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A sushi legend returns to Tribeca
RESTAURANTS • Kodawari
Welcome to a new FOUND feature in which we profile sushi counters practicing kodawari — the uncompromising, relentless pursuit of perfection.
The Skinny: Among the cobblestones of Tribeca comes Sushi Ichimura, the three-month-old, pocket-sized omakase counter from New York sushi legend Eiji Ichimura (Brushstroke, Ichimura at Uchū). It’s the best effort of his storied career.
The Experience: Ichimura’s seasonal Japanese seafood menu is roughly 20 courses and runs $425 before tax and tip. Anchoring the minimalist, manicured space is a pristine 200-year-old cedar wood counter, flanked by 10 velvet seats.
House Manners: This isn’t a formal, buttoned-up experience, but it’s certainly not a casual one: don’t wear shorts, avoid perfume, and speak softly.
Sushi Style: Ichimura’s signature style is restrained and technical. He’s known for extended seafood aging, though on a recent summer visit, buttery and umami-rich fish replaced the bolder flavors at his other counters. (Summer fish is usually aged for a shorter period of time due to its size and fat content.)
The Progression: The meal begins with monaka, a rice-based wafer sandwich loaded with plump Hokkaido uni tongues, Kaviari ossetra caviar, and a mound of fresh wasabi. Next: four otsumami (small, expertly executed appetizers), leading into bites like baby squid the size of a pinky finger. Finally, a showstopper tuna block — lean bluefin marinated in soy sauce leading into double-decker stacked slices of medium fatty tuna, followed by triple-layered slabs of fatty tuna. The legend lives on. –Kat Odell