Where is the best sushi in Battery Park City?Â This has been a conundrum for residents and visitors of the Downtown Manhattan area.
What is more confusing is that according to a map released by the site Very Small Array, we in Battery Park City primarily eat Japanese, Italian and French food. Say wha…Huh?!
Off the tops of our heads we can only think of a handful of sushi places in our area. Including Yushi and Kaijou — the latter gets honorable mention for being here the longest and having the best views from the restaurant… but a claim to best sushi in the neighborhood is arguable.
So it’s even more boggling that apparently to the rest of the people outside of our area — we are now known for this cuisine. Don’t we have more American/Irish Pubby type of food down here? We digress and must focus on finding the answer to our original question.
In order for us to put this sushi question to rest and we’re present an informal and unscientific poll to help vote on where the best sushi is. We’ve added a handful of the closest restaurants to our neighborhood as choices– but welcome write-in nominations in the comments area! Quite frankly, if we knew more sushi restaurants we wouldn’t be putting out a call to action such as this one !
If you live or work within a 1 mile radius, you might not have a difficult time procuring a $5 dollar footlong.
Now for those who work at the World Trade Center, they won’t either as workers have called a new Subway trailer their lunch home a top the construction site.
It’s a far cry from a PB&J and thermos, but it’s a close meatball hero. Who doesn’t like the smell of fresh baked bread at the office?
Anyone who has strolled through the World Financial Plaza might have noticed a few things recently. A big ol’ country house built smack in the middle of the esplanade, a glass encased metal contraption that has something to do with the weather, and not just one — but two new food stands on the upper level of the plaza.
The trend seemed to have started last year, when Merchants opened up a satellite BBQ stand on the plaza. The food was ambitious — filling in a gap for smokey bbq that doesn’t quite exist on this side of the highway. BBQ is not the easiest thing to cook up or serve to transient tourists and button down banker crowds. This year, they decided to forgo their spitfire aspirations and flip things up with a “quality burger.” Merchants has seemed to monopolize the majority of eateries this side of Broadway owning Merchants, Southwest, the newly acquired Steamers Landing and now Quality Burger.
So I was quite surprised to see standing right next to the expected Merchants fare — Ed’s Lobster Bar. One might plausibly expect that it’s just another Merchants restaurant, but this is not the case. Bringing their claws out on the plaza, Ed’s Lobster Bar serves up an easy to eat, summery and refreshing lobster roll. Some other sandwich offerings are a Grilled Shrimp Po’ Boy, Peekytoe Crab Roll, Tuna Roll and a Soft Shell Sandwich.
The average price for a meal is around $20. Which is not cheap, but unlike the impersonal burger conveyor belt service served at Quality Burger — customer service at the Lobster Bar is exceptional. Case and point, after arriving just before closing at 7pm– they stayed open long enough to receive a few late coming customers. After running out of grilled corn on the cob, they were able to procure a few stalks and offered them up to a patron for free. They were communicative towards the time it would take to grill shrimp skewers and lobster roll — all with a friendly smile and that it was no problem to stay open later than they needed to. Making the meal taste that much better.
So with open hearts and stomachs, we whole heartedly welcome Ed’s Lobster Bar to the neighborhood.
With the closing of Applebee’s this year, there has been a lot of speculation as to what new businesses will take over the newly and increasingly vacated spaces in the shadow of the new Goldman Sachs building.
Many have gone out on a limb to say that Danny Meyer of Shake Shack fame is setting his eyes on a downtown location. This would be great if confirmation of the move wasn’t veiled in so much secrecy. NYÂ Eater has had it’s hand on the pulse of this alleged burger movement Downtown. Not to be overdone with the burgers, BLT is planning on opening their own Bar and Grill within The W this summer as well.
With all the hoopla surrounding the burger joint’s new arrival — I’m wondering why no one is touting another reputable burger institution, also setting it’s roots by our neighborhood.
Five Guys is set to open up on Fulton street shortly — which is a way more exciting newcomer for the following reasons:
1. Tourists + Lines for burgers = Hell.
Can you imagine the ruckus that the lines for Shake Shack would be like? For the fact that Shake Shack’s official website highlights waiting on line as part of the burger experience is sort of off putting. Why not show juicy burgers first?!
