Lunch at Hasaki

Last Friday my boss was kind enough to treat me for an “off campus” lunch at a restaurant of my choosing. Since we were both in the mood for some Asian cusine I figured I’d show her the best sushi the East Village has to offer at Hasaki.
Dining out during lunch is somewhat of a priviledge for me since not many people in the office head out for lunch. Sadly we eat at our desks or trek up to the 14th floor to properly dine in our only lunchroom. Needless to say I was excited by the opportunity to take a nice long lunch and get to know my new boss a little bit better.
Though I’d only been to Hasaki once before, I was quite impressed by what appeared to be a hole in the wall. Since Hasaki resides on the bottom floor of a building, you need to walk down a few steps in order to enter the restaurant, making it easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But after being well attended to by the waitstaff and enjoying some creative maki rolls, I was certainly glad I had stumbled upon this neighborhood gem.
Though Hasaki doesn’t serve traditional $8-10 maki roll lunch specials, I knew my boss would appreciate the quality of the fish and the authentic Japanese decor. After mulling over a few sushi specials we decided to start with the Shrimp Tempura and Miso Soup.
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Shrimp Tempura

 Not having eaten shrimp tempura in a while, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the shrimp were quite tender and embodied by a perfectly crisp exterior. It is common for tempura to be soggy, but not at Hasaki. The shrimp were accompanied by an assortment of tempura vegetables including broccoli, eggplant, carrot, and potato which were all equally delicious. We each also enjoyed a very tasty  Miso Soup. The Miso Soup had an incredibly rich color and flavor, where typically a Miso Soup lacks color and balance. And almost as soon as we completed our appetizers, we were on to our main sushi courses.

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Sushi Adajo – 5 pcs. & spicy tuna roll, yellowtail w/scallion
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Sushi Forte - 7 pcs. & spicy tuna w/ avocado roll

As expected, the sushi was incredibly fresh and beautifully plated. I usually stick to maki rolls, but I decided to mix it up that day with an assortment of sushi including salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and eel. The eel and the tuna were probably my favorites of the plate. I would certainly recommend trying a variety of fish because you really can’t go wrong. Be sure to ask your server what he recommends ordering that day.

Where one might gloss over this neighborhood gem, I’m glad I came across it and was able to introduce it to my boss. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it.

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BONDST: Still Hot or "So 8 Years Ago"?

Although the infamous BONDST has been on my radar for years, last week was the first time I had ever been. I’d heard so many things about BONDST that I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Friends had told me that the rock shrimp was to die for and how sheik the lounge was, and how I should keep my eye out for celebrities. And then I read a review on Menupages that had actually been titled “So 8 Years Ago”. Apparently not EVERYONE thought this place was up to snuff.

My head was spinning with expectations. The only thing I was concerned with was the food, so I took a peak at the menu, in advance, and was delighted with the variety of appetizers, main courses, and sushi that adorned the menu.

When I’d finally stepped in the infamous BONDST last Tuesday night, I was taken aback. The restaurant was filled with a mix trendy, carefree 20 and 30 somethings enjoying drinks or dinner which seemed to be their usual. As we made our way to the second floor, I was relieved to see that it was a bit quieter and less crowded. We were immediately seated and greeted by our waiter.

After giving the wine menu a once over we decided to order a bottle of sake and some Sapporos. We began our meal with some complimentary edamame and sipped our sake as we contemplated what to order. I was so content that I decided to let my date do the majority of the ordering, as he was quite familiar with the menu. We finally ordered the following dishes:

Edamame

Edamame

Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad, orange sesame dressing

Toro Tar Tar

Toro Tar Tar, japanese mustard, sansho pepper seasoning

Lobster Tempura

Lobster Tempura, creamy japanese mustard dressing

Nasu Dengaku

Nasu Dengaku; grilled japanese eggplant, sweet miso sauce

Spicy Yellowtail Roll, red pepper sour miso

Spicy Yellowtail Roll, red pepper sour miso & Spicy Caviar

Sesame Crusted Shrimp Roll, orange curry dressing & reduced balsamic vinegar

Sesame Crusted Shrimp Roll, orange curry dressing & reduced balsamic vinegar

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Me eating sushi : )

Shrimp Special

Shrimp Special

My favorite dishes of the night were the lobster tempura and the special shrimp appetizer. I’m not quite sure what was the shrimp appetizer but it was delicious. The shrimp were crisp on the outside, while perfectly tender on the inside and gently covered in a savory sauce. The lobster tempura was hands down the best tempura I have EVER eaten. The japanese mustard dressing and the mixed greens were a perfect pairing. The Nasu Dengaku, or grilled eggplant was also perfect crisp on the outside incredibly flavorful. The seared shrimp roll was also a very interesting dish. The texture of the tempura flakes with the red pepper sour miso gave a slight curry flavor which was surprising and delightful. Although BONDST is known for their sushi, I must admit that what we ordered tasted slightly fishy. The Toro Tar Tar, the Spicy Yellowtail Roll, and the Spicy Caviar were all a little off. I would recommend going for sushi later in the week, which is probably when a fresh shipment of fish arrives.

Though there were no celebrity sightings that night, the food and ambiance exceeded my expectations and made for a fantastic evening. I definitely think this place is still hot and especially for date night! The only thing I regret about my experience at BONDST was ordering a second bottle of sake.

BONDST

6 Bond St.

New York, Miami, Beverly Hills

Asian Cuisine: Pan Asian or Asian Fusion?

Living in Manhattan has given me a constant craving for all things Asian; well, in terms of food at least. I’m not sure whether it’s because there is an Asian inspired restaurant on every corner or I just love the comforting taste of carbs & MSG. I don’t mean to put down this cuisine by any means, I just don’t quite understand why I love Asian Food so much! And it’s ironic how much I love the stuff given how I enjoy eating healthy.

And speaking of Asian Cuisine, what do you call it? Friends and family members are commonly calling this style of cuisine Pan Asian and it drives me nuts! According to Wikipedia Pan-Asianism is an ideology that
Asian countries and peoples share similar values and similar histories and should be united politically or culturally. This could be why I don’t like the term. But I also just like the way Asian Fusion sounds AND more importantly, it just makes sense. It’s a fusion of Asian cultures, end of story.

In any case, Asian Fusion, along with Thai, Chinese, Cantonese, Japanese, etc are all equally delicious. And because I frequently eat this type of cuisine, I wanted to share some of the Asian Fusion restaurants I’ve been to this month along with a list of my top favorites.

So please stay tuned for some great reviews and recommendations. Some of the restaurants up for discussion this week are:

Bond Street

L’Annam

New Yeah Shanghai

Nice Green Bo (New Green Bo)

Yama