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East Village/ LES >
Posted by Don't Fear the Ginger on 02/03/2013
With great anticipation and high expectations, I walked into Bugs with a few friends. Excited to experience this highly praised sushi eatery; we came with empty stomachs and open minds. Since we were a large group (greater than 2) we were seated at the bar. The intimate restaurant fits about 16 customers and more than half have bar stools. The cozy space is quite incredible; while I sat enjoying my meal, I watched the chef blowtorch fish and sauté mushrooms for her sublime sesame dressed salad while noticing the waitress washing dishes and simultaneously acting as a sous chef. Instead of dinner and a show, Bugs is a restaurant theatre for the culinarily enthused. We began our tasting with a miso sake soup that may have been the highlight of the entire meal. The subtle hints of ginger swimming through the intoxicating broth felt like heavenly ribbons floating through a delicate cloud and finished by an acidic punch provided by the sake. The tartar of yellowtail with shishito and jalapeno, wasabi tuna and salmon with apple ginger sauce was impeccable. The flavors melted together perfectly and these three fish became one under the direction of Chef Sho Boo; deciphering the different flavors plays a trick on the tongue and I was in absolute elation. The crispy pork belly was melt-in-your –mouth delightful, who knew deep fried pork fat could be so light? I have never tasted such light deep fried pork fat in my life! Complimented by the brightness of lemon, this was hands down the best cooked dish of our meal. Of all of the dishes we tried, the cooked salmon dish was my least favorite. It was too rich for my taste. Even though it was not my bag, it was the favorite of my friend whom I dined with. My complaint, the dishes are too large, especially the cooked salmon and pork belly. While tasty, I cannot enjoy my meal to the fullest when I am stuffed. By the time our sextet of sushi began, my state of fullness was to pushing past the borders of satiated towards the level of uncomfortable. Luckily when it comes to amazing food, I am a trooper and powered through our final course, sushi. The different fish pairings were clean and savory. My favorite was the jalapeño topped amberjack. All of my friends were in disagreement and claimed others should be crowned with the number one sushi title. What a wonderful argument to complete our anything but modest tasting course!