Sushi Yasu recently moved to Austin Street. Address is updated below. The place is also no longer BYOB, for better or worse….
Type “Sushi Yasu” into Google, and the suggestion box offers to auto-complete with the phrase “Sushi Yasuda”.
I do not blame them, Yasuda is legend, especially among food writers, which is why there are so many articles and photos dedicated to the brilliance of Yasuda.
That said, when you stop your search query at Yasu and click on the search button, the resulting pages show similar praise about a passionate old chef dedicating his career to making fresh sushi, and giving diners at the sushi bar a nightly treat. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably performed the search just now. Now I shall tell you about the restaurant.
Located on Yellowstone Blvd in Forest Hills, not exactly sushi enthusiast territory, one can easily dismiss Sushi Yasu just by looking at the plain and antiquated decor. In earlier days, the space doubled as a fish market. Today it’s no longer serving double duty, but the simple tile-centric decor remains.
Noted for its BYOB policy, everyone seems to come in with a black plastic bag. If you’re at the bar, we were told it’d be a good idea to bring an extra beer for the chef. On my visit, he was seen drinking a Sapporo.
In my recent post on Taro Sushi, I discussed how the level of authenticity can be judged by how busy a sushi bar is. On my visit to Yasu, all of the sushi bar seats had a “reserved” sign. Sushi was served piece by piece, from the chef’s hand directly to your plate. A genuinely classic experience.
From the tables, you’re given the typical a-la-carte menu, or a $40~$60 omakase option.
After an uninspired salad, the meal began with a sweet shrimp sushi next to a bizarre nigiri of ground beef with scallions and roe? The head was a nice plating touch. The amaebi sushi was plump, fresh, and delicious, though I wasn’t sure what to make of the rest of the plate. At this point, I must say I was slightly worried.
The next plate quelled any of my unfounded doubt about Yasu. Here was a plate of uni, toro, squid, scallops and more! Uni, served without nori, brought back memories of Yasuda. The quality of the fish was excellent, albeit with a few trade offs to achieve this price point. As you can see from the picture below, the toro had a nice marble texture, but had a few tendons across. This is a trade-off I’m always willing to accept just to enjoy the rich taste of the toro. The only piece I wasn’t thrilled about was the salmon and avocado, which was too much of a rich fatty texture in one bite, not to mention a pain to manage with the roe on top.
But wait, there’s more! After finishing the first plate, we were presented with eels, octopus, a lightly marinated fish that resembled a tougher cut of tuna (I tried to ask the waitress, but she disappeared before I could fire off my question, can someone help me with this one?), and a small roll.
Ever since attending a sushi panel last year, I’ve been on the look out for a quality neighborhood restaurant, with reasonable prices, authentic cuisine, and a friendly chef. Except I wasn’t looking in my neighborhood, because I did not believe fine sushi could be found in the part of Queens. I was wrong. Sushi Yasu’s quality rivals many of the big name destinations in Manhattan for traditional, nigiri sushi. It’s time for me to work on becoming a regular.
What does this rating mean?
70-11 Austin St
Forest Hills, NY 11375