210 E. 9th St. (btwn. 2nd and 3rd Avenues), East Village
212-473-3227; No reservations
It’s the quality fish and the polite service that make this place float above the fray–in a neighborhood that is run over with “alterna-whatever” servers armed with hipper than thou sneers and attitudes.
Purists will love the traditional Japanese menu. But be warned, if you are a fan of cream cheese or jam or whatever the current American-twist-on-sushi product of the month happens to be, this place is not for you. Hasaki does not even do inside-out rolls. I asked for them even though they were not on the menu. I requested for eel-avocado and salmon-cucumber rolls done with the fish on the outside. Despite the server’s assurance that the kitchen would make them for me, I was brought regular sushi rolls made with those ingredients. It was obvious that the efficient, soft-spoken waiter had not understood my request.
It was O.K. though, because the sushi was fresh and the rice was neither pasty nor overcooked, but done just right. While the portions were not humongous, they were reasonable. Pricing is decent, but not a bargain, considering the neighborhood and the drab and uninspired decor. Basically you come here for moderately priced, high quality sushi without the frills.