Life’s simple… Freshly steamed crab, dig out all the yummy brown meat, some chicken stock, garlic, carmelised onions, black pepper corns and some salt. Pour everything back in the shell, arrange artfully or in my case not so artfully on a white plate. Garnish with dill fronds and serve… Dig in….. YUM!!!
When we were in New York & following the hype at Neta, i made reservations to try out their famous fusion sushi. Thank you google map, otherwise i would never have found the shop. You will miss it, look carefully! Personally i loved the open kitchen, however i understand how chefs have their buddy buddy system but it kinda sucks when you feel like a second class citizen. With a chefs tasting menu especially with a gazzilion people blogging and you see people eating dishes that you didn’t get especially when you’ve flown half way around the world to eat there could make you feel a bit bad. We tried the Omakase menu at 135 bucks a head which just included 1 additional dish which was the toro with caviar served with thick toast. Not impressive, yummy but i felt that the caviar over powered the toro and isn’t that what the 40 bucks was for? Let’s get on with it, i started with their champagne cocktail with elderflower, girly, sweet, bubbly and makes you feel like a princess drink.
1st – Dungeness Crab Salad with cucumber and a sharp ponzu, lemon skin shaved vinaigrette that tasted a bit tangy like those tempura with daikon dressing and a hint of ginger. I loved the tanginess without overpowering the fresh ingredients and the crunchiness of the cucumber was nice. However the chef, or assistant chef or trainee that was in charge of the salad must be bored because that’s all he does. I guess it would be sometime before he touches the sushi!!!
2nd – Toro Tartare with Caviar and thick toast, i liked the overall feel to it. It was extravagant but when you think about it, toro is so delicate, caviar is really strong and maybe this marriage feels right but is so wrong for many reasons. And when it’s 40 bucks extra you think about it too.
3rd – Its a spanish mackerel with bonito soy sauce and shiso leaf, maybe needed a stronger soy presence, maybe in asia we eat rather strong tasting dishes so maybe our tongues were used to it. Overall i think the shiso is a really strong leaf which kinda over powers alot of the flavors.
4th – Grilled scallops on half shell with ui and garlic butter sauce with a side of lime. I dont prefer the lime, i think the flavors work well already, the lime seemed out of place paired with the delicious buttery garlicky sauce. Everyone loves butter and garlic together no doubt it was lovely. The uni i must say was not perfect maybe its because i just ate a live sea urchin at SF at the Swan Oyster Bar.. I’ll post next time about it next time. Still it deserved an 8 /10. The smell…. Indescribable…. Delish!
5th – At first glance it looked like a teriyaki stirfry at those cheap Japanese joints, but appearances are totally deceiving It was salty, sweet, peppery and just delicious, the shrimp was so crunchy you could chew it all up. It was a lovely spicy taste which the tofu and onions just soaked it all up. I wish i had a bowl of rice to eat it with. Lovely lovely dish.
6th – This dish came on an iron plate, i saw the chefs putting the rice on the plate i think to crisp up the rice and later put the spicy salmon, scallions and i think a pickle on the rice. Nice contrast, soft melty cold fish and hot crispy rice. A fun fun dish, lovely presentation!
After all the appetizers the sushi started: Every piece was made by Nick Kim himself, Jimmy Lau was right next to him, probably preparing the ala carte. Nick would make the piece put it on our plate and would tell us about it. However it was hard to hear his soft voice over the hustle and bustle of the place. He would tell us soy or no
soy but every time he would brush a paste maybe a light soy glaze on top of the fish. I didn’t dip at all. Just put it in my mouth and chewed.
1st – Toro Sushi – Need i say more?
2nd – Dunno what fish couldn’t hear what nick was saying but it was fine.
3rd – Hamachi (My favorite fish) with ginger a crunchy stuff on top. I loved the spicy fresh kick.
4th – Wild Scottish Salmon with mayo. Fresh & Creamy, the quality of scottish salmon is rather high, although norwegian is still my favorite.
5th – Toro Sinew — My god, i loved it, i had to ask Nick 3 times before i understood what he was saying. It was just like when you ate those chinese beef stews with all the sinews. All soft, creamy, fatty and utter genius. GENIUS!!!
6th – Eel – YUM YUM YUM I love eel.
7th – Uni is well, uni, a bit of soy and wasabi and you’re in 7th heaven.
8th – This is a bit weird, it’s a cold sourish sushi wrapped in shiso leaf. (no pics)
9th – Shitake Mushroom a huge fungus piece i must say, delicious with wasabi and warm rice. The mushroom was so so juicy.
10th – Toro wrapped in seaweed – Die Die Die Die…
11th – They called it a palate cleanser – Some Tempura wrapped in Shiso leaf. Shiso is powerful it’s got that taste that fresh, veggie not mint but tastes like mintyish…
Dessert – (We were supposed to get another one but my partner was eager to go to Times Square) It was a peanut butter ice cream. Coming from Thailand, i couldn’t enjoy it, it was freezing cold at 6 -7 degrees Celsius (44.6 F) and i come from a country of 40 C (104 F) But it was sweet and creamy.
Over all Neta was nice, i would go again not for the tasting menu, but to try other dishes which Chef Nick and Chef Jimmy used their genius and creativity to create.
Pictures i’m not sure where they belong…
Clearing out my picture files and i stumbled upon many records that i forgot to write about. Coming from asia where we are surrounded by beautiful beaches and great seafood i never expected to experience one of the best seafood meals in SF. After an hour in que (we were the last ones) we finally got a table. It was a great experience, everyone sat at the counter bar and in front you can look at all the fresh seafood and drool and imagine what you would order when you finally got to sit down. What we ordered:
1) Sea Urchin – I was so lucky it was the last one and me and the last guy shared half of this humongous guy…. It was the best uni i ever tasted in my life… I still dream about it back in Thailand.
2) Crab Salad – It was fresh veggies which is nothing new in a salad but the amount of crab meat stunned my friend into silence. They just grabbed handfuls and placed it on the salad. I mean it’s crab….. It was fresh, sweet, firm chunks! Delish… You cannot imagine…
3) Clam Chowder – Very Rich, creamy and good for dipping in the bread. Bread was cold but oh well we were there for the seafood.
4) Half a Dungeness Crab – This crab was a huge guy, in Asia crabs are big but this guy was probably from giant land. My friend who was a crab lover sat quiet after 2 weeks of complaining about western food finally shut up and just ate and ate.
5) Half a dozen oysters – All mine.. All mine. I forgot what i ordered but they were salty, juicy, and yum.
I dont think you can explain much about how seafood tastes like, i think it’s different from Thailand where everything is cooked and piping hot. Eating cold fresh seafood really is a luxury and i appreciate just basic seafood and undressed. Just enjoy it the way nature intended it. Fresh and yum. PS: They open at 11am and last orders at 4.30pm if i’m not mistaken.