photo credit: Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa
On the west coast of America, there’s a mysterious city you may have heard of, called Los Angeles. You may know some things about this land’s strange and unusual ways: its citizens own automobiles, and for recreation they enjoy walking up dusty hills with the companionship of a canine. At mealtimes, the residents typically place avocado on top of a bowl filled with other green vegetables, and frequently speak of their fondness for a hamburger restaurant and its “Animal Style” dishes. Whether they actually frequent these “In-N-Out” establishments regularly is uncertain, but mentioning this burger seems to be code for establishing one’s connection to the city. There is another place that restaurant-going Los Angeles residents also speak about frequently, and actually eat in frequently as well. This restaurant is called Sugarfish.
The reason we are taking you on this anthropological journey is that Sugarfish, which is known for its relatively affordable sushi menus, has arrived in New York. Sugarfish’s formula is simple: there are three set “Trust Me” menus, and almost everyone goes off one of these, because they’re a pretty damn good deal. Each of them starts out with edamame and a small cup of tuna sashimi, and then follows with sushi and handrolls - for $28 you’ll get four pieces and one handroll, for $40 you’ll get eight pieces and two handrolls, and for $52 you’ll get 12 pieces and two handrolls. The $28 “Trust Me Lite” is indeed very light for dinner, so we usually go for the $40 regular “Trust Me.” Whichever you opt for, you’ll get high-quality pieces of sushi that lean on the large side, and are made with rice that’s noticeably warm and very vinegary. It’s slightly different from the more delicate sushi you’ll find at top sushi places in New York, but still very satisfying.
To answer the inevitable question, it is pretty much exactly the same quality as what you’ll find in LA. It costs slightly more here, but so does your apartment and, well, everything. The setup - a clean, modern room with a closed kitchen rather than a sushi bar - is the same too. The one key difference is that the lines at this New York location are, frankly, f*cking insane. With 10 locations in LA and some of the novelty having worn off, you can get into a West Coast Sugarfish with relative ease. Here, plan to get there before 6pm for dinner, and then expect to wait another hour or so until they text you.
That “Los Angeles” place doesn’t sound so bad, actually.
Your Trust-Me meal will start with edamame. They come cold, which is a little strange, but they’re good to snack on while waiting for your next course.
Always-fresh tuna in a tangy ponzu sauce. Always a nice way to start the meal off.
Depending on which menu you order, you’ll get a different selection of sushi. Albacore, Salmon, and Yellowtail are always included, and come in twos on the larger options. The rice is hot and sort of loosely packed.
With the Trust Me Lite, you’ll get a toro handroll. With the Trust Me or Nozawa Trust Me, you’ll get a creamy blue crab handroll as well. It’s rich, and sort of tastes like a non-fishy tuna melt, but it’s a must-try for Sugarfish virgins.