Masa and Bar Masa are reputedly the 2 mythical sushi restaurants in New York, if not the US. I have read several times about their extremely high standards, importing fresh fish from Tokyo on a daily base, but at the same time of course I also heard about their astronomic prices. So there I was in New York, so close to Sushi heaven thinking about my probable value for money return, and I just gave myself a kick: at least once should I experience Sushi of outstanding quality. I went for lunch.
I ordered the Nigiri sushi Omakase which were about 16 pieces including 3 cucumber rolls. The difference to standard Sushi restaurants was instantly noticeable. You see it in details like the wasabi which is actually freshly grated (I think it’s the first time I had it fresh). The simple cucumber roll isn’t just filled with cucumber but with so finely julienned cucumber, you’d almost think the chef needs a magnifier to cut it. And it’s also so much more tasty than the regular cucumber roll.
Among the Omakase were several delicious sorts of tuna, squid with yuzu spice, incredibly delicious sweet shrimp, salmon and other delicacies. I would mix up all the varieties now, but I remember one tuna varietal (I guess it was Toro) which reminded me of extremely fresh raw beef with the only difference that this one melted in your mouth like butter and had the most pure flavor. Amazing!
When I finished this plate, all I wanted was to have more, and here I went. The next plate, which I ordered a little smaller had some delicious mackerel which I think was slightly smoked. There was also shortly grilled beef, followed by maitake or shitake mushroom sushi. The two were meant to be eaten consecutively, and it was indeed a nice sequence.
Probably the most spectacular piece was this baby scallop sushi or Kobashira. It sounds and looks stunning. Its taste though was rather light and shallow. This was maybe rather the show-off kind of Sushi. But the last bite then, a piece of sea urchin roe Sushi was simply delicious and there couldn’t have been a better way to end this lunch than with this luscious flavor explosion.
Finally I had a refreshingly tart Sake and Yuzu sorbet before I got the check, and all I want to say here is that the tart sorbet was probably a good match with the check. But honestly I don’t regret this experience. Besides the high expense I had a flawless meal, and definitely the best sushi I ever tasted. Anyhow I haven’t been to comparable places and can’t ultimately judge about the definite quality level. But is it really necessary? For me the more important remaining question is: will I ever be able to appreciate standard sushi again? I’ll probably have to think of Bar Masa everytime I go to any other Sushi place from now on. I think I got spoiled.