Crushes happen so easily in the summer and for me, restaurants are no different than people. I find a place, discover its secrets and delicacies, then make it a part of my routine. Shinsen Bowery has all the best qualities you’d want in a crush: it’s hip, high-quality, and still hidden away enough that you don’t have to worry about fighting for a seat… yet.
The exterior of the restaurant looks more like a traditional Chinese bakery or coffee shop than a sushi restaurant. The neon pink lighting, tiled floors, and cozy furniture make for a nice, upscale experience. You can sit at the sushi counter and watch them craft your food or lounge at one of the large tables.
High quality sushi is difficult to find in the Chinatown area, and it’s an expensive commodity wherever you go in the city. Shinsen offers the popular luxury options: uni, wagyu beef, and fatty tuna all make very fetching appearances on the menu. Both the wagyu rice bowl and appetizer give substantial portions of buttery, juicy seared meat petals.
However, Shinsen also has plenty of really yummy comfort food options for those who can’t afford to eat like a daimyo. I highly recommend the spicy salmon roll and beef/chicken udon, and the oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice bowl).
I find the oyakodon to be my go-to when I order here. The morsels of chicken are marinated with a sweet sauce that complements the fresh onion and chives wonderfully. Swirls of soft, scrambled eggs give the dish an airy and creamy texture. The dish manages to be extremely filling and savory without being too salty. Other oyakodons throughout NYC, while tasty in their own way, overdo it on the dashi stock, and leave you thirsty for hours afterwards. Shinsen’s oyakodon is light and springy.
The chirashi bowls, named Canal, Soho, and Mulberry after the surrounding streets, offer different bouquets and permutations of very fresh fish fish and seafood over expertly cooked and seasoned rice. True to their names, the Canal has portions of traditional salmon, tuna, and shrimp whilst the Soho and Mulberry feature scallops and other more bougie sea creatures.
Concluding my bowl coverage, I greatly enjoyed the Uni-Ikura bowl–the lunch time portion was extremely generous with servings of delicate urchin and roe.
Another exciting dish is the Ahi Tower, a literal tower of spicy tuna, sweet crab, and creamy avocado on a seasoned sushi rice base that will entertain both the eyes and the tastebuds of your group.
Of the specialty sushi rolls, my favorite is currently the Tuna Maja Roll, which combines perfectly crisp shrimp tempura with pepper tuna and spicy tuna. It’s crunchy and fiery, and the shrimp are bursting with umami flavor. There’s also the Hokkaido roll for those looking for a low carb option; it swaps rice out for onions.
While Shinsen is a little more pricey than what you’d normally be paying for in Chinatown, the delicious Japanese food and refined atmosphere are an excellent value and I highly recommend it for either lunch or dinner–especially with a larger group of coworkers or friends.
You’ll find Chinatown natives, tourists, and even the occasional celebrity here. I dined next to Jeremy Lin, just the other night. As word gets around, I predict this place will get a lot more busy and that you’ll want to make reservations if you plan on getting dinner. Secret spots this yummy and trendy don’t stay secret for long.
Address: 44 Bowery, New York, NY. 10013.
Phone Number: (347) 688-5404