So here's the thing about Hatsuhana...it's dated. But there's a reason it's so busy...
For those of you who don't know, New York City's lower Manhattan has undergone a renaissance in recent years. Once a bastion of homelessness and rampant drug use, it now features some of the coolest areas - and restaurants - that New York City has to offer. For that reason, those tourists "in the know", stay in lower Manhattan when they visit. A quick chick of my New York City reviewed restaurants would see a pretty healthy representation of restaurants from that part of the city.
But it isn't difficult to imagine a time when great food was restricted to the midtown area. Sushi, likely still in its infancy as a popular cuisine in North America, was restricted to areas of the wealthier population. As a result, there are still some older, more established (and more worn in) sushi restaurants in the midtown area that are still extremely popular to this day.
Hatsuhana is one of those restaurants. Full disclosure: I was taken there for my birthday, so as long as the word "omakase" was involved without my credit card making an appearance, my mood wasn't going to be dampened. Likely due to its age and changing customer base, the restaurant has recently undergone a transformation. Formerly famous for having a sushi bar both upstairs and downstairs, Hatsuhana now only has one sushi bar on the second level. That change only serves to make reservations even more important if you want to eat at the sushi bar - the night I went, every spot was occupied.
The Food was obviously what I paid the most attention to, and to that end, I certainly was satisfied. Don't expect the most visually stimulating presentation in the world (either with the food or the plate it came on), but the omakase hit all the high notes. The O Toro was actually so oily, my girlfriend could not finish it. While that's a great sign for the sushi snob, it's not particularly fun for those who aren't.
Given the stupid amount of time that I've spent eating sushi, I'm always excited by the opportunity to try new things. The squid (to the right) with salt and seaweed flakes was just that. I've had ika (squid) before - but not like that.
We were also served seared scottish salmon and albacore tuna together, which sounded like some children's nightmare come to life. For those that aren't aware, albacore tuna is the stuff that normally goes into the tin of tuna you buy from the grocer. I'd advise only getting it when you trust the restaurant implicitly. I used to recommend never getting albacore Tuna, but Hatsuhana changed my mind. Check it out on the far right.
The Atmopshere is dated, but still inviting. The people that go to Hatsuhana have been going for years, likely with their families (old and new). We witnessed multiple customers greeting the hosts by name, which helps given that Hatsuhana staff use radios to communicate to the hosts when tables are ready. It's almost like something out of a nightclub.
The price wasn't cheap, but the head chef worked quickly and did not charge for extra requests, which is always a nice touch.
Hatsuhana is a definite recommend if you want a change of pace from the typical New York City sushi restaurant, or are looking for something a bit more upscale and family friendly.