Unless you’ve been living under a rock or ensconced in a gated community, you probably know it’s a recession. Some say we’re even in a depression. And although I’m lucky enough to still have a job, you never know what may happen next. (Look kindly upon me corporate gods of Midtown!) As a result, I’ve been trying to be more conscious about cost when going out to eat, even more so than before. Last week, David wanted sushi and suggested Le Miu (which unbeknownst to us, closed recently), but not wanting to pay at least a hundred on a regular work night, I suggested Sachiko’s, which was right around the corner from where we were standing. (We had just finished looking at another crappy overpriced apartment in the Lower East Side. It turns out after a few weeks apartment hunting, our crappy overpriced LES apartment is slightly less crappy and less overpriced than we actually thought.) David didn’t seem too excited as usual, but he agreed after some coaxing, and five minutes later we were sitting inside Sachiko’s on Clinton.
At the moment, Sachiko’s has a sushi special every Tuesday and Thursday called “Sushi for Two,” which is twenty-two pieces of sushi for $44. It’s not bargain basement sushi, which I wouldn’t want to eat anyway, but It seemed like a pretty good deal so we ordered it. While we waited, I had a Sachiko’s Mojito, made with sake, lime juice, shiso and brown sugar ($10). A nice change of pace from the regular rum and mint mojito, it was refreshingly crisp from the combination of clean sake and sharp shiso. Sachiko’s has a little concrete garden in the back, so I could imagine it being a good date place for cocktails when Mother Nature finally realizes it’s spring. By the way, what the f*ck, it was snowing an hour ago!
As an appetizer, we were each presented with a bowl of blanched spinach in a sweet sesame paste marinade. Served cold, it was a cross between spinach banchan served at Korean restaurants and sesame noodles from a Chinese take-out. It was too sweet for my taste, but I really couldn’t complain. It was free!
The miso soup was also supplied gratis. It was your typical miso soup, nothing spectacular or down-right disgusting. All I can say is that it was seasoned correctly.
And then the sushi arrived, all twenty-two pieces. We got a good assortment of regular nigiri sushi (tuna, fluke, salmon, squid, shrimp, and mackerel), and also a few pieces of gunkanmaki (shredded crab sticks in a mayo based sauce, spicy tuna, and tobiko or flying fish roe). Overall, it was marginally above-average sushi. The slightly tangy fluke was really good, but the tuna scared us a bit because it was brownish red, and not the brownish color of good fatty tuna. However, I just learned, via the all knowing Internet, that the vibrant red color of tuna at sushi restaurants is sometimes due to carbon monoxide treatment! So perhaps it was good it wasn’t so notably red, but then again, perhaps it wasn’t.
The crab stick gunkanmaki was as good as imitation crab can get, and the spicy tuna wasn’t bad. If the nori hadn’t been so wet, and thus soggy and chewy, I would have said the rolls were decent.
The tobiko gunkanmaki were the best out of the three, but again, like everything else there, it didn’t blow me away. It was pretty though.
At the end of the meal, I asked David what he rated Sachiko’s out of 1 to 10. He settled on a 6, but I thought they were at least a 6.5 or 7, just because the fluke had been good. But alas, if only we had been served fluke all night. Even with the economy the way it is, I don’t think we’ll be going back to Sachiko’s, unless it’s for cocktails and cooked dishes (their specialty is kushiage, deep-fried panko encrusted skewers). The financial crisis is depressing enough, I don’t need mediocre sushi to bring me down further.
Sachiko’s on Clinton
25 Clinton Street (betw Stanton and East Houston St.)
New York, NY 10002