October 11, 2010

{Cheap Eats} Shabu-Shabu 70 vs Matsu II Sushi

If we didn't have champagne tastes on a beer budget, we would dine at Sushi Yasuda every time we had a sushi craving.  Instead, we try out affordable sushi places in NYC.  We had heard good reviews about two casual sushi places on the Upper East Side:  Shabu-Shabu 70 and Matsu II Sushi.  So we checked out both of their lunch specials and at the end of our meals, found ourselves a couple new cheap sushi spots.

Shabu-Shabu 70 was quiet during our late weekday lunch.  Despite the avocado green walls and mostly empty tables, we enjoyed a pretty good meal with attentive service.  Before our meal, we were given hot towels to wash our hands (which was a nice touch).  We decided to share a sushi rolls and sashimi combos.  Our combos included both soup and salad.  We enjoyed them both and were pleasantly surprised that the salad came with real mixed greens 

Matsu was a more casual spot that offered a longer and later lunch special (from 11am to 4pm).  Because of its proximity to numerous people who work in the medical field, the restaurant had plenty of tables filled and take-out orders made.  Along with our combos, we had a choice of either soup or salad - which were fine (no different than other sushi places).
Sashimi included tuna, snapper, salmon, yellowtail, and fin.
Shabu-Shabu 70 offered a $12.50 sashimi lunch combo.  We loved the buttery tuna, silky salmon, and overall fresh sashimi.  For sashimi, Shabu-Shabu was the clear winner.
Sashimi plate included shrimp, striped bass, salmon, tuna, red snapper, crab, and mackerel.
Matsu's sashimi combo was cheaper ($10.95) and offered more variety.  The fish was good, but not as good as Shabu-Shabu's.  My husband did enjoy the striped bass and mackerel that was offered here.
At Shabu-Shabu 70, we chose the Alaska roll (salmon and avocado), salmon roll, and eel avocado roll as part of our Sushi Roll combo ($14.50).  Again, the fish here was very fresh and we preferred these rolls over the ones we had at Matsu.
However, Matsu's 3-roll sushi combo was much cheaper at $9.95.  We ordered pretty much the same rolls as the ones we had at Shabu-Shabu 70 (though here, we only had the option of eel cucumber).  They were good and had nice, big pieces of fish.
Between the two restaurants, we would definitely return to Shabu-Shabu 70 if we had a sashimi craving.  All of the food we had there was better than Matsu's.  However, Matsu's roll combo was almost $5 cheaper than Shabu-Shabu's. And though we preferred Shabu-Shabu's rolls, we didn't think it was significantly better.  So if we had a sushi roll craving, we would likely go to Matsu.  Either way, if we're on the Upper East Side, we know we have a couple of cheap sushi options.

Shabu-Shabu 70 on UrbanspoonMatsu Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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