Sushi Ginza Onodera. Photo: Sophie Fabbri
The New York location of Sushi Ginza Onodera, the high-end chain from Tokyo, will close on August 19. First opened in 2016, it was part of the early wave of tuna temples — including Sushi Amane, Noda, and Uchu by Ichimura — imported directly from Japan. (Just like its fish.) Those businesses were operated by owners seizing on Edomae sushi’s Jiro-enabled status, replacing the power lunch as the status meal among the city’s ruling class. Through a representative, the restaurant’s general manager Yoko Yamaguchi writes that “the New York dining scene, particularly the sushi omakase scene, has undergone significant transformations during the past seven years” and that they are reassessing “the manner in which we cater to our guests.”
Sushi Ginza Onodera opened around the same time as other omakase imports where the quality of the fish was only matched by the ridiculous heights of the prices. The cost of entrance could be upwards of $300; the sticker shock was severe. As the New York Times’ Pete Wells wrote back in 2016, in a review of the much more affordable Uogashi, restaurants like Ginza made Sushi Nakazawa’s “$150 omakase look more and more like the recession special at Gray’s Papaya.” Since then, more very pricey sushi spots have opened, including 69 Leonard Street ($480 — tip included!) and Sushi Noz (called a “sacred space” by Michelin).
Of course, the standard-bearer for Extremely Expensive Tuna remains Masa, which predated this wave and was long considered the pinnacle of sushi in New York (though some enthusiasts say its excellence has waned over the years). As of 2022, the restaurant nevertheless charges $950 per person for omakase at the bar.