Japanese Sushi

Located in New York’s West Village, Neta is a wonderful sushi establishment that I believe opened less than a year ago, and is on the verge of joining the world’s sushi elite. Readers are advised to visit this venue before it becomes even more famous. Proprietor/chef is Nick Kim, who worked for over a decade with sushi master, Masa Takayama. The meal I had was mindblowing, and I plan on returning in a few weeks to see if it can be repeated. Another protege of Masa Takayama is Neta’s Jimmy Lau, Nick Kim’s brilliant assistant. This is an elegant, discretely decorated sushi bar and restaurant. The quality of caviar, the toro tartare, the uni and the creativity of many of the dishes, included scallop, mackeral and the gold standard of all fish, the fatty o-toro belly, took me into a world of sushi that I rarely see anywhere outside of a few select places in Tokyo, such as Sukibyabashi Jiro. Prices at Neta are incredibly fair for the quality of the ingredients, and the bill was far more manageable than some of the shocking tolls one can reach at Masa in the Time Warner Center further uptown. The chef’s Omakse menu will cost you around $100, and if you want to go for a bit more caviar and uni with some toro, it can be double that amount. However, this is still a bargain compared to other top sushi places in New York and elsewhere.

The wines included three perfect wines, the remarkable 2009 Château Beaucastel Roussillon Vieilles Vignes and two blockbuster Châteauneuf du Papes, the 2005 Barroche Pure, which is 100% Grenache from sandy soils and the 2007 St. Prefert Charles Giraud, which is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre from a different sector of Châteauneuf du Pape. People always ask how red wines, especially Châteauneuf du Pape, can work with sushi, but I believe it is a marriage made in heaven. Consumers who refuse to believe that are incapable of thinking outside the box. Have pity on them! Add Asian soy and nori seafood wrapper aromas and flavors to essentially naked, unoaked, incredibly pure, natural Châteauneuf du Papes and the match-up is spectacular.

I highly recommend this restaurant and can’t wait to return.

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