August 12, 2008

Aki on West 4th - Not Your Ordinary Asian Fusion

Aki Sushi on West 4th (I mention the West 4th because there are so many sushi places in the city named Aki Sushi- and this is not to be confused with your ordinary neighborhood takeout place).

Aki on West 4th is Japanese food with a Caribbean influence - Japanese + Jamaican.

While the sushi is good, the appetizers are even better. You can get sushi anywhere. But, the chef's Jamaican inspired appetizers melding fresh fruits and fish is a special find.

This, you cannot get anywhere else.

The chef of Aki on West 4th was a chef to the Japanese ambassador to the West Indies, bringing to us the best of both worlds through his innovative and inspired dishes.

The menu is broad, with many appetizers to choose from. Typically I order the prix- fixe, 2 appetizers + sushi/sashimi entree + dessert. The appetizers are the prized jewel.

tuna mille feuilleFavorites include the "must have" Tuna MilleFeuille: tuna, fiji apple, avocado, shiso and tobiko with apple vinegar and white balsamic sauce. The apple gives it a refreshing crunch, and the avocado marries the dish together, providing what I often call the butter or glue to the dish. The acid from the vinegar is a perfect finish.

A hot appetizer I like is the Eel Napoleon. This is truly unique. Eel, fried tofu, mashed eel & pumpkin and ginger with eel sauce. It sounds like a lot of eel, but the pumpkin adds a nice twist to the customary sweetness associated with eel rolls. The plating is exquisite, and if you like eel, I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Where else have you heard of an Eel Napoleon?

For the entree, the sushi and sashimi are fresh - an obvious requirement of any good sushi joint. Like I said though, the highlights are the appetizers.

For dessert, my choice is the Green Tea Tiramisu, but if you are more adventurous, go with the Tofu Panna Cotta - with soymilk, tapioca, green tea syrup, red bean and logan. The red bean and logan bring me back to Asia.

Drinks. This place is quite generous with the drinks. Order a small plum wine for $8 bucks - it comes with its own vessel - which often seems never-ending. A lovely addition to the meal.

Tip - this place is tiny so definitely make reservations. Also, there is an early bird special from 6:30-7:30pm (short window- often changes so call first, but if you make's worth it.)
(picture from

Aki on West 4th
181 W. 4th St., New York, NY

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