My friends and I went to Matsuhisa last night for a holiday dinner and I have to say it was one of the more disappointing culinary adventures I've had in recent memory. Nothing was bad per se, but this is clearly a place coasting by on name and reputation and it lived up to neither, and it certainly didn't live up to the cost of the meal.
We had the $120 Omakase. I was under the impression that Omakase meant Chef's choice, based on his ideas of what was freshest/best that day. What we got was more along the lines of a tasting menu. First appetizer was some sort of baked whitefish/shrimp spring roll in a martini glass with tomato-based salsa. It was good, but not memorable. Next was a mixed sashimi plate with hamachi, grilled conch, octopus and some sort of toro concoction. All were ok but not blazingly fresh, and I found the toro to be a little bland. One of the other members of the table thought that they were doing a good job balancing the flavors/textures, but I had yet to experience anything memorable or groundbreaking. For the man who supposedly revolutionized sushi in this country, the meal was headed on a strangely predictable path.
A sashimi salad was four single pieces of fish (I don't recall particulars) and some regular lettuce. Again, good but not great.
The Kobe beef hot plate vaguely resembled the beef teriyaki from Benihana and was served on what must have been the fajita plate from Chili's. It was tasty, but putting it on the omakase menu seemed to be trading on the Kobe name rather than on the merits of the dish.
Then came a miso soup with clams - as expected. Though one of the clams was sandy, which I consider unacceptable at this level of dining.
Sushi platter was 5 pieces: Eel, Toro, Uni, Spanish Mackerel, and Red Snapper. All were fine, but were the same pieces of fish I could have gotten at any other decent sushi place. Nothing indicative that this was the best fish they had to offer that day.
Last was the desert. I got the chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream. This was the best part of the meal: creamy, chocolatey and satisfying. (It even prompted a mini-spoon fight as everyone tried to dig in.) The crème brulee with coconut was a big miscue. The coconut mixed with the crust, destroying the crispiness and giving it almost a damp texture.
Once the check came they persistently bugged us, at least 3 times, to see if our credit cards were in there. When we finally did pay, and I signed my slip, I have to say the feeling was akin to being mugged.
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