My good friend Erika recently came back to New York after a three-month sabbatical. To celebrate, we decided to meet up for dinner at the newly opened Japanese restaurant, Neta. Erika is the one that brought me to Ken’s birthday party almost two years ago, and without her, Ken and I would never have had the opportunity to meet. She was also very excited to hear about our engagement because she had been out of the country when Ken proposed and hadn’t heard the story yet.
We were both really excited to visit the restaurant; it had been open for about a month when we visited and it was started by two chefs from Masa; the former head chef from Bar Masa, Jimmy (our chef during dinner) and Nick, the former head chef of Masa. We had a late reservation on a Monday night at the sushi bar. We were reviewing the a la carte menu options but kept going back to the omakase listed at the beginning of the menu. We decided to order the more expensive omakase menu because everything sounded good and because Erika just told me that she was actually leaving New York for a position back in San Francisco!
The first course of the omakase was the salad of Dungeoness crab:
The salad is a mixture of large chunks of sweet crab, cucumbers and a light dashi vinaigrette that was served room temperature. It was really refreshing and crisp – a very nice way to start our meal.
Our next course was something that was taken from Masa – a very indulgent serving of caviar and tuna belly. Here’s Chef Jimmy preparing the course:
The toast pieces are perfectly warm and the tuna and caviar were fantastic:
Our next course was the grilled scallop with sea urchin:
The scallop was barely touched by the heat and we squeezed the lime on both the sea urchin and scallop to have the acidity cook both. It was sweet, brine-like, and another refreshing course.
Next, a really beautiful course of sushi – Kinuta Maki Ponzu:
There was a layer of shiso leaf that overpowered the taste of the fish but the light taste of ponzu was a good combination with the lightly flavored fluke and tempura leaves. The white on the outside is a thinly sliced piece of daikon that was marinated beforehand.
The leaf was lightly fried as well as a small bunch of corn:
Next, uni risotto with shaved flakes of black truffle:
Everyone raves about the uni risotto and for good reason; it’s creamy with a faint taste of the sea and the truffle brings a little decadence to the dish.
After the risotto, we started with the sushi –
Jimmy preparing the abalone liver:
The abalone and abalone liver sushi:
A very interesting preparation of abalone but the type of abalone was a bit too chewy and ruff. I’m used to abalone being smooth and just a little chewy, this was almost the texture of bubble gum. A woman came in around the time we were on this course and she sat down even though the restaurant was closing – it turns out that she’s an investor of the restaurant (along with her boss) and she eats there a lot to make sure the quality remains high. She agreed with the texture of the abalone and was saying that they should try a new vendor.
Can anyone ever have enough sea urchin:
(BTW – the answer is a definite YES. I ate almost an entire tray of sea urchin when my friends came over because they ended up not liking it and I didn’t want it to go to waste!)
We struck up a conversation with the investor and she offered us some sake to round out our meal:
And a few more courses of sushi:
A shiso leaf with rice:
And we finished with the peanut butter ice cream:
The dinner was incredibly delicious and we both left extremely satisfied. I love how casual the restaurant can feel but it serves such amazing sushi. I felt much more full after my meal here than when I dined at Masa and a very similar happiness after eating all of that great fish! It reminded me a lot of Soto; a restaurant I could go to for a weeknight dinner or to celebrate a special occasion (and I can’t wait to return!)