There is no doubt that part of really enjoying Sushi involves periodically strapping yourself in to the proverbial seat, biting the proverbial bullet, and splurging on Omakase at some incredibly expensive (and awesome) restaurants. But another part - the part that maintains the interest in the few months while your bank account replenishes - requires having a place in your neighborhood that serves fresh fish at reasonable prices, and where a reservation at 12:01 AM the month before isn't necessary. For me, that place is Marumi - and it's just a bonus that it happens to rival some of the best places in New York when it comes to quality.
Marumi is located on Laguardia Place, south of Washington Square Park, right in the heart of NYU's campus. Ms. Legend and I actually discovered it the old fashioned way - by walking by it one day while looking for a brunch spot. Most of the people who eat there are local - you won't find many tourists hearing about Marumi from their friends. But that's completely fine; people who know sushi - and not just from Tao - know Marumi.
The Atmosphere inside is phenomenal. Brightly lit and open, it seats approximately 30 (with 12 or so at the "L shaped" Sushi bar. The staff is friendly and efficient; food comes quickly, and they are knowledgeable about the menu and rarely (if ever) make mistakes.
The Food is *spoiler alert* phenomenal. As I've stated time and time again, having a menu that changes daily is a sign of freshness. To the right is the $3.00 Clear Soup, which is made fresh and might be the most aromatic broth I've ever smelled.
On certain days the "Sushi Deluxe" (10 pieces of chef's choice nigiri somehow for $25) will have Toro and Uni. On other days, Akagai and Anago. To be honest, I've frequently wondered how Marumi would be received if those 10 pieces were presented individually, called "Omakase", and priced at $100. I assume - for some reason, mainly NYC's adoration for the best - that the lineup in this case would be around the block. Fortunately, it isn't.
I've been to Marumi my fair share of times, so I've been able to gather some of my "greatest hits". The one thing I'll keep coming back to is the price. Marumi will make rolls inside-out (Uramaki) or rice on the inside (Sumaki). The Uni and Toro Sumaki "rolls" - both delicious, even if the Uni is sometimes a tad runny - were priced at an extremely reasonable $7.50. Above and to the right are the Uni/Ikura rolls (it works), priced at a very reasonable $8.00 (although since it's off menu, the prices tend to fluctuate by waitress).
I don't usually worry too much about price when eating at Sushi restaurants, because I usually believe that price and quality correlate strongly. Marumi has challenged that notion, while still maintaining excellent customer service and avoiding becoming overly busy. My hope is that they continue on that path - and that no one actually reads this review. The last thing I want is more people going there.
Greenwich Village. $20-$40+ per person.
So here's the thing about Marumi....I'd rather that no one else knew about it.