Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gorgeous Food at Soto

I've gotta say that 2 Michelin-starred Soto was probably the highlight of my food forays during my last visit to NY. And that's saying a lot considering the line-up included such heavy-hitters as Marea, dell'anima and The Dutch. Chalk it up to a confluence of food beautifully arranged and wonderfully composed, a relaxed and easy atmosphere with uber friendly service, and of course JP's fine company.

One of the standouts of the night: Soto's humble, homemade soy dish comprising the creamiest black sesame and white sesame tofu, served with wasabi, soy sauce, and topped with soy foam. Ever so good.

Another Soto fave: the chawan mushi—the airiest of egg custard soups made with chicken broth, thin slices of shitake mushroom, ginkgo biloba nut and a whole shrimp.

Grilled unagi cooked to the exact done-ness—to a medium-rare. Oftentimes, even at the best sushi restaurants, I find the unagi can be overcooked and/or fishy. Not so at Soto.

Thin slivers of fluke with scallions, ginger shoots, shiso leaf, sitting in a pool of ponzu sauce. Refreshing and harmonious this was.

Black trout carpaccio drizzled with a hint of truffle oil, capped with caviar and chives, served with a crispy, bright watercress salad. I loved how every dish had so much going on and yet made perfect sense on the palate.

Fatty tuna-like-buttah tartare with creamy avocado sitting in ponzu sauce, more caviar, chives and a chiffonade of seaweed. When I ordered this "house special," I kinda thought this was something I'd seenand eatenso many times before. I mean, tuna tartare and avocado, right? But holy cow. Soto's version was like no other. It blew me away.

The silkiest slab of braised black cod sitting in the lightest soy broth, served with shimeji mushrooms, radish and mountain potato. This is absolutely my favorite type of fish, and Soto handled the sable with so much loving care. I could certainly have had another order—except for the fact that we'd inhaled quite a a bit of food already (not all dishes pictured).

Steamed chunks of lobster layered with a luscious uni mousse, lightly drizzled with truffle oil, topped with a crispy piece of smoked uni (wowza), tiny scoop of caviar and scallions. The rings of crispy lotus root and cucumbers served as the perfect, crisp-fresh foil to the decadently rich seafood main.

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