Hatsuhana (NYC, Sushi) Review

Let us preface this review by noting that if you are not a true sushi enthusiast, this is probably not the right place for you (as can be expected from an authentic Japanese sushi joint). But if you do happen to enjoy sushi, you may have just stepped into sushi heaven. So let’s get started!

Zagat calls it the “real deal for traditional sushi” and a “been-there-forever” Midtown restaurant. Both are quite true and equally important here. Hatsuhana opened its door in 1976 and is listed as one of the 7 restaurants that changed New York City, which is an incredible accomplishment.

Located at 17 East 48th street (between 5th and Madison avenue), Hatsuhana has been there long before the top NYC sushi spots you may have heard of (Sushi Yasuda’s chef for example came from Hatsuhana). While some may say it is not exactly what it was before, we can testify that it is still a truly unique, traditional Japanese experience like no other.

How do we know? About 15 visits over the last 15 months. That’s how. Before you go, here is what you need to know:

  • Food: NYC is one of the greatest international hubs, and as a result, we are fortunate to benefit from daily flights from all around the world. This includes Japan. Hatsuhana gets fresh fish from both Japan and Spain, and the fish quality coupled with the chef’s savoir-faire are simply incredible. If the review were to stop here, and everything else was terrible, we’d still recommend you try it! Thankfully the rest is quite good too, don’t worry. But food tops all other metrics here and scores a top 5/5.
  • Service: friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. Most of the staff is Japanese, which contributes to the authentic touch of the place. Whether you go for a quick business lunch or dinner, the tempo tends to be on the quick side, with no time wasted. A matter of respect I suppose, but it sometimes feels rushed which may take away from the experience for some. A good but not excellent 4 in this category.
  • Atmosphere: simple and a bit dated. It’s all about the food here. This is not Tao or Nobu! If this is the experience you’re looking for, turn around. Hatsuhana is for the food enthusiast, not those looking for a scene. We give Hatsuhana a mixed 3.5/5 here.
  • Price & value: it’s no surprise that sushi tends to be expensive everywhere, but compared to other sushi places in NYC, the value proposition here is strong. The Box of Dreams and Deluxe Sushi Sampler for examples offer some of the best combos you’ll find for both price, quantity and quality. An excellent 4.5/5 score here.
  • Would we go again?  It’s almost become a weekly staple. So definitely, yes.
  • Any particular tips or advice? The “Box of Dreams” is a must try if you are more into sashimi and the “Deluxe Sushi Sampler” is amazing for nigiri lovers. You can also “pick 10” and make your own combo, but letting the Chef decides which fish is best for the day is often the best route. Another tip? Their hot green tea is spectacular and comes with unlimited free refills. Another tip: ask to be seated upstairs, the atmosphere is much better than on the ground level.
  • Any parting words?  Know before you go. Take a look at the pictures, look into the menu, read up on some experiences. Hatsuhana is absolutely amazing, but if you’re new to sushi, or just trying it out, or have someone in your party that may not be on board, then you need to take that into consideration as this is as pure of a sushi place as you’ll find, with a menu that is (almost) all sushi!

Our verdict: an excellent 4.5 out of 5 overall for this unique NYC staple. We hope it will be here forever.

Inside look at the “Box of Dreams”:

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The famous “Box of Dreams” from Hatsuhana actually delivers on its name!!! 😍👌🍣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s quite difficult sometimes to find good uni (sea urchin) but this one was truly amazing. The other “usual” salmon, tuna, toro, yellowtail, shrimp, scallop, eel and omelet were just were equally as good. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our favorite sushi place in NY. Hope it never goes away!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ————————————————— #thetravelingplates #newyorkcity #midtown #sushi #hatsuhana #sushilover #sushitime #sushiislife #sushiplatter #sushigram #sushiaddict #sushidate #japanesefood #foodie #foodinspiration #tarabagani #boxofdreams #nigiri #nigirisushi #toro #kanpachi #hirame #sawara #aji #uni #unagi #shotoniPhoneX

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And finally, a couple of additional useful links:

Anything else you’d like to know? Let us know in the comments! Also interested in additional feedback from others who’s tried this amazing place.

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