-fish options are more of a miss, like fried Japanese mountain yam chips and grilled scallops, Wells writes. Still, the affordability and freshness of the other options make it a win. One star.