2. Five Guys has better fries.
Hands down. Plus the cost of a burger and fries from Five Guys would be half as much as a burger at PJ Clarke’s which requires us to BYOF* or else be left with a lonely hamburger.
3. Unlimited Toppings.
The topic choices at Five Guys is way more impressive than Shake Shack.
4. Â Free peanuts.
Hey, in this crazy economy — if a burger joint is going to make you wait for a burger, being on a line won’t be the the only reward at Five Guys. Free peanuts for all who can ingest them.
To be fair — Shake Shack has ridiculously good custard, not sure I would welcome the lines, traffic and hoopla into our neighborhood for it. I was always glad to know that craziness existed far away from home. If the rumor becomes fact, we’ll just have to wait and see what the net effect will be.
For each installment of Race to My Place, we pit two restaurants with similar cuisines, estimated delivery times and prices against each other to see whose delivery reigns supreme. This Friday, our contestants are Sun Cafe and Tokyo Bay Japanese Restaurant.
We ordered a Rainbow Roll to test both their sashimi and their California Rolls, a Spicy Tuna Roll, and a Shrimp Tempura Roll for those who are squeamish about eating raw fish.
Delivery Speed: TIE I was extremely impressed — both restaurants somehow managed to deliver the food in exactly 16 minutes!Â This does make me worry a little about whether or not they have the rolls pre-made, but we didn’t order anything that would take too long to prepare, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Packaging & Presentation: Sun Cafe Sun Cafe won the packaging and presentation category by a landslide.Â It is rare for a restaurant to put so much effort into presentation for deliveries, but it really helps give a good first impression. I was so taken with the small touches and attention to detail that Sun Cafe demonstrated, that I was almost ready to name Sun Cafe the winner right then and there.
Yeah, that’s right, that orange blob you see is a butterfly carved out of carrot.Â How cool is that? They also included a cute little plastic tray to use for mixing soy sauce and wasabi, which I really appreciated. I always have a hard time getting the right wasabi-to-soy-sauce ratio in those sauce cups that normally come with delivery.
Tokyo Bay opted for a neater, plainer presentation, simply packing all three rolls into one container.
Quality & Taste: Tokyo Bay Tokyo Bay redeemed itself with its quality and taste. The sashimi used in their Rainbow Roll was fresh and delicate, unlike the tough and fish fare from Sun Cafe.Â Tokyo Bay also had a better rice-to-fish ratio. Additionally, the rice was soft and sticky — the way good sushi rice should be.
When I looked beyond the carrot butterflies (apparently there to draw attention away from the actual food) that came with Sun Cafe’s sushi, I noticed just how thick the layer of rice was on all of their rolls. This definitely made their rolls more filling, but it made the sushi less enjoyable and more difficult to chew. It probably didn’t help that their rice was really hard: I couldn’t tell if it was undercooked or stale.
Sun Cafe’s spicy tuna roll had zero heat to it, but instead had a strong sesame flavor. Enjoyable, yes, but a spicy tuna roll it was not. On the other end of the spice spectrum was Tokyo Bay’s spicy tuna, which had a nice tongue-tingling spiciness –just enough to be exciting, but not so much that I was reaching for my water. Both shrimp tempura rolls were decent, although I should note that Tokyo Bay added avocado and cucumber to the roll while Sun Cafe did not. I found the cucumber a little overwhelming, but it did add even more crunch to the tempura.
Value: Tokyo Bay I had a difficult time deciding the winner for this category. Here is the price breakdown:
Spicy Tuna Roll: $5.50
Shrimp Tempura Roll: $5.95
Rainbow Roll: $12.95
As you can see, there wasn’t much of a difference between the spicy tuna and shrimp tempura rolls.Â Sun Cafe’s rolls were a little bigger, but they also used a lot more rice. The main difference in value was the Rainbow Roll. However, the extra $4 for Tokyo Bay’s Rainbow Roll is definitely worth it, because Sun Cafe’s was inedible to the point that not even their cute presentation could compensate.
To sum it up, although Sun Cafe’s presentation and packaging skills almost won me over, the poor quality of their rice and sashimi was unforgivable. Tokyo Bay’s plain-looking but higher quality sushi was the winner of this race!
Sun Cafe (3/6 pizza slices)*
67 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007-1821
Tokyo Bay Japanese Restaurant (4/6 pizza slices)
183 Duane Street
New York, NY 10013