I recently had the pleasure of dining with my friend Melissa at Hatsuhana, a rather nice sushi restaurant in midtown that I must have walked by a few times but never noticed. She said she’d read good things about it, and I was more than happy to accompany her there – I’d not had real sushi in a while.
While we sat and browsed the menu, Melissa noted how cute the chopstick rest was along with the teeny tiny bud vase, and suggested I take a photo. It was hard to snap, so here is my artsy attempt.
We chose to order a few things to split; one of which was the sashimi dinner set. Given the choice of soup or salad, a salad was clearly easier to split so we opted for that. Fresh greens with a fairly standard ginger dressing, nothing special here.
We also ordered the salmon carpaccio to start, because the description was so whimsical: raw salmon, avocado, minced onions, black pepper, chives, salmon caviar and ‘thoughtful Japanese touches’. We were rewarded with this lovely dish.
And honestly? each bite was very lovely. Topped with shaved bonito, a bit of dried seaweed, and on the bottom, what I tasted to be a miso reduction of sorts… creamy avocado, salty salmon roe, and the salmon slices itself – just perfect. I really enjoyed this dish – it was a good sign of things to come.
The sashimi platter came with a pretty standard array of fishes – salmon, tuna, yellowtail and fluke, along with Spanish mackerel in the small bowl. The Spanish mackerel was tossed with a sort of vinaigrette of sorts, on top of seaweed salad, and we both enjoyed this greatly. All of the fish was very fresh, and very tasty.
One of the reasons Melissa had picked this place, though, was this menu item: the “Box of Dreams” – described on the menu as “nine miniature bowls arranged in a lacquer box; each bowl contains one kind of raw or cooked fish fillets and sushi rice; a culinary marvel sure to please the senses.” Funny enough, I was going to make a comment about the rice in each bowl…
Toro (fatty tuna) & scallions with a piece of seaweed over rice – fresh tasting and light, but I really dislike chopped toro (because I know it’s the scraps, haha).
Shrimp & tamago – I didn’t eat the shrimp because I’m not a big shrimp fan, but the tamago was pretty good.
I’m going to say yellowtail – I always confuse this fish with another fish, but both were in the box, so no big deal – again, very fresh.
Salmon – I loved the lemon, emphasizing the fresh bright taste of the salmon.
Salmon roe, which I love.
Uni (sea urchin gonads). This was a little softer than I expected – I’ve had uni in the past and love it, but this one was a little… not ‘off’ but not quite what I wanted. No big deal, still tasty.
While I liked the idea of the box, and it was indeed very pretty, I didn’t think the rice was sushi rice – it lacked that characteristic vinegary tang that I look for in sushi rice – which was the major downfall. Otherwise, I’d have enjoyed this box of dreams even more. Also, $41 for that seems more than a bit overpriced… there is a section of the menu called “mini bowls” where you can choose each bowl yourself, ranging from $5.75 – $11… maybe I’ll try that next time.
The sashimi set dinner also came with dessert – fruit or ice cream, and of course we chose ice cream. We luckily agreed on green tea and set about taking that down, then wandered into the night, stuffed and happy.
Yvo says: While I felt the Box of Dreams could have been improved with sushi rice (or sushi rice more suited to my tastes), overall, the experience and the food was fantastic – very fresh fish, attentive service – I don’t think either of us ever took more than 2 sips of the very good green tea before it was refilled – just a really great place. I would definitely go back without hesitation.