If you happen to be in the vicinity of St. Marks place in New York City on a Monday night – or even if you aren’t – make a point of going to Sharaku. What Sharaku might lack in quality of food or in halfway decent service, it more than makes up for with the outstanding value that their Monday night special provides. I’ve sort of buried the lede here, but the special is $19.99 for a choice of three pieces of regular nigiri (think salmon, yellowtail, tuna, etc), one piece of premium nigiri (think Uni, Ikura for instance), salad/soup, a choice of a regular roll and an entree. In New York City, for good sushi, you really can’t go wrong with that type of deal.
The food – as I’ve hinted at – is good. It’s not going to trick anyone into thinking they’re at a michelin starred Japanese restaurant, but (as the picture to the top right shows) the cuts of fish are fresh, and the slices large. Seriously, look at the uni and look at the hamachi. That’s great value.
There are no sushi entrees, so I was stuck eating something cooked for once (the horror). I chose the soba noodles – and they were fine – but there are enough options on the menu; udon I believe was also on there, as was chicken (or pork) katsu.
The Atmosphere was the main drawback. Sharaku is a nice enough restaurant, but the service was noticeably poor. See that Octopus in the top right of the pictures on the left? I had actually asked for “ika” (or squid). When I brought this up to the waitress, she did what is likely my biggest pet peeve by service staff; she tried to play it off like it was I who was mistaken. Yes – it’s unlikely that the person taking orders without a pen or paper has made a mistake. Rather, my grand plan was to order octopus when I really wanted squid, all just to make your life more miserable.
Regardless, and despite the fact that the waitress then actually took the octopus away and brought me my squid (instead of the standard of leaving both), I enjoyed Sharaku.