A sophomore outpost of this speakeasy-style sushi restaurant has opened up in the labyrinth beneath the Jue Lan Club restaurant in Chelsea, and it’s just as big of a success as the Time Square flagship. Neon lights point the way down a few steps and through a funky yet ominous stairwell covered from ceiling to floor in bright, mesmerizing graffiti.
A velvet couch lies behind the host stand, where you can check in and order a cocktail before taking your place at the bar. The room is dimly lit, casting a glow on the retro furniture that renders the atmosphere (there’s no other word for it) sexy.
Sushi by Bou’s 12-piece omakase is a unique concept birthed from Chef Daniel Bouhadana and restauranteur Michael Sinensky, enabling each guest to experience a superb selection of omakase at a fixed price of $50. The catch is that once you’ve taken your seat at the sushi bar, the timer starts and you have 30 minutes to enjoy your meal.
The lunch shift accommodates four seatings per day, and the dinner service nine seatings per day, making efficient culinary and service skills a necessity for this to succeed. The chefs are polite and entertaining, chatting amicably as they go about their work, which they may have already done 10 times that day.
As in a traditional omakase, each course features a different fish, some simply cut and placed on a bed of perfectly pearled sushi rice, and some garnished with a creative addition, such as the charcoal salt that rests atop the raw scallop (my favorite piece of the night).
The line-up at Sushi by Bou remains fixed and stars tried and true cuts of Akami, Hamachi, toro, salmon, albacore, ikura, uni, scallop, shrimp, wagyu, unagi, and our second favorite of the night, wagyuni. Wagynui is a delicate cut of seared wagyu beef topped with the creamy funk of creamsicle-colored uni that Chef has deemed “millenial surf and turf”, and I’m not mad about it.
The most recent update to already out-of-the-box dining option sat Sushi by Bou is an in-house tenure by sushi Chef Oona Tempest, cleverly nicknamed “Sushi by Bae”.
Tempest, one of New York’s only female sushi chefs, crafts a 90-minute, $100 omakase menu in the space on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 6pm, 7:30pm, and 9pm.
With so many exciting changes in such a short amount of time, I’m excited to see what’s next for this talented group of innovators.