Tuesday, July 10, 2012

☞ EAT: Opening Night at Jado Sushi

Jado Sushi at FDB/8th Avenue and 115th Street had their soft opening last night and this Bespokesman invited a fellow designer who also happened to be a sushi enthusiast to come dine uptown.  With any new restaurant, three factors really fall into play which include aesthetics, food and service.  Since this was the first night out for the new eatery, we expected everything to be pretty decent except for maybe the service.

To start off, the interior is superbly realized by owner Nobu Otsu who happens to have a bit of a design background himself.  Dark rich neutral hues mixed with graphic floral wallpaper and dramatic overhead lamps make this one of the modern standouts in Harlem that feel updated and international.  Those who are into lavatory design should also make sure not to miss the black, crocodile skin embossed ceramic tile in the bathrooms.

As for the menu, the selection was more than ample enough to have a full meal and Jado offers up small, warm plates along with a classic sushi assortment.  First out was the ceviche which was served up with a side of fried plantains and a mysterious sauce that was not needed since the fish was marinated to perfection with bits of pomegranate bursting within each bite.  The Jado chicken was substantial but was our least favorite since it had the robust quality one would find in Chinese cuisine and seemed a little out of place. Then came the braised short rib which where absolutely amazing and easy to eat with just chopsticks since they were so tender.

Sushi was the main attraction here and this is where the service could use some improvement.  Two chefs behind the bar were working furiously all night since the restaurant was practically filled by mid evening.  There was a major lag in time for the sushi to arrive at the table since so many rolls were being ordered by guests throughout the dinner hour.  The waitstaff apologized and offered a free round of drinks but the newness of the operation was apparent at this point. Basically the back kitchen had the easier job and all the appetizers arrived quickly so another sushi chef might be needed out front during the dinner rush.

Once the food arrived, we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the sushi.  The sushi sampler for $25 was the best deal (less than $2 a piece) with nigiri pieces that were presented in the proper temperature and thus melted in ones mouth.  We both had been to Tokyo for business in the past and agreed that this was a good quality offering. Overall, this spot should get better since the service will surely improve day by day.  With that said, Jado Sushi is most definitely the only solid newcomer for Japanese cuisine uptown and gives another good reason for diners in Harlem to stay in the neighborhood.  Read our original interview with Nobu Otsu in our past post: LINK

Top three photos courtesy Jado Sushi


  1. Thanks for writing such a thorough review.

  2. New interior photos have been added to this post.

  3. The photos make it look like it was not busy. Was it full while you were there?

  4. The photos were taken at opening hour by the Jado staff. By the time we arrived for dinner at 8:30PM, the restaurant (which is quite large) had almost all tables booked.

  5. I was there for dinner - pretty busy. Food was on par with the better sushi joints downtown. I'm a new regular - loved it

    I noticed te pictures on the site changed, as earlier today, I saw myself in the picture of the bar, which was crowded at the time.

  6. Looks awesome! Can't wait to try! More of these restaurants in Harlem please!

  7. I can second everything Ulysses said about Jado's food and space, and I'll raise you a small, but well thought out wine list and a very congenial owner (at least at the start of our meal). I do, however, have a beef with the service which was, at least in our case, pretty bad. My sushi came out promptly, but we had to wait an additional 35 minutes for my husband's. I think it was a combination of the sushi chef traffic jam and a distracted/ overwhelmed server. The wait definitely disturbed the flow of our meal and took a toll on my dish (my tuna oxidized). But even that would have been forgivable (it WAS opening night) had someone made any kind of effort to apologize or attempt to right the situation. I'm not asking for special treatment or free stuff. I know we weren't the most valuable table on opening night, but we were a respectable tab ($150+ for two) and we were very patient with the server even though we had to keep flagging her down to remind her of the situation. I was really disappointed with how it changed the tenor of our visit and, frankly, I felt a bit taken advantage of. Here's hoping they get that right soon.

  8. tried it - thought it was a decent neighborhood sushi place - nice space, decent food, reasonable prices. I personally wish it were more expensive and had better sushi but dollar for dollar a decent meal - certainly noone south of 96th is coming north for this place - but a decent addition to our Restaurant Row.
    The service was terrible though, but I'm a patient guy so it doesn't bother me. If you're not patient (like the guys sitting next to me) you better stay away for a while. My guess is that this is my waiters first job ever in a restaurant. And candidly I don't think any amount of training will help him. My suggestion is to hire more skilled servers, but perhaps they already know that?????
    Off to a rocky start, but certainly has what it takes to make it.

  9. went to there last night. interior was fantastic. it's understandable since the restaurant is brand-new but the service was extremely slow ... hope it gets better.

  10. I had dinner at Jado on Friday and here are my humble opinions:

    Ambience: 8 This place hits if firmly on the head, the noise level is very nice, all staff is friendly and make you feel welcomed.

    Service: 8.5 Wait staff was very good. Our waitress was spot on and attended our every need. The bus staff is a bit rough around the edges but they were very attentive and that makes up for that.

    Food: 8 The food is not bad, but I agree with one of the earlier comments regarding the chicken dish, it is not the best. The sushi is quite good and I will be revisiting Jado very shortly.

  11. I was there with my wife this past Wednesday. This is exactly what I was hoping for: affordable sushi that will appease the sushi connoisseur. This is it and it pretty jumps to the top of my list of once a week sushi places in NY.

    The fish is top notch - fresh and perfectly cut. Everything else was also excellent - the rice, the size of each piece of sushi, and even the wasabi, soy sauce, and ginger were of excellent quality.

    This will not quite challenge the top places in NY - sushi of gari, yatsuda, etc. - but this is clearly set at a different price point. My only complaint is that I'd like to see even more - how about some aji, butterfish, monkfish liver, or even spider rolls?

  12. Went for dinner last Saturday! Excellent. So glad to have a quality Japanese restaurant here. The decor is elegant and the food delicious! yeah. Now we nee a good ole fashion diner!