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Story - Food

Jun 5, 2018 10:59 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Sushi By Bou Pops Up At Jue Lan Club In Southampton

Jun 5, 2018 11:13 AM

This may very well be the year of the pop-up. With EMP Summer House, Moby’s and Shuko competing for the title of Most Coveted Reservation of 2018, Southampton needed some skin in the game, too. Enter: Sushi by Bou, a Hamptons sushi pop-up hosted by the Chinese restaurant Jue Lan Club.

Sushi by Bou is an incarnation of a New York City omakasé pop-up (at an omakasé tasting, the chef selects his or her choices for a diner’s enjoyment; there is no “menu”) that has appeared at the Sanctuary Hotel, the city outpost of Jue Lan Club and the Limelight Patio. The experience is designed by chef David Bouhadana and includes such fish as live scallop, hamachi, uni (sea urchin), otoro (fatty tuna), and unagi (freshwater eel).

The Southampton version of Sushi by Bou will be a novel take on omakasé, with a 60-minute meal at dinner service for $100 and a 30-minute meal at lunch service for $50. Dinner will feature 15 pieces of sushi, along with a “seasonal” hand roll, while lunch will feature 12 pieces of sushi. Eight guests will dine per lunch seating. Lunch and dinner will be available by reservation only, Wednesdays through Sundays.

The concept of the Southampton iteration of Sushi by Bou is that of a speakeasy. The restaurant is meant to be a challenge to find—an eight-person omakasé bar is tucked away amid Jue Lan’s back patio. It requires a little work, yes, but there’s a reward at the end. A recent tasting of the 30-minute lunch menu proved insightful. Fish was fresh, refined, and expertly sliced right in front of us. One chef is essentially assigned to four diners, and while the bar is set up to accommodate eight people, it can actually feed as many as 12, with the addition of a third sushi chef. Diners can expect to find some usual characters, like fresh water eel, salmon, and bluefin tuna (imported from Spain), as well as some true delicacies: Japanese spot prawn; flawless and barely bruléed otoro; wagyu beef topped with uni and truffle salt; Kampachi with yuzu; and more. Two large coins of live scallop, topped with charcoal salt, was proof of how inventive a few fine ingredients can be.

Lunch is swift, yes, but it’s also a thoughtful, curated exploration of truly fine sushi. The restaurant makes its own sauce, which is brushed onto each individual piece of sushi and which consists of Mirin, saké, and soy sauce. The result is an ever-so-slightly glossy and burnished piece of perfect fish, atop warm, vinegared rice. Pop the whole piece in your mouth, and serve yourself with your fingers—a moistened napkin is provided, akin to a finger bowl—as is Japanese custom.

As for the “speakeasy” part, the bar also provides a small and unfussy cocktail menu, featuring a seasonal saké sangria, a take on a martini (made with Hendrick’s gin, dry vermouth, saké, and rosemary), and a shiso frozen daiquiri. One saké selection is available by the glass, and four by the bottle.

The patio is decorated with festive string lights and ceramic lanterns, adding an intimate backyard atmosphere to the spacious, bright space. At the side entrance, where diners can access the speakeasy directly through a gate, the once-white building has been giving a serious facelift with the addition of a candy-colored mural.

Sushi by Bou at Jue Lan Club is located at 268A Elm Street, Southampton. For reservations, call 631-408-8339. Seatings are available on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight.

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