Neo and a return to Ono

I made a journey to the Upper Westside last night.  I met two old friends at Neo.  A sushi joint at 83rd and Broadway.  Consistently I have found the food on Upper Westside like the Hamptons.  Good but not great.  Why is that?  There are plenty of people up there who would pay for good food.  Is it the water?  I have never been able to figure it out. 

The service was shaky.  Our waitress forgot we had ordered something but regrouped and brought it over.  Neo is an attempt to knock off some of the classic Nobu dishes.  Doesn’t work, at least for me.  They should attempt their own creations.  At the end of the day, it is a local sushi haunt.

I returned to Ono for dinner.  I realized there is a reason why restaurant critics go a few times before writing up the experience.  I was so disappointed the second time around.  The sushi wasn’t as fresh.  The bar had the music up so loud that it was hard to think.  We tried two appetizers this time.  Barbecued tuna on a stick.  Sticky ponzu sauce, well done tuna and all and all not good at $16.  We also had the  classic from Nobu, popcorn shrimp tempura.  Way too much tempura.  Very bready.  Alas.  Maybe lunch is just the trick.  Blue Ribbon Sushi is always great for lunch but have never had the same type of success for dinner.  So, who knows.