Rough Start for Sushi Shop

http://www.mysushishop.com

Let us start with the background. Sushi Shop is a chain from France, that recently found its way to NYC. It is the brain child of Michelin Starred chef Jean Francois Piege. I guess that was all I needed to give this place a try, so I went during their first week of opening.

For those that have seen previous reviews of my site, you know I normally put the address of the restaurant up top. I did not this time, because getting the address was sort of an adventure! If you go to their website you have to do a lot of digging to find the address! And don’t even think of calling because unless you are in their delivery zip code you will not even get through. Clearly this place is not ready for NYC if they are trying to keep their MIDTOWN location hard to find! But I will be nice, I will share their address which is 536 Madison Ave, between 54th and 55th street. Special Thanks to Urban Daddy for that one!

Time to get into the experience. When you walk in you are given the option, order at the counter fast food style or go upstairs for waiter service. I opted for the sit down option. I have to say the booth I sat in was not very comfortable at all with their straight wood backing. I would suggest going for the chairs instead. Maybe I am just old! After settling in, I took a quick glance at the drink menu and was struck with oddities. First off wine is served by the bottle only, what if I just want a glass of wine? Do I have to spring for a $40 bottle? And look at the price point, $40 bottles of wine and they have a “fast-food” dining option downstairs?! The beers was the next issue. Look at the menu below, the pricing seemed off to me as well. The worst part was the Orion Draft was out! So now the cheapest alcoholic drink I could get was a $9.50 bottle of beer. Now I am use to over spending for alcohol in NYC, but I guess having only 1 draft option, which was out then the next beer option being $3 seems a bit off. Regardless I got the Shiro, which I was not a fan off. Luckily was I was not alone, so we decided a bottle of wine was the way to go.

With so many sushi restaurants in NYC, you have to step your game up to really shine. I feel it is all to common for sushi places to just be run in the mill. I will give Sushi Shop credit for making a great attempt here to make their rolls unique. Their menu had few intriguing options such as sushi with foie gras BS fried chicken, , but everything else were the staples. They had a decent selection of vegetarian sushi, most bring a roll with cream cheese. The most interesting items on the menu were the tartare, which had a tuna, foie gras tartare with truffle. I ended up getting the yellowtail and mango tartare which I did really enjoy. I also had the fantasy roll, yellow tail jalapeno, and a chive and cheese roll. The fantasy roll was salmon with a spicy sauce wrapped in avocado, tuna and salmon. The chive and cheese roll just tasted like a bagel and the yellowtail jalapeno did not disappoint. Everything did taste extremely fresh.

In addition the staff did not prove to be very knowledgeable of the menu. When I asked for the waiters preferences between a crab roll wrapped in tune and salmon roll wrapped in tuna, he pointed to the salmon roll, saying it is his favorite because he likes tuna! From there on out they seemed to struggle to keep up as tables were being packed. Also when we ordered dessert the wrong flavor of mochi was brought out. Perhaps all this should be expected in the first week.

I understand it was the first week, and there are going to be some rough edges, I guess I am starting to see why NY is notorious for having such high failure rates within the restaurant industry. You really need to bring it from the get go, since people’s expectations are high. I feel that the owners need to do a bit more of research as to what NYer’s like, and custom the place a bit more. I see great potential, so I promise to go back in 6 months and write another review.Hopefully, I came out with a more rewarding experience.

BaoHaus

238 E 14th Street, NY, NY
Tel: 646.669.8889
http://www.baohausnyc.com/

I came across BaoHaus after seeing Cheap Bites on Cooking Channel, which was hosted by BaoHaus’s chef Eddie Huang. Being close to my apartment, I stopped in for lunch on a day off from work. First things first, this is a tiny spot! There were 4 people ordering before me and I had no place to move. Being a tight space with people waiting, initial service just to order took a while. There was one person running the iPad based register, 2 others in the visible kitchen and a manager. One turn off for me being a techie was the use of an iPad, which seemed like a cool idea, but then I noticed they has to punch CC number. This really slowed down the transaction time. Not a big deal, but being who I am, and what I do for a living I notice this kind of stuff.

I came in to try the buns, and really not much more. There are 7 of which to choose from, and the sign behind the counter said 2-3 make a meal. I decided to not be my normal fatty self and only try two. I went for the Chairman Bao (pictures below right) and the Adobo Bao (pictured left below). Reading reviews on FourSquare and Yelp, there was positive things about all seven Baos.

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The chairman bao is a nice fatty, healthy piece of pork belly topped with peanuts cilantro and a relish. The Adobo Bao is a pork, chicken mix, which almost had a curried flavor to them. The bao was topped with cilantro, daikons and cucumber. Personally the Adobo Bao was my favorite of the two, but don’t let that put the chairman bao at all.  I also added a Taiwanese Root Beer to my order. I really did enjoy the Baos and look forward to heading back to try the others.

I mentioned earlier that the service was slow, but as I was walking out the lady at the register said “Bye Tesh.” They took my name during the ordering process, and it was a nice touch that they remembered and addressed me as I left. I guess it is the little things like that, that remind me good things are worth waiting for.