Like a little secret tucked beneath Daruma-ya, this standout sushi den has a serene look and private feel that is intimacy incarnate. This works out well, since the subterranean room can only seat about a dozen guests. The changing roster of Japanese chefs maintain their mystical composure beneath the dark painting of a carp behind the counter, fostering a relaxed pace to each meal even as orders pile in from upstairs. True, they may be serving the same quality fish as the spot above, but the omakase dishes here are incomparably superior. This is immediately clear from the first bit of otoshi, house-made silken tofu with the bold flavors of sea urchin and salmon roe, finished with bits of crisped nori. The kitchen's seasonal influences may be reflected in a springtime bowl of bamboo shoots braised in smoky dashi, or a delicate cube of steamed Japanese red snapper in soy-ginger broth with grated turnip and a fragrant, bright green cherry leaf. The array of sushi includes an explosively briny giant clam, sea scallop with grated yuzu on perfectly cooked rice, and raw sweet shrimp that is downright knee-weakening. The miso soup is the best you've had in a long time.
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