Dine Out : Juku

Juku Review, Juku NYC, Juku New York, Juku Omakase, Juku Sushi

Nestled between two funeral parlors in Chinatown, Juku offers a unique multi dining concept in a three story space with an upper level omakase bar helmed by chef Kazuo Yoshida, a ground floor izakaya and a subterranean cocktail bar/speakeasy Straylight which is designed as an immersive art installation. This review will be for the omakase. Meaning "I will leave it to you" omakase is a Japanese dining tradition that gives way to a chef's creative freedom to create a memorable dining for guests. The prix-fixe Omakase at Juku starts at 15 pieces with a hand roll for $120 and that is what we opted for.

Juku, Juku Review, Juku NYC, Juku New York, Juku Sushi

The decor of the space in general has a bit of minimal meets trendy vibe. The 12 seat sushi bar provides for an intimate experience. It is high bar style seating which puts you on level with the counter.  We informed them of my husband's shellfish allergy when we ordered and they were easily able to accomodate it. The sushi is served to guests on a pretty rectangular mother of pearl slab. Chef Kazuo was personable and friendly and it was cool to watch him dexterously working to prepare each piece methodically. As he placed it before us he would tell us what it was as well as where it came from which included places from Tokyo to Tasmania.

Juku, Juku Review, Juku NYC, Juku New York, Juku Sushi

All the fish was really fresh and delicious and the sushi itself had a nice robust flavor. The chef mentioned that the rice was seasoned with a "secret" blend of 3 different types of vinegar. Highlights included the Japanese Barracuda (pictured upper center, above) which was flash cooked with a blow torch. It was really well balanced and tender. This was a favorite for both of us. Yellowtail is one of my faves so I was a big fan of the Tsumi Buri - Rainbow Yellowtail which had a really nice buttery texture and flavor. Also really liked the Kinmedai - Golden Eye Snapper and Hotate - Scallop.  I didn't really enjoy the Spanish Mackerel  which was overpowered by ghost pepper and the Japanese Snow Crab (pictured lower left, above). The clumpy looking presentation was rather unappealing and it was also lacking in taste. At the end of my meal, I was given a piece of Tamago which always throws me because the cake like appearance belies it's shrimpy flavor.

Juku, Juku Review, Juku NYC, Juku New York, Juku Sushi

We had a pleasant experience and got to try some new things which we really enjoyed and that is the beauty of omakase. Even though the omakase is timed, they did a good job with pacing so we never felt rushed and even had a breather in between each piece. I heard the person next to me whisper to her companion that the pieces were small but to us they were a good size. Any bigger, I might not have been able to finish. We left there full and happy. Omakase is a small luxury that we indulge in every so often so we like to make sure we go to good places. Juku is actually one of the less expensive places and they do well in balancing quality, selection and price. We would go back and we also want to try the izakaya too.

32 Mulberry Street
New York City
$$$ - $$$$
Juku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Linda, Libra, Loca said...

It sounds like a lovely experience - I really enjoy meals when the chef gets to choose the courses, I like the element of surprise that adds.

Carolyna's world said...

wow such a choice. Great post my dear xx

Jackie Harrison said...

These sushi look so appetizing now I want to have that for dinner. Great place to enjoy it. Thanks for the informing us another great restaurant.

R's Rue said...


Emmylou said...

As a sushi lover, I am all over this post, my friend:D It all looks sooo good...even that Japanese Snow Crab:P It's great to read about restaurants like this. Even though I eat fast food more nowadays, I really do love this kind of eating experience.

Ivana Split said...

To me the proportions look perfect. As you said, any bigger and it would be hard to finish them. 13 dishes in a row would be too much if the proportions were any bigger. I love that you could see the chef work and hear him explain the dishes and were the ingredients were from. All of these dishes look mouth-watering, simply perfect for lovers of fish. I think I saw this type of Japanese restaurants where you're at the level with the chef and watch him prepare food, but I have never been to one. Juku seems like a great restaurant. The price doesn't seem too much for the dinning experience offered. It is lovely that you didn't feel rushed while you were there. My husband loves eating at restaurants and I would definitely treat him to this if we lived in NYC.

Indeed, Omesake sounds like such a great experience! As a sushi lover, I would love to try it myself. I had sushi a couple of times but only at two restaurants so far, and while I always loved it, I'd love to try it at different restaurants. I still haven't tried preparing it myself.

Pilar said...

It sounds like you had a great experience at the restaurant!

Dressed With Soul said...

How wonderful it was worth the price and you will even dine there again! I have to admit it looks delicious and I really wish we would have something similar here in the country of Bavaria :)
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

Priya Hareesh said...

its so worth the price, looks delicious and quantity is perfect

ALLIE NYC said...

I have not had sushi in months and it is one of my favorite foods. Two funeral parlors? And ghosts besides the pepper hahaha.

Too bad there were some misses for $120 I would expect no misses lol. But overall it was a good experience and if you can afford the indulgence then by all means...

Allie of

Paola Lauretano said...

Sounds like a great choice! I love sushi!!!
Kisses, Paola.


Shireen L. Platt said...

This sounds like a lovely experience, Rowena! The elements of surprise when it comes to food is intimidating especially when I can be quite fussy but I think it would be a good opportunity to push me out of my usual selections.

Mai Nguyen said...

This looks amazing! Is Juku new? I'll have to add it to my list of places for omakase.

Kinga K. said...

I would like to eat it :D

Reckless diary by Anya Dryagina said...

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

So tasty.