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When it comes to sushi in Toronto, my first choice is always Yuzu, sitting in front of chef Bruce Bu. But when it comes to New York, I can now say there’s no sushi experience that tops sitting at the bar in the capable hands of Naomichi Yasuda. I did a lot of research about good sushi restaurants before my recent visit to NYC, and was intrigued by Sushi Yasuda (204 East 43rd St at 3rd Ave.), which was reviewed as “not for beginners” and “the best sushi of my life.”

According to his website, Mr. Yasuda sees each piece of sushi as a whole story in itself. He told me to eat every piece whole, in one bite, and not to use any additional soy sauce. As you can see in this video, Yasuda applies his special soy with a brush in exact proportion to each piece.

There are actually three ways to order at Sushi Yasuda:
1) Omakase style
2) Off the regular menu
3) Piece-by-piece from their extensive list (with the freshest fish of the day highlighted with a red mark)
I chose the latter option and was handed a sheet that listed 54 different kinds of available fish. It was the deepest sushi menu I’ve ever seen.

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I’ve eaten a lot of sushi and have never come across five types of salmon before. I tried (pictured from left) White King Salmon ($5), Sockeye Salmon from Copper River ($5) and New Zealand King Salmon ($4.50). I could taste the difference between each piece. “Good,” said Yasuda in response. “Different character, different fish.”

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My favourite by far was the Tazmanian Trout ($4). Yasuda placed this single piece in front of me and insisted I eat it right away. He explained it’s at the right temperature at that very moment. This morsel is something I will never forget. I’ve never heard of this type of fish, but its taste is etched in my brain forever. It was smooth and fatty with a firmness that caused it to resist slightly as I bit down. I know this isn’t correct, but it was the equivalent of “al dente” sushi.

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Yasuda is known as a Toro (Tuna) specialist and offers seven different levels of tuna “fattiness.” This incredibly marbled piece set me back $8 and was the fattiest of them all. It was meaty and substantial, and the stripes of fat made it so buttery I felt my insides sigh.

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I also tried two types of Yellowtail (Warasa and Wild Kanpachi), sea scallop and fresh white sea eel. I ended with one more Tazmanian Trout piece, then it was a wrap. The bill was tallied up, and I consumed almost $44 of sushi for lunch. As clichéd as it sounds, it was worth every penny.

If you’re a sushi lover, a visit to Sushi Yasuda in New York is a must. Be sure to make a reservation. This tourist counts herself as very lucky to walk and wait only 20 minutes for a spot at the bar with one of Yasuda’s many disciples. Believe me, you’ll be converted in no time.

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