Neta – NYC

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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!!!

Supremely Delish
Supremely Delish

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.

Toro & Caviar
Toro & Caviar

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.

Spanish Mackarel with Daikon Salad
Spanish Mackarel with Daikon Salad
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Firm Fish but needs more sauce i think…

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!

Baked Scallops with Uni & Butter
Baked Scallops with Uni & Butter

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.

Suprisingly yummies!
Suprisingly yummies!

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!

Crispy & Crunchy!
Crispy & Crunchy!

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.

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3rd – Hamachi (My favorite fish) with ginger a crunchy stuff on top.  I loved the spicy fresh kick.

Fresh n firm!
Fresh n firm!

4th – Wild Scottish Salmon with mayo.  Fresh & Creamy, the quality of scottish salmon is rather high, although norwegian is still my favorite.

Spicy & Creamy
Spicy & Creamy

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!!!

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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.

Nothing tops Swan Oyster Depot but Uni is Uni
Nothing tops Swan Oyster Depot but Uni is Uni

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.

mushroom?
mushroom?

10th – Toro wrapped in seaweed – Die Die Die Die…

Toro, you got me at Toro!
Toro, you got me at Toro!

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…

weird but nice
weird but nice

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…

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Ma Peche – NYC

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Menu Board

It’s true, sometimes the simplest things are the most impressive.  I asked the server at Ma Peche, which of the “Small Plates”  i should order as an appetizer in addition to his famous pork buns and he said “Try the Broccoli”. The broccoli came in a small bowl cooked three ways, boiled, the outer leaves fried crispy and i’m guessing the flowerheads chopped and  freeze dried with smoked raisin, and a seaweed mayo smeared on the side of the bowl.  The textures was interesting, i felt the raisin just got in the way but what made me exclaim with delight was the mayo. It looked dark and grainy but had a wonderful savory taste.  I’m guessing maybe seaweed with a hint of dashi?  It was yum yum yum, i would prefer omit everything just give me a huge plate of the fried outer leaves and a side dish of the dressing.

 

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 The pork buns i must say is probably more “Chinese” than anything.  I grew up eating roast piglets with crispy skin and chinese bread “Mun Tao” with a hoisin sauce, spring onions and cucumbers at special occasions, or a peking duck served the same way.  So i gather David Chang must have been inspired here since i dont see any resemblance in japanese or korean cuisines.  I must applaud the amazingly cooked pork belly served with the crispy thin cucumber slices and a bottle of their take on the siracha (Thai Chilli Sauce).  A bit more spicier than the “Siracha” available in the USA.  Great combination but my companion preferred his without.  The pork was sweet having been marinated in a form of hoisin sauce ingredients and the soft flat mun tao soaked up all the juices.  Not really a chef’s own creation but a spin on a traditional  dish very well executed.

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For the mains of course we needed to try the famous “ramen”.  Our server suggested in addition to the beef ramen that we ordered, there was a special pork ramen not on the menu.  I must say the most important component in a ramen bowl is the broth itself.  Although both of the broths was hearty i personally preferred a more creamy broth tonkotsu styled, but it was above average for both bowls.  The onsen eggs was well cooked and the pork and beef was tender and delicious.  Good job i must say.  The only thing we ordered that wasn’t really worth the price was the in house “Soda”.  I liked the ginger ale personally, the ginger hit was powerful and yummy, however the coke tasted weird.  Like something was out of place, it tasted medicinal .  I must admit though, all in all it was a great experience.  The ambiance was friendly, the servers nice, although the menu needed explaining in order to make a decision.

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