NYC’s expensive omakase scene just got way more expensive. Several of the city’s priciest sushi spots — Ginza Onodera, Inoue, and Shuko — will become even more inaccessible as the new decade beckons, meaning that Manhattan now boasts at least 10 sushi omakases that top $300 before wine or tax.
The restaurants attribute the increases to a variety of factors, including rising tuna costs and efforts to improve the diner experience.
Sushi Ginza Onodera — part of a luxury chain with sushi bars in Japan, Shanghai, Honolulu, and Los Angeles — instituted the most dramatic change. The “discount” $300 option is no longer available; diners can only choose the omakase that costs $400, service-included and before supplements or sake.
A spokesperson for the Michelin-starred venue says fishing quotas on tuna contributed to the effective increase.
The rep also says Onodera’s six appetizers are now bigger and feature more luxury ingredients. New chef Kazushige Suzuki has added courses like a “mini-tower” of crab meat with Hokkaido sea urchin and caviar, as well as a slice of grilled otoro topped with white truffles and sweet miso from Kyoto. The meal includes also includes 10 pieces of nigiri sushi.
A majority of customers, per Onodera, were already ordering the $400 menu. The restaurant also continues to offer more approachable lunch tastings from $100 to $150.
Shuko is also raising its prices. That venue, located just south of Union Square, will no longer feature its $185 sushi-only service in the new year. Chefs Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim will instead serve a revamped version of their kaiseki menu at the current price of $225. Tip is extra. “The kaiseki really showcases the full Shuko experience as the chefs intend it to,” a rep for Shuko says.
The move will come as a disappointment to those whose sought out the establishment as a freewheeling and accessible alternative to the city’s ultra-expensive sushi spots. The chefs are famous for peppering this subtle culinary form with stinging Thai bird chiles.
The kaiseki menu’s overhaul comes in response to diner feedback that the current version has “too much food,” per the spokesperson. The new menu will feature “exotic, hyper-seasonal fish and seafood,” according to the rep, as well as a sunomono course (Dungeness crab, uni, vegetables, potato miso), a meat or robata course, a pasta, and 15 pieces of nigiri. The caviar and toro course will remain.
As for Sushi Inoue, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Harlem, both omakase offerings will jump by twenty bucks to $245 and $295, respectively. That’s before a 20 percent service charge. Inoue also offers more affordable a la carte selections and a $100 bluefin tasting. The restaurant did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
And in a related, belated report: Eater NY has learned that the two Michelin-starred Ichimura at Uchū ended its gratuity-free pricing at the end of last year. That means dinner, which remains at $300, will end up running sixty bucks extra after tip. In the venerable social science field known as Suttonomics, that’s what we call a stealth hike.
The increase, according to a spokesperson for Uchū, “helps us maintain our staff and provide the hospitality and culinary experience that is important to Uchu as well as Chef Ichimura.”
Sushi Noda in Flatiron ($285) also performed a stealth hike after opening; I was surprised to discover a gratuity line on the bill during a review meal there in the fall. After adding on 20 percent, dinner works out to $342. That’s an increase of over a hundred bucks for two.