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Restaurants & Bars 12

Masa Bar

Tom Meg | Mar 22, 2004 11:45 PM

Went for a quick bite tonight to Masa Bar:

Kobe beef skewers--the highlight of the meal. Three skewers, each with two pieces of beef (each piece about the size of an AA battery). Very buttery, tender and beefy tasting.

Sea eel tempura--surprisingly greasy and lacking in the delicacy that I usually expect from tempura. I'm crazy about eel, but there was so much greasy batter and so little eel-flesh, that it could have been batter-dipped air for all I knew.

Sushi tasting--I'm no sushi expert, but I did notice that some of the flesh was beginning to separate at the seams (notably the tuna). Is this always a bad sign, or is it acceptable for some types of fish? It tasted OK, but it wasn't very pretty.

The "sushi canapes" were not bad, but I wasn't convinced by the black truffle roll. There were shavings of black truffle on top that didn't seem to have any flavor or scent, but when I bit into the roll the truffle smell was almost overwhelmingly intense. Made me wonder if they used some kind of truffle extract or powder or perhaps artificial flavoring.

The grapefruit granite was kind of gummy and over-sweetened, I thought.

For good Japanese casual food, I think you can do much much better (and spend about half as much money) at places like Matsuri and Sakagura. As much as I liked the Kobe beef skewers, they're no better than my favorites at Menchanko Tei (pork belly, beef tendon, miso-glazed cod) for a fraction.

And there are probably dozens of sushi bars in NYC that do better than Masa Bar.

I was hoping that my trip to Masa Bar would get me excited about someday splurging at the main restaurant. Oh well.


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