Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 03 February 2012

User Rating: / 2

kurama zushimasa

sushileadshotOnce considered an exotic delicacy, sushi is now so popular that an urban neighborhood can have a sushi bar located every couple of blocks. While sushi is just about as available as pizza or burgers, it’s still rarely new to the U.S. After being introduced on these shores in the years after World War II, sushi was gradually discovered by mainstream American diners in the 70s and today will show you where to find some one of a kind dining experiences.

The sushi boom years came between 1988 and 1998, when the number of sushi bars in the U.S. quintupled. As more diners came to try and love sushi, chefs became more adventurous, incorporating rare and exotic ingredients into their creations.

Just because you can buy it just about anyplace doesn't mean that the joint around the corner should be your standard of taste where sushi is concerned. At its worst, sushi can make you suspect the restaurant owner runs a bait shop on the side, but at its best, sushi is a decadent treat that delights the senses with it taste, texture and aroma. If you’re a true sushi lover, you surely have several local spots that are your favorites, but there are times when you want to try the absolute best, and money is no object, like when you want to impress am important client or a special date. If you crave something more interesting than a California Roll, it’s time to get adventurous and check out some of the more lavish sushi restaurants, the ones that offer a two-three hour feast prepared especially for you by a trained chef.

When it comes to the ultimate experience in dining upon sushi, one name stands above the pack—Masa in New York City. Founded and owned by chef Masayoshi Takayama, this monument to the most extravagantly delectable sushi will set you back several hundred dollars per person—but what a way to go! This spare space in an office building holds a mere 26 seats, and gives little hint as to the culinary adventure that awaits you inside. Reservations at Masa are necessary, preferably several weeks ahead, and must be guaranteed by a credit card. There is no menu, as instead Takayama or one of his master chefs will prepare a unique sushi feast before your eyes, featuring the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Your meal may begin with snow crab flavored with vinegar, or tuna belly tartare garnished with caviar before moving to white truffle tempura, aji mackerel sashimi or kobe beef sukiyaki. Each item is individually prepared with loving care and presented on a new plate. This two-three hour adventure in gastronomic nirvana is the sushi-lover’s equivalent of a trip to the tropics—with a similar price tag. Lunch or dinner will set you back $450 per person, plus drinks, tax and extras. Yes, that means one meal could run to over $1,000, making a dinner at Masa the most extravagant culinary experience in the country. If you’d like to sample the Masa experience at a discount-store rate, there’s Bar Masa next door, which offers appetizers and entrees for under $40, plus a sushi or sashimi tasting for $85 per person.



10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019




A slightly more reasonable NYC alternative to Masa is Kuruma Zushi in Midtown, which is noted for making top-notch sushi with the finest, and most expensive, ingredients. Unlike your local sushi joint, Kuruma Zushi has its fish flown in from Japan. Given the prices, those fish must be travelling first class, because a dinner at Kuruma Zushi costs $80, $100 or $120. For those prices, you might as well go all the way and get the chef’s Omakase for $100+. Recommended choices are giant clam, octopus, squid and kampachi.

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