I didn't intend to go to Honshu Ichi when I set off on my sushi mission the other night. The goal was to find somewhere in the east village of Manhattan that was cheap and delici - err, I mean cheap and "looks good on instagram" (same thing, really). Unfortunately, in 2015, that's a lot harder than it looks. One restaurant I tried - Hasaki - literally told me to come in for a spot at the sushi bar. What they didn't tell me, was that I would have to wait 45 minutes once I showed up. Funny how that sometimes gets lost on the phone.
So I wandered. With one eye on the street and one on my yelp app, I nearly avoided cars, cyclists, going the wrong way and the temptation to go to McDonald's. I don't want to turn Honshu Ichi into some sort of oasis - but I do want to paint the picture that for reasonable a la carte options in the east village of Manhattan, the options are limited. So I ended up at Honshu Ichi, an open concept restaurant that unfortunately could have used a little bit more of a closed concept the night that I was there (read: it was completely empty).
The menu certainly looked promising enough, if a little more...robust...than I would prefer. If you do end up at Honshu Ichi, I'm sure you'll have just as much as trouble as I did deciding what to order. And because the restaurant is new, the staff - who are incredibly friendly - aren't in much of a position to recommend anything.
What really piqued my interest was the "special menu" that featured the day's freshest fish. What didn't sit so well was when 75% of that "special menu" wasn't available. Listen, I get it - if you're not doing so much in turnover, you maybe would rather not purchase expensive fish that might not sell. But in that case, perhaps it's wise to:
a) avoid false advertising
b) stop your lying by saying you "just sold out" when there's no one in the restaurant
c) tell your waitstaff before they take customer orders
d) check the pet peeves page on www.thesushilegend.com
At some point, Honshu Ichi will - I hope - get more customers who dine in regularly. For now, I can't say that the atmosphere was too impressive, especially since I was one of four customers in the place. That said, it's hard for me to fully judge how it will look until it gets a tad more business.
East Village. $15-$30+ per person.
So here's the thing about Honshu Ichi....they try hard. The quality is pretty good. But you probably should just get take out...