High on Blow… Fish

Written by Bryce

Let me preface with this: I don’t snort coke.  When I get high, it’s typically on insanely good meals, and this was the best one I’ve had so far in 2009.

Matt and I had the pleasure of dining at Sushi Zen last week, where we were greeted at the sushi bar by the world-famous Chef Suzuki.  The restaurant is in the middle of the typical midtown dining mess (just off 6th Ave with all the big-box restaurants), but make no mistake about it: Sushi Zen could easily kick the ass of any downtown sushi joint.  That being said, I ate at Blue Ribbon Sushi once a week, almost every week during 2008, and never had a meal I enjoyed as much as the one Matt and I happily devoured at Sushi Zen.

We were treated to an omakase (translation: the chef’s choice) style meal, that started happily with a sampling of squids, vegetables, cooked fish, and some crisp sake.  That was all delightful, especially looking at Matt as he decided what part of the squid to eat first: head or squigglies.

We were then treated to one of the best things either of us had ever had: BLOWFISH. Chef Suzuki chose to present the blowfish (which must be handled delicately, it has the potential to be lethal) in the form of an artful amber-colored jelly.  The bottom of the jelly was filled with pieces of cooked blowfish that I swear tasted and felt meatier than most meats, and more delicious than any fish worthy of fear.

The meal moved on to an assortment of sprouted greens which were accompanied by an array of speciality homemade dressings.  In all honesty, I could have made a meal out of just the greens!  By the time we moved on to sashimi, we were amused to see Chef Suzuki grating what looked like a piece of gravel onto a small dish for us.  Matt obviously needed to know what it was, since the after-product of a fine white powder was starting to remind him of some wild music-industry loft parties that he’s been to recently.  We were informed that it was a very highly regarded Mongolian salt to be used as a garnish for upcoming courses.  Suzuki then plated a spectacular feast of tuna, mackerel, salmon, fresh shrimp, fatty yellowtail, and countless other delights.  They were artful, succulent, and the best damn fish I’ve had in a long time.  And that’s saying a lot: I’ve eaten a lot of sushi in the world’s top spots, Japan, Hawaii, New York, and California.

We moved on to sushi next.  By this time, Matt and I were actually wondering if we would ever be able to stand again considering we had basically each eaten about 497 pounds of fish, and another 148 pounds of assorted side dishes.  But when we were given the best salmon either of us had ever had accented with freshly grated REAL wasabi (not that crap that your local sushi joint gives you in a heap), we found a way to keep cramming more in.

We finished the meal with some matcha tea, a plate of fresh fruit that somehow was ultra-ripe for the beginning of May, and some fresh Yuzu sorbet while talking with Chef Suzuki about the elegant plates (which we learned were all one of a kind), his expensive knives (Matt’s fascination), and the popularity of certain dishes.

Matt and I were talking about this meal for days, and I still find myself dreaming of the fatty yellowtail, tuna, and blowfish.  We can’t wait to go back.

Sushi Zen,

108 W 44th St New York, NY 10036 – (212) 302-0707
Open Weekdays 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm; Sat 5:30pm-10pm

p.s. girls, encourage men to take you on dates here. guys, take girls on dates here and there’s a good chance she’ll go home with you.

About the author


Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber


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