The Upper West Side is getting an outpost of the creative, nontraditional omakase from chef Don Pham of Sushi Ishikawa.
The new restaurant, opening Wednesday at 207 W. 80th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues, pulls from Pham’s menu at the UES original, which quickly became known for its omakase priced below $200 — a not-so-common occurrence in NYC — and whacky, over-the-top dishes like nigiri bites topped with gold flakes after opening in 2017.
Ishikawa’s menu is seasonal and is offered at two price points: $125 for the 15-course menu, and $155 for the 16-course menu; there’s also an optional five-course sake and wine pairing for $55. Dishes on the menu right now include bluefin tuna belly topped with black truffle; jumbo shrimp topped with cured roe and foie gras; Japanese milk toast with uni, red caviar, and truffle; and striped jack — a type of white fish — with a chile vinaigrette, crispy shallots, and Thai basil.
The UWS location is half the size of the one across town, with only 12 counter seats. The tiny, minimalist space has a wooden sushi counter and white and gray marble cabinets. “I wanted to keep it as small as possible and ensure that guests have the same experience they do on the East side,” says Pham.
Prior to opening the first Ishikawa in 2017, Pham gained popularity as the executive chef at Tim and Nancy Cushman’s upscale, inventive Kips Bay sushi spot, O Ya. He’s worked at various sushi restaurants in the city for more than 17 years, including stints at Morimoto in Chelsea Market, UES’s Geisha, and its spinoff Geisha Table; the latter two have since closed.
Aside from Ishikawa, other popular and lower-cost omakase sushi spots on the UWS include Sushi Kaito and Sushi Yasaka, both located across from each other on West 72nd Street. Ishikawa’s UWS location opens for dinner on January 15, and the restaurant will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.