Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Birthday Celebration

Eric and I are back from a great weekend in Cleveland with my family! We had a wonderful time, and I will be telling you all about it soon. As usual, I need some time to get my life in order and go through my pictures. I also have some work coming in this week which might slow things down a bit, but we'll see. Hooray, work!

But before we get to the reunion recap, let's talk birthday. I had a very low-key birthday last week, but it was very nice! I feel great about how I celebrated my 28th year. I received lots of phone calls, cards, Facebook posts, and emails wishing me well - thank you all for thinking of me!

Eric and I stayed up till midnight Wednesday night to officially welcome in my birthday (dude, how old are we that this is big news?). Thursday I lounged in bed until Eric left for work, then woke up and read the beautiful card he left on my computer. Then I opened up my computer and this is what I saw:

Eric wrote 28 Post-It notes in honor of my birthday and left them around the house for me to find. Obviously, a large number of them covered my computer. My favorite was this one, with the smiley face with "teeth:"

He also left notes in the kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity cabinet, A/C unit, on the kitchen table, on my cereal box, and in the dog's food bowl. He's so sweet! I loved finding his notes all morning.

The big, fancy birthday celebration was my lunch with Eric. I left the house a little before 1:00, hopped in a cab, and met him at his office. From there we walked a few blocks to Sushi Yasuda, the best sushi restaurant in NYC. In fact, not only does the 2010 NYC Zagat Guide have Sushi Yasuda ranked as the #1 sushi restaurant (and one of the top five restaurants for food overall), they also claim it is the best sushi outside of Japan. So, we kind of thought it might be good. And you know what? It was.

We had a 1:30 reservation at the bar, but we arrived a little early and they were able to seat us right away. They're very strict with their reservation policies - you must confirm your reservation the day before or they will cancel it, if you are more than 10 minutes late you will lose your reservation, and you only have an hour and a half to eat before they will rush you out. (For what it's worth, we had no problem dining in that time frame.)

Outside, there is no name over the restaurant, just a picture of a fish. Inside, the decor is very minimalistic. It was actually kind of refreshing to see a NYC restaurant without tons of tables crammed into their tiny space. It was open and simple. Very nice.

  The birthday girl in front of Sushi Yasuda

Home of amazingly incredible sushi 

(Quick note: I felt awkward taking pictures inside the restaurant, so any pictures in this post of the interior or the food were found online, mostly from Yelp.com.)

We took our seats at the bar and placed our order. They offer a prix-fixe lunch option that we both took advantage of. Eric ordered the salmon teriyaki (yes, don't worry, I already gave him a hard time for not ordering sushi), and I ordered the sushi and sashimi combination. They brought us hot towels to wash our hands, then we began our meal with miso soup for me and salad for Eric, plus some iced green tea to drink.

The bar at Sushi Yasuda. The gentleman on the right is Mr. Yasuda himself! The man next to him was our chef.

Miso soup

Rather than choose what specific pieces I wanted for my meal, I opted for the omakase, which means letting the chef choose what to serve you. I was most certainly not disappointed. To be honest, I don't even know what most of what I ate even was - but I know it was divine. My main course began with sashimi, which looked very similar to this:

Three types of thinly sliced sashimi. Yum.

Now, I definitely know that I enjoy sushi, but I am not well-versed in what everything is and how to eat it. And, my chopsticks skills are deplorable (at one point I actually told our chef that it was okay to laugh at me as I struggled with my chopsticks). However, our chef was very nice and explained to me exactly how to eat everything. For the above sashimi, he instructed me to take a tiny bit of wasabi and tsuma (paper-thin strips of white radish) with my chopsticks and place it on top of each piece, then just lightly dip the edge of the fish into my soy sauce. Let me tell you what - that fish melted in my mouth. It was incredible. Eric tried a piece, too (he does like sushi, just doesn't often eat it), and he even described it as "exquisite." I do not disagree.

Next up were three pieces of sushi that, again, I have no idea exactly what they were. I know that the first was my favorite and I am kicking myself for not asking the chef to repeat what it was so that I could order it by the truckload to eat every day for the rest of my life. For these pieces, our chef informed me that soy sauce had already been applied so I should just eat it as it was. And it was good.

My mouth is watering right now.

Finally, I was served six pieces of maki (sushi wrapped in dried seaweed). And yes, again, I do not know exactly what they were. I think one was some kind of tuna, and maybe yellowtail? But that's all I've got. And again, I was in heaven. Once that was gone, Eric and I decided to keep the party going just a bit and ordered another toro roll to split. Hey, guess what? It was amazing.

Toro roll

We finished our meal with some green tea ice cream. I have to say, I was sad to see the end of that meal. This sushi has definitely changed my life. I'm already anxious to go back again!

In addition to the food being so delicious, it was very cool to watch the chef make it right in front of you. They go so fast and are so precise. It was really neat to watch. I found this video of a Sushi Yasuda chef in action online to give you an idea:

VIDEO: Sushi master at Sushi Yasuda

All in all, it was a fabulous birthday lunch. Thanks for taking me, Eric!

With my husband outside Sushi Yasuda after an amazing birthday lunch

After lunch I went back to Eric's office for a few minutes then made my way home. I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, then met up with Eric when he got out of work to pick up some dinner and champagne for the evening. I had to do some laundry before our trip (oh, the joys of being a grown-up - now I do laundry on my birthday!), then we got ourselves packed and ready to go. We then stayed up late talking and drinking champagne. It was a great day!

Thanks again to Eric and everyone else who made my birthday so special! I'm a lucky girl.


Lucia said...

Glad to see it was such a great birthday!

Dad said...

Now if they would only cook that fish! ;o)