Mon-Sat, noon-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10pm; Sun, closed
C, E at 50th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
49th St. to 53rd St., Broadway to Ninth Ave.
At first glance Shimizu looks like a run-of-the-mill neighborhood Japanese joint. Wedged into a small space off the lobby of the Washington-Jefferson Hotel, its generically tasteful neutral-color décor is punctuated by a dozen tables and a few seats at the sushi bar. Look around and you’ll see groups of local office workers picking at plates of California rolls and teriyaki. Yet spend some time with the menu—or better yet, with owner-chef Hisao Shimizu—and you'll discover that this little place is a lot more serious than it lets on. Even if you stick to the standard sushi assortments, you'll find common items prepared with uncommon care: The first-rate fish is perfectly cut, and the moist and slightly warm rice is not an afterthought. Ordering by the piece will get you treats like luscious fatty tuna and creamy sea urchin; leaving things in the chef's hands will get you seasonal delicacies the menu never mentions. While not quite in the top tier of the city's sushi bars, Shimizu is, unexpectedly, pretty damn close.Extra
In the afternoon, you’ll find surprises at the cheaper end of the scale, with bargain-priced homestyle Japanese comfort food and a worthwhile $17 combination box.Recommended Dishes
Regular sushi, $21; seasonal chef's choice sushi platter, $45; chirashi, $30; daily lunch box, $16