One of New York City’s top sushi chefs is back with her well-received omakase pop-up. Oona Tempest will revive Sushi by Bae next month — except this time it will be a permanent sushi counter in Union Square.
Sushi by Bae initially began as a sister pop-up to David Bouhadana’s proliferating Sushi by Bou back in 2017, and the idea is similar here. She’ll open a six-seat counter at 118 East 15th St., near Irving Place, on May 1, with a Sushi by Bou to open at the counter’s other six seats later in the month.
Sushi by Bae will follow a timed format, with a 90-minute, 15-course Edomae-style omakase, priced at $110. Diners can expect pieces of fish sourced from both Japan and the U.S. like a Japanese sea bream aged in kelp, cuttlefish, rosy seabass, and Hokkaido uni, though the menu will constantly evolve, Tempest says. Joshua Batista, who has worked with Sushi by Bae partner Simple Venue for a while, will lead the beverage program, which includes cocktails — an unusual element for omakase.
The new restaurant was born from a partnership with Michael Sinensky and Erika London of hospitality group Simple Venue, which also runs Lost Hours in Hotel 32 32, Hudson Terrace, Sidebar, and the Ainsworth. It’s also the same group that owns Sushi by Bou, though Bouhadana — who came under criticism for questionable behavior in the past — is not a partner in Bae and has no financial involvement.
Tempest’s Sushi by Bae brand began as a pop-up inside Bouhadana’s Sushi by Bou within Meatpacking’s Gansevoort Market in 2017. Tempest, 26, was an apprentice of the late chef and respected NYC sushi master Toshio Oguma, working under him at acclaimed Upper East Side restaurant Tanoshi Sushi.
Though she’s most recently spent time at high-end, pricey sushi counters like Shoji at 69 Leonard Street and Sushi Ginza Onodera, she aims to keep things more casual at her own restaurant. She plans to follow Oguma’s philosophy in that it shouldn’t cost New Yorkers “an arm and a leg to have good sushi,” she says, one of the reasons she’s pricing the 15-course menu at $110 — to make it “more accessible.”
Sushi by Bae is located in the same space as sports bar Sidebar, though it has a separate entrance. It’ll be open from Tuesday to Saturday with three seatings per night, at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9 p.m. Reservations are now open.