Otaru (New Haven, CT)

Had occasion to be in New Haven for a few days recently. I needed a change of pace after a pizza crawl the day before and a friend took me to Otaru for omakase. I had never heard of this place before, but was pleasantly surprised. Otaru is right downtown, a bit south of Yale and 4 blocks from Toads Place. Located under a parking garage, the restaurant looks unassuming as the best places often do.

Sunny, the Itamae, certainly knows his fish. His wife runs the front of the house. We sat at the corner of the sushi bar (with covid plexiglass still in place). There were 6 other diners at our seating. In the small restaurant were 2, 2 tops eating a la carte.

I was blown away by the freshness of the fish and expertise of how it was handled. Sunny said they previously ran a restaurant in Manhattan, but had decamped to New Haven for a more manageable pace. He still travels to New York weekly to source fish for Otaru. Sunny is as gracious as he is talented. He quickly sized up everyone joining in the omakase and was as welcoming to first timers as to regulars.

The progression of nigiri and other dishes was thoroughly satisfying, but we did stick around for some off menu items after the omakase progression had finished. Otaru focuses on the best of the season. Our menu included Kamasu (baby barracuda), Sayori (Half Beak), Kinmedai, Nodoguro (rosy seabass), Aji Jack, Yari Ika (arrow squid), in addition to usual favorites otoro, uni :grin:, unagi, etc.

A world class sushi place has been hiding under our noses. NYC quality at a fraction of the price. We’ll be driving to New York more often in the future so we can stop at Otaru. New Haven can boast the best pizza and sushi in New England…pretty impressive!


How much was it, if I may ask?

This sounds like good news. Thanks for the alert.

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The omakase set was a just north of $100/pp. We ran the bill up a bit more with sake and bonus rounds. However, I could have left perfectly content after the 16 course omakase if I wasn’t a glutton.

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Thanks. And if you’re guilty of gluttony when you get extra rounds, I’m guiltier. I’ll duel you for the honor with sushi at dawn.