It’s hard to rank them; but if I had to, Noz and Noda are my top 2. There are standout dishes at each (Noz, Noda, Amane, SGO), but I prefer the rice at Noz and Noda. Also, Noz and Noda are the nicest chefs. Noz has the nicest decor and experience, but Noda has some standout ingredients that I would not miss. (I admire Amane’s efficiency and technical abilities; the rice is noticeably lighter - stylistic choice; I guess I could eat 30+ nigiri but some may think it’s light - and the decor/experience is less polished than at Noz and Noda).
I’d go to SGO for lunch (dinner is the same fishes but different cuts, and lunch is considerably less expensive). I’ve had maybe 8 meals at SGO in different locations so it’s not as new to me. That plays into it, but NYC location (and LA) also felt more “corporate” than Hawaii.
Saito-san (formerly of NYC branch) and Shinsuke-san (formerly of Hawaii now has his own location Sushi Shinsuke in Tokyo) served me the best SGO meals; actually I didn’t care for my meal with Sakagami-san - the head chef who I believe is making the rounds at SGO NY for the past few months. I’m also not 100% on the rice; it has a noticeably stronger akazu flavor - in LA, it was way too salty. Better in NYC, but I still prefer Noz and Noda. The abalone was killer, but overall the experience felt more corporate. For $150 lunch though, it’s a great option.
Noz - I’m not sure I’d consider it “heavier,” but I really liked his rice, knifework, and temperature control (very deliberate; labeled boxes for everything). There is more experimentation with otsumami (“boulliabaise,” “clam chowder,” and uni over tai and uni-kinmedai rice, not something you see normally with Edomae, but the latter two may be a nod to something from Hokkaido, I don’t know). Noda had less hikarimono, but uniformly excellent nigiri, too. Packing was slightly more compact, not a bad thing at all, just stylistically slightly different. Both top notch. Tsunoda-san was super nice; I have a preference for Noz’s decor, though. I think people are split on the opulent noir den atmosphere.
All 4 had awesome aji (one of my favorites). At Noz, sublime akamizuke, ika, iwashi, owanmono. At Amane, awesome tako sakurani, grilled nodoguro, kinmedai, anago, and tamago. At SGO, top abalone appetizer, kamasu bozushi, kohada. At Noda, best ankimo, botanebi, shiroebi, toro, katsuo, uni-toro temaki.
At all 4 (Noz, Noda, Amane, SGO) the rice “sank.” The sign of nicely packed rice with proper air and composure. That is key.
It’s hard to choose just 1 sushi in NYC. If I had to, it’d depend on where else my guest has been.