Champagne taste, beer budget.
There’s nothing fishy about this $50 sushi tasting menu.
At Sushi by Bou, a four seat sushi counter at Gansevoort Market in the Meatpacking District, diners get the exciting experience of watching a sushi chef carefully construct each piece of fish like they would at a fancier place like Nobu or Morimoto, but at a fraction of the cost.
The other catch – besides the fish served up in the chef-selected menu – is that the meal lasts for just 30 minutes.
“I’m a millennial and me and my friends don’t have $200 to spend on a Tuesday night sushi dinner in New York City. I wanted to create accessible sushi, and make a getaway to high-end sushi,” chef David Bouhadana tells Moneyish, of his high quality meets fast-casual sushi concept.
Bouhadana, a 31-year-old self-proclaimed “Jewish guy from Florida,” who studied the art of sushi making in Japan, has impressive culinary cred. He’s worked at Sushi Dojo, and ran Sushi on Jones in New York, a similar four-seat omakase restaurant that’s also more affordable than high price point competitors.
The Japanese speaking Bouhadana wanted to create a less serious and stuffy ambiance to enjoy really good sushi for less, so bringing the 30-minute concept to a 120-square-foot space inside the bustling grab-and-go style Gansevoort Market was a no-brainer.
At Sushi By Bou, instead of spending upwards of one to two hours to get through 20 pieces of fish, Bouhadana cuts his menu down to 12 courses. Saving on Manhattan restaurant rent, a sommelier and other expenses that go into lavish restaurants like ample wait staff allows him to serve the Grade A sushi for a lot less.
Each course is timed perfectly, and since it’s one piece of fish per course, you’re not lingering — or struggling — to finish leftovers. As diners finish their last bite, the next seating shuffles in. Sake and green tea are available (not included in the $50), but don’t expect cocktails.
“We give you the best for your buck. It’s taking away the thrills and just giving customers the best pieces in a very relaxed atmosphere,” Bouhadana assures.
He selects the most popular kinds of fish like yellow tail, a variety of tuna, salmon, uni (urchin), scallop and botan shrimp. When asked what the most luxe course eaters can expect, Bouhadana says it’s the “Wagyuni” – waygu beef and bright orange uni – topped with palate popping truffle salt.
Other omakase tasting menus like Masa Takayama’s namesake restaurant Masa in Midtown West cost $595 per person, not including tip or alcohol. And if you dare cancel a reservation, diners get charged a whopping $200 per person. And at Morimoto in Chelsea, the chef’s choice menu is $137 per person, and an extra $78 if you want a sommelier to select wine and sake pairings.
At Sushi by Bou, eaters are encouraged to “text for a good time” to make reservations, though walk-ins are more than welcome (Sushi By Bou, 353 W 14th St, New York, NY 10014).
Here are other tasting menus under $100 that don’t skimp on the posh experience:
Babu Ji Chef’s Tasting Menu, $62 per person (22 E. 13th St., NYC)
This Alphabet City restaurant boasts playful Indian street food with an inventive twist in a modern artsy ambiance.
You get nine courses packed with classic flavors of Indian curries and spice mixed in with entrees like the Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower, Butter Chicken and Babu’s Daal. Expect bites like potato sphere chaat; kashmiri morels with walnut powder and Parmesan; and for dessert, strawberry chaat.
The restaurant is always packed, so reserve online.
Special Club Tasting Menu at Air’s Champagne Parlor, $40 (127 Macdougal St. NYC)
Champagne dreams become a reality at this newly opened champagne lounge lavishly decorated like a living room in the West Village.
The tasting flight contains three glasses of Champagne personalized for each guest’s preference. Ariel Arce, sparkling wine connoisseur and owner, will ask you a series of silly questions like “what kind of coffee do you like?” and “what’s your zodiac sign?” before presenting you with something fizzy and fabulous.
Tasting menu at Commonwealth, $75 (2224 Mission St., San Francisco, CA)
This American restaurant in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District incorporates modern American dishes and donates a portion of each month’s revenue to local non-profits.
For $75, eaters get six courses, like oysters poached in their shells with hibiscus, horseradish and sorrel ice; lamb shoulder with cherry tomato in yogurt sauce; and desserts like chocolate ganache.
Zuma Las Vegas, $60 per person (Located inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel, 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV)
This trendy, high-end Japanese restaurant is a celebrity haunt with locations from New York to Dubai.
The three course, $60 Japanese menu starts with a simple miso soup or salad, and offers more elaborate starters like fried soft shell crab with wasabi mayo and yellowtail sashimi with a zesty green chili relish. Entrees include bites like salt grilled branzino and beef tenderloin with sesame, red chili and sweet soy.
Bodega Negra Family Style Menu, $95 per person, (355 W. 16th St., New York, NY)
This dimly lit, Mexican-inspired dining den below the Dream Hotel in the Meatpacking District is the perfect group-dining spot.
The family-style tasting menu features spicy bites like chile braised short ribs, and chipotle honey glaze ribs. Light menu items include shrimp with tomato, lime and cilantro; and soft shell crab tacos. Work your way up to the Carne Asada, grilled New York strip steak with mole, mushrooms and peppers.
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