Fresh off burning Peter Luger in his last review, Times critic Pete Wells is celebrating the phoenix-like return of sushi place Uogashi, which literally burned to the ground last year but quietly reopened in a new Theater District location. For the price and the quality — a platter for $45 to $48 and omakase meals starting at $95 — it gets two stars, the critic writes.
Now located at 318 West 51st Street at Eighth Avenue, Uogashi looks less impressive than it did when it was in the East Village, with a “boxy” dining room, and tables “wedged in wherever they would fit,” he writes. Sure, it was good originally, Wells writes, but at the new location, Uogashi is even more remarkable — especially when sushi restaurants are getting so expensive.
Highlights include gizzard shad, touched with salt and vinegar, which is “like eating a bite of pickled herring and chasing it with a gulp of very dry, very cold Champagne,” and engawa:
...a fluke’s dense and chewy outer perimeter, the muscular edge that sends the rest of the fish fluttering along the ocean floor... Short strips so firm they almost crunch will be piled over rice, seasoned with a dab of the spicy daikon paste called momiji oroshi, and finished with a tiny shard or two of sea urchin. The sushi chefs have had several varieties of urchin lately; you might want try the smaller, sienna-colored lobes of bafun uni from Hokkaido to compare them with the less-intense and creamier Murasaki uni from Maine.
Uogashi opened in the East Village in 2017 and gained a reputation for offering affordable, high quality sushi there, with Eater critic Robert Sietsema praising the selection. A fire erupted in its building in last October.
Wells points to the pedigree of the chefs behind the counter — former colleagues of Sushi Noz chef Nozomu Abe. Uogashi is ultimately “better than anyone cheaper and cheaper than anyone better,” he writes. Two stars.