Toqueville is a successful under the radar restaurant. The first location was at 15 East 15th and then they moved to new digs a little farther down the street. The restaurant is beautiful and the food is quite good too.
The owners of Toqueville, took the old location and turned it into a Japanese restaurant called 15 East. What a gem. 15 East ranks up there right next to some of the best sushi restaurants in the city. I can hardly wait to go back.
The front room is a long wrap around sushi ba, 9 seats. Watching the chefs do their stuff. The chef, Masato Shimizu, who came from Jewel Bako (which I think has gone downhill) is now at 15 East. Then there is a long, but intimate room, in dark grays, large hanging lamps and small tables to sit down and have dinner. Very serene.
There are 2 sides of the menu. One is sushi type appetizers and sushi, the other side is appetizers and main courses from the kitchen. All looked good but we all opted for the sushi side of the menu. A variety of sakes are available too. The staff is well versed in what type of sakes would go with what you ordered too, a sake sommelier.
We began with a few appetizers for the table. Heirloom edamame. We all thought that was funny. Nobody had ever heard of heirloom edamame but they were quite good, almost sweet. We then split the slow poached octopus. Pieces of cooked octopus sliced and served with a sea salt to dip it into. Quite good and well cooked. We also had tiny squid with a spicy miso sauce. On a large wooden tray with about 20 tiny small squids that had been roasted (almost like Spanish tapas) served with lines of spicy miso. These bite size squids were delicious. I could have gone through a bowl myself. The other appetizer we all split was Japanese Latkes. Piece of shrimp, root vegetables, sweet onions and other Japanese vegetables deep fried. Not only were they beautiful, they were absolutely delicious. I had to hold myself back from eating them all. Very clever idea.
Fred and I split the uni special. Uni from California that had arrived that day. On a huge sea urchin shell the uni was placed on top. It was quite beautiful. If you are an uni fan, this was a true treat. Then we all ordered sushi. Each piece was fresh, delicious tasting and a good sized piece. Not too big, not too small.
We really enjoyed the company but we also enjoyed the meal. I have always believed the key to good sushi is waking up the next morning and not tasting like you had sushi the night before. 15 East passed the test. Not only was it good going down, it tasted perfect the next morning, like nothing.
15 East will definitely become our favorite sushi haunt.