One of the few Michelin three-star Japanese/sushi restaurants in the world, Masa represents an immersion into another world of food that nearly defies description. Eating here is an unforgettable experience, with the highest quality raw materials, most shipped in overnight from Japan, so prices start around $500 per person and can go up to celestial sums of money. Diners sit at the bar (where there are 10-12 seats available plus a few tables) watching master chef Masa and his assistants work. It is the equivalent of watching a great genius/artist/craftsman at the top of their game. Seeing them handle fish, shellfish and other items, including the famed poisonous fish called Fugu, is a remarkable experience that I can’t recommend highly enough. If you love sushi, I would suggest saving several thousand dollars and indulging yourself at least once during your lifetime. I don’t think you will regret it because this is an experience that can’t be duplicated. It will be a three hour voyage to a sublime destination unlike anything one has ever experienced.
I took wines from my cellar and since the corkage fee is about $100 a bottle, one thousand dollars was eaten up immediately (however, we were splitting the bill among a number of people, so it was slightly more tolerable). There were so many remarkable dishes. Chef Masa’s sweet shrimp and scallop gratin, the langoustine, and all the sushi dishes were essentially one extraordinary culinary delicacy after another. The texture, freshness and brilliant combinations were sublime. At no time did I want extra soy or spicy wasabi on a dish. These perfectly presented offerings were mind-boggling eating experiences.

While people often think that this type of food does not work with big red or white wines, that is another vineyard legend that needs to be dispensed. I have had young Bordeaux as well as Châteauneuf du Pape with Masa’s cuisine, and they have all been great match-ups. We started with a young, vibrant glass of 1996 Dom Pérignon Champagne, then moved to Guigal’s 2009 Condrieu La Doriane, which may only be eclipsed by his 2010. The 2009 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is one of the greatest young white wines I have ever tasted. That’s saying something given the fact that Chapoutier’s 2006 Ermitage Cuvée de l’Orée and 2003 Ermitage l’Ermite both have off the charts richness, copious honeysuckle notes, terrific intensity and extraordinary flavor profiles. We next opened some Côte Rôties and Hermitages. This was the first time I had these particular wines with this food and they worked fabulously well. 2003 is a weird vintage where the handful of people who got it right produced monumental wines. Guigal was one of them. You will not find a greater Côte Rôtie La Mouline or Côte Rôtie La Turque than his 2003s. There is an extra dimension and level of concentration to these wines that exhibit extraordinary perfumes, virtually no acidity, and amazing precision because of the intensity and impeccable winemaking these Côte Rôties enjoyed. Still a youngster, Ogier’s 1999 Côte Rôtie La Belle Hélène boasts a dense blue/black color as well as notes of bacon fat, roasted meats, charcoal and graphite. We finished with more evolved wines, Chapoutier’s 2003 Ermitage Le Pavillon and the 2003 Ermitage l’Ermite. Le Pavillon was pure crème de cassis, licorice and acacia flowers. The 2003 l’Ermite was more mineral-laced with enormous concentration and intensity.

If you have an extra two grand lying around the house and want a three hour passport to another world, Masa is your destination.

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