By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

This week, a friend took me to her favorite sushi spot in lower Manhattan: a place called Kotobuki on 3rd Avenue between 10th and 11th Street. She claims it’s her secret spot, so I feel a little guilty sharing, but not so guilty that I won’t. People should know about Kotobuki, which has three other locations in the New York area.

The food
Kotobuki’s menu is a lengthy one and boasts a rather impressive list of options from the sushi bar.

Usually, I’ll order a few appetizers and a few rolls when I go out for sushi, but I wanted my friend to take the lead since Kotobuki is her spot. We had the sashimi deluxe: 18 pieces of sashimi, salmon carpaccio, and the UFO roll. The UFO roll is riceless and contains salmon, tuna, yellowtail, avocado, scallions, and tobiko rapped in daikon.

We also ate the American Dream roll: eel, salmon, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp tempura, tobiko, avocado, spicy mayo, and eel sauce. The fish was some of the freshest I’ve had. It’s been my experience that most sashimi platters only contain a few different kinds of fish, but Kotobuki’s platter is quite elaborate. I’m not sure I can name it all; some of the sashimi I’ve not had before. Kotobuki gets a big bonus for that.

The drinks
The restaurant does not have a full bar, but it does serve wine, beer, and sake. I had the house chardonnay, but the next time I go I intend to try the banzai: a plum wine and sake cocktail served on the rocks.

Kotobuki also offers soft drinks, bottled water, and iced tea.

The service/ambience
The waitstaff at Kotobuki is both attentive and knowledgeable. The space is pretty sizeable, but luckily we were tucked in the very front corner next to the windows. I can’t speak for the busier sections of the restaurant, but I felt quite at peace in our spot. The acoustics are ideal in that I hardly noticed when the space filled up.

What’s best about Kotobuki is that the food is fresh, inventive, and high quality, but sushi here won’t take a toll on the wallet the way most other sushi bars of equal caliber in Manhattan will. Check it out, but keep the secret.