8.4
NYC

Sushi Katsuei

Perfect For: Dining Solo Eating At The Bar
PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

Life is full of slippery slopes. You say you’re just going to have one slice of pizza at the company happy hour, but end up shoveling down four. You decide the $7.99 a month Hulu subscription is a good call, but quickly realize you really need to pay up for the $11.99 commercial free version. And you’re gonna need Netflix and Amazon Prime too. I can personally still hear the terrifying 9th grade “life skills” teacher warning us what would happen to us if we tried pot or went to the unsanctioned homecoming party thrown by the cool seniors. I didn’t take her advice, but still: sometimes it’s OK to get a little scared.

Right now, I’m a little scared of Sushi Katsuei, because this restaurant is basically the gateway drug that could lead down the path to a very expensive sushi habit.

Katsuei started out in Park Slope, and is well-known for its affordable omakase options. They’ve now expanded into Manhattan, taking over a space in the West Village. And on the surface, it seems like your life savings are safe: for $57, you get nine incredibly good pieces of sushi and a handroll. In terms of both quality and variety, it’s probably the best you’ll find in New York City for what you’re paying.

At most sushi places in this range, you’ll get some toro and maybe some uni, but at Katsuei, even the entry level omakase will get you pieces like ocean trout and firefly squid. Plus some damn good toro and uni too. And once you’re exposed to them, you’re going to want more. You’re going to see the person next to you trying seared barracuda and some kind of giant mutant clam and more varieties of tuna, and when the chef asks if you want to try some more pieces, you’re going to say yes. (Speaking of the person next to you, it’s absolutely essential to the experience that you sit at the bar here. If you’re at a table, you won’t get your pieces one by one, and it just won’t be the same.)

If you have the willpower and non-insane hunger levels to stick to the entry-level nine piece and a handroll situation, come to Sushi Katsuei for some of the absolute best, most eye-opening sushi you can get here for the price. Just know that you’re probably going to want more, and that this could quickly turn into a dangerous habit.

Food Rundown

Yellowtail

Ocean Trout

Barracuda

Chu-Toro

Uni

Firefly Squid

Seared Scallop

Giant Clam

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