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Maki Kosaka

Christine Drinan, Founder

Maki Kosaka NYC

Unlike everything else in this issue, there’s a place in NYC that won’t break the bank. The sister restaurant of omakase spot Kosaka (which may break the bank), Maki Kosaka is the more casual temaki restaurant. What this means for you is that you get the same quality fish, but not the same price tag. This is how it stacks up.

Overview

Maki Kosaka is the sister restaurant of Kosaka, the Michelin-starred restaurant in the West Village. Kosaka is part of the trend in Japanese restaurants that serve Omakase-only menus in tiny spots, just like you would get in Japan. With only 17 seats around the sushi bar and a few tables, the Kosaka 12-course omakase runs you around $225. So by the time you get out of there with modest drinks, tax and tip, your meal runs around $550/person. That price point has become par for the course for omakase experiences in NYC. With high-quality sushi is hard to come by at a reasonable price, we were all over it when Kosaka launched Maki Kosaka as a casual sushi spot.

Atmosphere

I would describe the Maki Kosaka vibe as minimalist Japanese contemporary. Most of the seats are around a circular center bar, where the sushi chefs churn out the signature sushi grab rolls and other sushi creations. Seats are all comfortable and there’s a nice feel to the space that conveys a modern take on sushi. However it’s also an atmosphere that stays true to the more spartan sushi bars of Tokyo. The crowd is a nice mix as well – you have foodies who look like they know sushi and casual diners looking for inventive food.

Food

The concept of Maki Kosaka is a “grab roll”, where the filling of the temaki roll is served separately from the seaweed. So, for salmon avocado, for example, the minced salmon and avocado are laid on top of sushi rice. You are separately provided with individual sheets of seaweed. To eat, you grab the sushi with the seaweed. It’s a cool concept because the seaweed is as crisp as can be.

To preface my assessment of the food, I’m not a big omakase fan, even at the top sushi places in the world. I like to control what I eat, and if I’m being honest, I like hipster sushi at spots like  Nami Nori. I am also a huge fan of temaki hand rolls, where the seaweed is perfectly crisp and the chef gets creative with toppings. So when I saw the menu, I was ready for Maki Kosaka to be my favorite new sushi place in the city.

With that all established, I found the fish quality to be surprisingly mediocre, for a place that has a sister restaurant that’s top-end. Part of the issue is that the fish wasn’t served whole in the rolls. Instead, it was chopped up, and on top of that the accoutrements didn’t add a lot of flavor. I also thought there was way too much rice on the rolls.

Not to Belabor the Point

My overall feeling is I just couldn’t get over the fish quality, which didn’t hit the spot with me. I would say the shrimp tempura was my favorite of all the grab rolls that I tried. That is like saying that your favorite sushi is a California roll though, and not a real sushi experience. Also my favorite dish on the menu was the tofu appetizer, which I would go back for in a heartbeat. This is a sushi place though with a Michelin-starred sister restaurant, so the fish should have been the star of the show. In my opinion, it wasn’t.

Service

You feel like you’re really at a Tokyo sushi spot with the service at Maki Kosaka. While this is a modern and contemporary take on sushi, the servers are traditional and serious about their craft. They may not pontificate on each dish or entertain you, but they are kind, professional, and courteous.

Overall: 7/10

I wouldn’t go out of my way to come back, but if I was in the neighborhood I wouldn’t be opposed to additional visits.

Other Articles You’ll Like:

The Golden Swan Review 
Oiji Mi Review 
Tokyo Record Bar

FAQs

Q: What are the operating hours of Maki Kosaka?

A: Maki Kosaka is open as follows:

Wednesday
  • 5–9:30 PM
Thursday
  • 5–9:30 PM
Friday
  • 5–9:30 PM
Saturday
  • 12–2:30 PM
  • 5–9:30 PM
Sunday
  • 12–2:30 PM
  • 5–9:30 PM
Monday
  • Closed
Tuesday
  • 5–9:30 PM

Q: Where is Maki Kosaka located?

A: Maki Kosaka is located at 55 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011.

Q: Do you need reservations at Maki Kosaka?

A: On the earlier side and on the later side you can drop in and have a good chance of getting a table. In the prime dinner hours, you should make a reservation as they’re not open that late. For lunch, you can usually drop in without issue.

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The Golden Swan Review
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Brasserie Fouquet’s in NYC
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The Golden Swan Review
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Brasserie Fouquet’s in NYC

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