Let me first start by saying that Jewel Bako is the best sushi place in the world.
Well, ok, so I can’t really say that because I’ve never actually been to every sushi place in the world, but it’s damn near the ideal. Second - let’s talk about Jack. Jack and his wife Grace own Jewel Bako. You couldn’t ask for a more hospitable pair of folks. Grace’s smile will melt your heart, and Jack’s recommendations on fish, pairings, sake, you name it - are spot on.
The atmosphere is warm and inviting. It’s a small restaruant, which enhances the ‘special-ness’ of the experience. I honestly don’t remember if music was even playing - the bliss was too much… if there was music, it was quiet.
Of the four times I’ve been, I ordered the omakase twice, and random things other times. Omakase means “chef, I’m in your hands”, and at Jewel Bako, in the chef’s hands is great palce to be. I recommend the omakase over anything else - the chef will blow your mind - sit a the sushi bar. The omakase ranges from $50-100, and all consist of appetizer(s), fish(s), and desert(s).
If you’re lucky, he’ll pull out his fish book and show you the strange fish he’s brought over from his fisherman cousin in Japan (or was is uncle?). Jewel Bako also has some very rare finds - I’ve had Jellyfish there, baby eel, and young, fresh sardines. I’ve also had the best tuna ever here - it was a cut from between the cheek and belly of the tuna, which I think is pretty rare - it was deep, glowing, red, and seared with sesame sauce and a torch.
Their sake selection is also top notch - my favorite is “clearwater” (a jizake - or non-mass produced sake) It’s fresh taste goes well with just about anything.
In closing, if you’re going to be in New York, and you love sushi - just go there, you won’t be sad.