A Sushi Bar within a Sports Bar: Visiting Prime Sushi in Manhattan on its Second Day [Food Friday]
Earlier this week, finding myself on Manhattan’s lower east side (having visited the Center for Jewish History) and having read about a new kosher-certified sushi place that opened up within a sports bar the previous day, my wife and decided to visit. Prime Sushi had its soft opening on Monday in a dedicated space separately within Promenade Sports Bar & Grill, with afternoon-night hours of 4pm-1am. When we walked in during happy hour, we were warmly greeted by the owner of the bar, who had opened it up a year-and-half ago. He was very friendly and happy to share with this customer about the novelty of opening up a kosher-certified sushi counter within a sports bar in Manhattan.
While my wife and I enjoyed half-price house margaritas (due to it being happy hour, which, by the way, were very reasonably priced), the owner shared with us about the genesis for the novel idea. His idea for having a kosher sushi counter within the bar came about from seeing many kippah-clad young men enjoying the drinks at his bar, yet being unable to consume any of the food there. He wanted the customers there to be happy and, having spoken to some young men, he offered them a separate space within his bar to operate their kosher-certified sushi counter.
After they agreed, the next step was getting kosher certification, about which various kosher-supervision agencies were nervous, due to the rest of the bar and grille not being kosher. Eventually, he was able to convince Rabbi Shmuel Fishelis to supervise the kashrus of the sushi. Another unique move was not only to kasher all of the wine glasses, but also to have the only wines there be kosher-certified (and מבושל)!
While the hours for Prime Sushi are 4pm-1am, Sunday through Thursday (and also after Shabbas), they hope to expand their operating hours to include lunchtime once the school year begins, accompanied by a grand opening sometime in the fall. Since there is no access for those at the sushi counter for cleaning dishes, they are currently using disposable materials. Also, to ensure that the sushi area maintains its kosher security, it can be separately locked off from the rest of the bar.
While my wife and I were there, to accompany our margaritas (I had two), we each ordered a sushi roll (we would have had more if we hadn’t had dinner plans with friends afterwards), with her ordering the Crispy Dragon and my ordering the Crazy Tuna (see here for the sushi menu). Both of us were greatly satisfied with our orders. I particularly enjoyed that roll, especially with the black peppered tuna on top of the roll.
The owner also shared with us that if there’s enough business and demand for a fully kosher bar and grill there, he would gladly do it, but it does have to make good business sense. In the meantime, there is now a place in Manhattan where kosher-keeping Jews can drink at a sports bar and have their kosher-certified sushi, as well. We look forward to eating there upon our next trip to Manhattan.