Where To Eat Sushi In The West Village
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Given the real estate prices and abundance of celebrities who live in the neighborhood, you’d think the West Village would be filled with high-end sushi spots where you have to pass a credit check in order to eat. But that's not really the case. There are some reasonable options that are great for weeknights, in addition to a few mid-tier spots for when you want to have a sub-$100 omakase. Of course, if you want to spend several hundred dollars on toro and uni, you can do that as well.
When Sushi Nakazawa opened in 2013, $150 still felt like an intimidating price tag for an omakase. Now, there are a ton of spots where you can easily spend $300 or more. This puts us in the awkward position of having to tell you that, at $180 for 21 courses, Sushi Nakazawa is actually a pretty good deal. Don’t tell anyone we said that, but do come here for your next special occasion. The gallery-like black and white space is starting to feel a bit dated, but the fine-dining-style service (servers in suits, wine pairings, etc.) is still excellent, and the simply dressed nigiri is near-perfect.
Sushi Katsuei—which also has a location in Park Slope—exists in that useful middle ground between casual neighborhood spot and high-end omakase place. Rolls start around $10, and there’s a small sushi set you can get for less than $30, but there are also a few omakase options. For $65, you can get nine pieces and a handroll, or you can opt for a $90 omakase that comes with sashimi. Either way, you’ll get some interesting pieces, like giant clam or barracuda. Come when you want to eat exceptional sushi in a relatively casual setting, and sit at the bar for the best experience.
At Kosaka, you’ll feel like somebody is about to place cucumber slices over your eyes and give you a massage. This is a tranquil spot with a sleek L-shaped bar, and it’s the kind of place where a server will materialize to wipe up a drop of soy sauce as soon as it lands anywhere other than your plate. They only serve a $250 omakase here, and it consists of an amuse, sashimi, 12 sushi courses, soup, and a dessert with tea. The quality of all the raw fish is very high, and the ever-so-slightly-warm rice is neither too loose nor too sticky. We especially like the Japanese grouper prepared with sea salt and key lime.
Sushi 456 looks unremarkable, but don’t let that fool you. This little place on Hudson Street—with a small counter, a few tables, and a smooth jazz soundtrack—is one of the top sushi destinations in the West Village. Think of 456 as an overachieving neighborhood spot where you can eat a few rolls or have a 10-piece $70 omakase with impeccable fish like silky king salmon and amberjack with bits of jalapeño. Reservations aren’t hard to get, and you can bring your own booze.
If you need a cute, convenient place to eat temaki with a friend, Nami Nori is a solid choice. They now have locations in Williamsburg and New Jersey, but this West Village one is the original. The space is bright, pleasant, and filled with blonde wood, and the menu consists of small plates (like furikake fries and calamari) and various U-shaped handrolls. Some of these handrolls are a little more inventive—the coconut shrimp one with green curry, for example—but we like to stick to the classics. Eat some salmon and spicy tuna, and get out for less for $40.
At this 14-seat BYOB spot, there are two omakase options: $75 for 12 pieces or $115 for 17. Both involve incredible fish. Nearly every piece comes with something special on top—our favorites include the chutoro with pickled wasabi and the slightly-seared tuna with pickled onion that somehow tastes like a summer barbecue. If you’re looking for a low-key place to eat excellent sushi, this is somewhere you should know about.
Sushi On Jones is like that one friend who invites everyone over and hires a mariachi band, but starts fake-yawning and checking the time while people are still eating. It’s fun but it’s also uptight. The little omakase counter in the West Village—which has three other locations around the city—gives you 45 minutes to eat a 12-course $68 omakase (or a 20-course $120 one). The sushi itself is great, and the room is fun, but you’ll have to get up and leave before you know what hit you.
There’s nothing remarkable about Umami. But the individual pieces of sushi here start around $3, and—despite the tiny space—tables aren’t hard to come by. If all you want to do is eat a spider roll and some salmon nigiri without having to spend more than $30, pop in for a quick meal. You probably won’t remember your food the next day, but this little seven-table spot will get the job done.