Between artisanal tacos and farm-to-table cuisine, the dining options in Ponce City Market (PCM) offer cuisines from myriad countries. But before September, PCM lacked a culinary staple: sushi. Enter Miso Ko: Guy Wong’s Sushi Bar that officially opened at PCM on Sept. 8. The sushi bar sits next to ramen shop Ton Ton. Miso Ko is small and simple: with nothing more than an L-shaped island, it’s set up for both dine-in and grab-and-go sushi orders. Both are available on the same expansive menu.
Between by-the-piece sashimi, nigiri and gunkan to the 12 specialty rolls, the hardest part of the meal was deciding what to order. Overwhelmed by options that included sea urchin and eel, my friends and I asked the chefs about their personal favorites. Following their advice, we ordered three specialty rolls: Oshi Sushi, Super Crunch and Spicy Mix Maki. Miso Ko also offers dishes such as tuna tartare and a spicy sashimi salad.
All rolls are made to order. The chefs pulled strips of bright tuna and salmon from the case before us, and although we watched the chefs prepare each roll, it was impossible not to be wowed by the final presentation. Piles of colorful tobiko and strips of crunchy tempura created a perfectly Instagrammable plate.
The rolls themselves were fresh, the fish almost melting in our mouths. The Super Crunch was a definite favorite, living up to its name with pops of flavor. The Spicy Mix Maki was hot enough for more than a few water refills, but the spice did not overpower the asparagus and salmon flavors. The Oshi Sushi, though not as flavorful as the other rolls, came with two colorful sauces that balanced its initial blandness.
Miso Ko held a soft opening the week before, but Sept. 8 marked their official first day. Although I arrived at 6 p.m. on Miso Ko’s opening day, there was no wait at the sushi bar. Accustomed to waiting in the never-ending lines at other PCM dining stalls, I was surprised to be seated immediately at Miso Ko.
Unlike its neighbors on the first floor of the food hall, Miso Ko does not have a private restaurant space. The eight-seater sushi bar stands amid the bustle of the open food hall. Yet, despite its lack of walls, Miso Ko maintains an atmosphere of a designated space.
The logistics of the restaurant were a bit awkward. Patrons face the sushi chefs, separated by a colorful display case filled with raw fish. The chefs asked if my friends and I were ready to order; after we did, a waitress came up from behind and had us repeat our orders. While the wait staff was kind, it seemed unnecessary to repeat our orders since the chefs were so accessible.
Overall, our meal leaned toward the expensive, with a majority of the specialty rolls costing $13. While not outrageously overpriced, I found the rolls to be smaller than other restaurants’ specialty rolls.
Overall, Miso Ko: Guy Wong’s Sushi Bar is a quick and fresh stop for sushi. While the restaurant could address a few logistical matters to increase efficiency, the helpful chefs and expansive menu made for a delicious and Snapchat-worthy dinner.
Rating: 4/5 stars