Re: With the caveat that I have yet to visit Masa...June 8 2005 at 10:30 AM
|stultus77 (Login stultus77)|
Response to Sushi in NY - Masa
...I must admit I find aspects of the NY Times review, and indeed of Masa itself, to be somewhat "over the top".
First, many characterics of Masa that the NY Times and other North American media are exulting or otherwise covering in somewhat excruciatingly colorful detail (e.g., eating with the hands, ordering a omakse course, minimalist decor) are standard traits of nearly every "high-end" (and humbler) sushi establishment in Japan.
While the concept of Masa seems to be rather standard (with the exception of the exotic starters), the pricing and adulation that the NY Times and other North American media are pouring on Masa seems to be based more on ignorance of truly good (or even standard)sushi rather than anything unique that Masa has to offer. In the same way, I could never figure out why Sushiko Ginza in LA was three times the price (and the subject of 30 times the "hype") of Sushiko Ginza in Ginza!!
Even given the harsh realities facing anyone trying to find "authentic" cuisine in a foreign country, what constitutes good sushi seems to inspire an extra level of madness in many people outside Japan. Of course, the reverse is true of the extravagantly expensive french restaurants in Japan...none of which has ever tasted particularly "french" to me.
Personally, for decent sushi in NYC, I would follow the Japanese expat businessmen in midtown and leave the NT Times in the trash. In the same way, I never eat at the Chinese restaurants in Japan that have scores of Japanese lined up outside.
Of course, the final verdict will have to wait until I actually convince someone to treat me to a meal at Masa, but for now I will remain extremely sceptical (and keep eating at Kyubei instead).