Traditional recipes

Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY)

Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY)

Manhattan's Sushi Seki means impeccable sushi, late-night.

Sushi and sashimi at Sushi Seki, the Upper East Side’s late-night, high-quality omakase oasis.

If Sushi Seki were merely adequate sushi, the fact that it’s open at 3am, when you’re either too tired, too drunk or too pissed to give a shit about the bill, would make it destination-worthy. The fact that it’s one of the top sushi bars in the City only makes it all the more appealing. Though it does attract drunks (the last time I was there I can only vaguely recall), the sushi is impeccable.

As an apprentice to Gari, Seki loves to enhance traditional sushi with non-traditional ingredients. Though they didn’t serve the Gari trademarked grilled tomato topped salmon on a recent visit, the seared King Salmon needed no accompaniment. Similarly simple sea salt draws out the umami of red snapper. Jalapeño Hamachi is as tasty as it is alliterative. Tofu sauce renders boring Maguro exciting. Ditto crushed sesame seeds, pureed cucumber and other sauces on traditional nigiri.

The spicy scallop handroll is tah doy fowr. Unagi chopped and mixed with avocado does justice to the eel and the typically overly-used fruit (if you actually like California rolls). Octopus Sashimi is tenderly sliced, and chopped toro is superior to run-of-the mill sushi bars, which use it to get rid of end pieces unsuitable for sashimi. If you’re in the mood for cold noodles, the Zaru Soba Udon are refreshing.

The chef knows when not to tamper with mother nature— generous portions of uni get little or no topping. A simple, deep-cupped Kumamoto is allowed to swim in its own liquor with just a drop of soy sauce and finely diced scallions. Mackerel also gets the dice and slice treatment with traditional ginger and scallions. Ikura and snow crab gunkan-style and tomago sashimi needed no enhancement.

So the next time you’re tired, drunk or just plain pissed off at midnight, head to the omakase oasis at Sushi Seki on 62nd and First and don’t pay attention to the bill— it’s high, but probably so are you.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Midnight at the Omakase (New York, NY) - Recipes

Yoshinori Ishii went to high school outside of Tokyo, but loved working inside kitchens, and so entered Tsuji culinary school immediately after in 1989, where he first learned of Japanese kaiseki, as well as Chinese, French, and Italian food. Half a lifetime of cooking experience, both in Japan and the United States, goes into his refined, modern Japanese dishes.

He later was the chef at Kitcho, one of the most well-known Japanese restaurants in the world. There he trained in everything from sashimi and pickling to calligraphy, flower arranging, ceramics, and tea ceremonies. Ishii left Japan in 1999 to become the chef-in-residence for the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2002, relocated to the Japanese Embassy for United Nation in New York. In 2005, he worked at an organic farm in Kyoto and studied English as a Second Language at Rutgers in New Jersey.

That culmination of knowledge helped him immensely when he joined the staff of Morimoto in early 2006, taking over the Omakase Bar. His childhood memories of catching fish, and with a philosophy firmly rooted in the Japanese idea that cooking should use fresh ingredients, Ishii used local fish and organic vegetables from nearby farms to craft a stellar menu, earning him the 2008 New York Rising Star award. At the time, Ishii’s future goal was to create a restaurant featuring his particular style of Japanese cooking by incorporating the various methods and ideas he’s learned through his 9 years of cooking in Japan, and 10 years of cooking in foreign countries.

He did just that. In 2010 he took over as executive chef at Umu, where his Kyoto-style dishes have already garnered rave reviews.


Watch the video: How to Navigate Omakase, a Sushi Tasting Menu - Stop Eating It Wrong, Episode 31 (January 2022).