Our Favorite Casual Neighborhood Sushi Spots In NYC
Searching for that elusive middle ground of reasonable, casual neighborhood sushi? Here's where to find it.
In this city, there are a lot of different kinds of sushi. There’s the type you eat at JFK while you stare at a rainy tarmac, and there are sushi meals that cost as much as a two-night stay in a hotel (breakfast included). This guide is for all the places in between. When you’re looking for some casual sushi, these are the spots you want. They’re reasonably priced, and they all serve quality fish.
The Best Sushi In NYC
This place in Prospect Heights with a shoji screen and a little Bonsai tree looks like hundreds of other neighborhood sushi spots, but that’s where the similarities end. Sushi Lin is serving some of the best sushi in the city—not just for a casual spot, but for any spot. The focus here is on quality fish, and for $33, you get nine pieces of thick-cut nigiri along with soup and a negi toro roll. It’s a deal that should cause lines around the block. There’s another location in Soho, but it’s omakase-only.
Sushi 35 West
To get to Sushi 35 West, you walk into a smoke shop a few blocks from Penn Station, turn right, and head up a grungy industrial staircase, at which point you’ll arrive in what feels like a freight elevator hallway. Yes, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll find some of the best takeout sushi in the city. Try the $22 lunch set that comes with six nigiri and a roll, or get one of the donburi options. The quality of the fish is as good as many omakase-style spots.
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When you want top-tier Japanese comfort food in a casual setting, make a reservation at Hibino in Cobble Hill. The room has minimal decor and lots of little tables, and it’s quiet enough for an actual conversation. This izakaya does everything well, from the rotating daily selection of obanzai and sushi specials to house-made tofu and tonkatsu. They also serve salmon, tuna, and anago hako sushi, as well as a full menu of rolls and nigiri.
photo credit: Gouie
There are always new sushi options in NYC, but it’s hard to find spots that focus on high quality without requiring deep pockets. This casual place in The Market Line with a large U-shaped counter has a $35 seven-piece-and-half-roll special that’s just that: special (and not only because of the price point). All the fish here is buttery, and the rice is seasoned with just a kiss of vinegar. There are also more expensive sushi plates if you want premium pieces like sea urchin and fatty tuna.
Sushi Katsuei has some of the best sushi in Brooklyn, and their excellent $57 omakase is a great deal. But they also have an extensive à la carte menu as well as a $35 "sushi deluxe," which means you can get in and out with a quality meal for less money. If you aren’t in Brooklyn, there’s a second location in the West Village.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
Tomoe Sushi, which closed in 2021 after almost 40 years in business, has been resurrected as Tomo21 Sushi. The dining room and menu haven’t changed, the fish is still high-quality, and you’ll walk out feeling like you somehow underpaid for the amount of sushi you got. (Tomoe’s signature long-and-thick portions of fish have remained, so each piece feels like a two-for-one deal.) This Greenwich Village spot is perfect for when you’re in the mood for sushi that’s better than your go-to Seamless option.
Daigo Hand Roll Bar
You sit at a wooden counter at this stall at the Dekalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn, and this spot isn't trying to be "inventive,” which we find kind of refreshing. The focus at Daigo is on quality fish, good rice, and crispy nori. Unlike some other handroll spots, you order à la carte here rather than commit to a full omakase situation. You can also get everything on the menu as a rice cup—but rolls are really the move here. Eat them quickly, so the nori doesn’t get soggy.
This neighborhood Japanese spot has been around since the ’80s, and it seems like not much has changed since then. One of the walls is covered in decades worth of scribbles and paint, and the sushi chefs look like they’ve been bobbing their heads to R&B slow jams while compiling spicy tuna rolls since the dawn of time. There’s never much of a wait, and it’s always packed, so take a seat at the triangular sushi bar, and enjoy the D’Angelo.
photo credit: Maki Kosaka
This casual offshoot of a fancy omakase spot called Kosaka is located near The Container Store in Flatiron with counter seating that wraps around an area where the chefs prepare all your sushi. And just like America’s foremost Organization Consortium, Maki Kosaka’s perfectly-plated makimono sushi sets will remind you that an orderly, minimalist aesthetic is extremely pleasing to your brain. You can get handroll sets with things like seared scallop and bluefin toro, or you can order what you want à la carte.
photo credit: Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa
Much like driving and complaining about driving, Sugarfish is big in Los Angeles. That’s where this extremely popular sushi chain started. New York’s first location opened on 20th Street, and it tends to get busy, but at least there are other outposts in Soho and Midtown now. Once you get seated, you want one of the “Trust Me” sets (starting at $37 at lunch, including tip), which come with an assortment of sushi, sashimi, and handrolls.
photo credit: Kate Previte
KazuNori: The Original Hand Roll Bar
Kazunori (from the Sugarfish team) specializes in handrolls and attracting crowds of people who like to eat them. The blue crab and toro versions are our favorites, and for $23 you can get a four-roll set that includes both of those. On a weeknight, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get a seat at the counter (there aren’t any tables here), but we wouldn’t recommend bringing more than one other person with you. Takeout is an option if it’s slammed.
Pink Nori serves relatively affordable sushi and Japanese small plates just off Steinway Street, a couple blocks from the Broadway N/W stop in Astoria. The all-white space has tables along one wall, a bar up front, and a chef’s counter towards the back, and there are plenty of combos in the $20 range, including a 15-piece sashimi platter for $24.
Roy's Fish and Sushi Market
Roy’s looks like it's just another old-school neighborhood fishmonger, but there's a small sushi bar in the corner. The quality of the rolls, nigiri, and sashimi is impressive—especially considering the majority of the combo platters cost under $20. Seating options are limited to a small bench with no table, but you can always just take your fluke and salmon to go.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
For an unassuming (yet charming) spot on Myrtle Ave that you can pretty much always get into, U-Gu has no business being as good as it is. Eight pieces of nigiri plus a roll will cost you roughly $30 here, and you can be confident that your sushi will be both high-quality and substantial. The menu also has a bunch of à la carte rolls as well as donburi and ramen.
Momoya is the sushi headquarters for all residents of Chelsea high rises. What do those residents come for? Spicy tuna on crispy rice. The goma-ae spinach with sesame sauce is incredible, too. And, while the space isn't anything fancy, there are a good number of tables and a large white marble counter, and it works well for a date or even a work lunch if your office is nearby. This place also has locations on the Upper West Side and Soho.
In a neighborhood full of high-end restaurants, Takahachi (with another location in the East Village) stands out as a casual place where you can show up in sweats and have great sushi. Their regular menu has a limited selection of raw fish (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and not much else), but they always offer a rotating choice of special pieces like trout from Iceland or buri from Japan. If you don't want to make decisions, go for the $28 sushi deluxe, which comes with eight pieces of nigiri and a tuna roll.