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Soto New York


toniomi
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Great pictures, doczconz. Have you tried the broiled lobster with portabella and mango, assuming he's still serving it? My favorite dish on Earth. The lotus-wrapped steamed lobster with uni mousse is way up there as well.

Sounds like Soto has turned the corner after some initial jitters. It also looks like he is serving a lot of new dishes, which both makes me happy and sad. Happy that Soto can finally do the menu he wants to do without worrying about if he can source the right ingredients or find customers that will appreciate it. Sad that he lives 500 miles away in NYC instead of 5 miles away in Buckhead.

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Great pictures, doczconz.  Have you tried the broiled lobster with portabella and mango, assuming he's still serving it?  My favorite dish on Earth.  The lotus-wrapped steamed lobster with uni mousse is way up there as well.

Sounds like Soto has turned the corner after some initial jitters.  It also looks like he is serving a lot of new dishes, which both makes me happy and sad.  Happy that Soto can finally do the menu he wants to do without worrying about if he can source the right ingredients or find customers that will appreciate it.  Sad that he lives 500 miles away in NYC instead of 5 miles away in Buckhead.

Thanks! I haven't tried that lobster dish yet, but after that meal I will look forward to trying that and whatever other dishes he cares to make for me. I can understand your disappointment in losing him.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Absolutely beautiful doc. How did you feel about tasting the sushi toward the end of the meal? After the previous courses, were your tastebuds still able to savor the delicate flavors of each fish?

Now tell me a bit about the sushi rice. Was it delicately seasoned with vinegar and did the seasoning of the rice get lost on your palate, again due to the previous courses?

I'm intrigued by the change-up in what I've always thought is the normal progression of courses with the sushi being served at the beginning of the meal. You may have just opened my eyes to a new way of looking at this type of experience.

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Absolutely beautiful doc.  How did you feel about tasting the sushi toward the end of the meal?  After the previous courses, were your tastebuds still able to savor the delicate flavors of each fish? 

Now tell me a bit about the sushi rice. Was it delicately seasoned with vinegar and did the seasoning of the rice get lost on your palate, again due to the previous courses?

I'm intrigued by the change-up in what I've always thought is the normal progression of courses with the sushi being served at the beginning of the meal.  You may have just opened my eyes to a new way of looking at this type of experience.

I think sushi is always served last. Thats how they do it at Jewel Bako, 15 east, Nobu, and Ushi Wakamaru.

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Absolutely beautiful doc.  How did you feel about tasting the sushi toward the end of the meal?  After the previous courses, were your tastebuds still able to savor the delicate flavors of each fish? 

Now tell me a bit about the sushi rice. Was it delicately seasoned with vinegar and did the seasoning of the rice get lost on your palate, again due to the previous courses?

I'm intrigued by the change-up in what I've always thought is the normal progression of courses with the sushi being served at the beginning of the meal.  You may have just opened my eyes to a new way of looking at this type of experience.

The sushi at the end was an excellent way to finish the meal, David. It was light and delicate. There was no difficulty in distinguishing the nuances of the fish or the rice.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Absolutely beautiful doc.  How did you feel about tasting the sushi toward the end of the meal?  After the previous courses, were your tastebuds still able to savor the delicate flavors of each fish? 

Now tell me a bit about the sushi rice. Was it delicately seasoned with vinegar and did the seasoning of the rice get lost on your palate, again due to the previous courses?

I'm intrigued by the change-up in what I've always thought is the normal progression of courses with the sushi being served at the beginning of the meal.  You may have just opened my eyes to a new way of looking at this type of experience.

The sushi at the end was an excellent way to finish the meal, David. It was light and delicate. There was no difficulty in distinguishing the nuances of the fish or the rice.

Thanks for the info. Your photos are really outstanding, as was the report. Thanks again.

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I paid my third visit last week. My two companions—who, to be fair, are not from here—declared it their best-ever meal in New York. Two of my three meals, including last week's, have been business dinners, and I did not feel it appropriate to shoot photos or take notes. The other time, I just wasn't in a blogging mood.

But I think the quality here is remarkable. I haven't had a bad dish yet, and many of them are superb. They don't seem to be doing badly, but the restaurant hasn't been full on any of my three visits. This is truly an under-appreciated gem, and it should have received three stars.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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This is truly an under-appreciated gem, and it should have received three stars.

Based upon my one meal, I would agree.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I paid my third visit last week. My two companions—who, to be fair, are not from here—declared it their best-ever meal in New York. Two of my three meals, including last week's, have been business dinners, and I did not feel it appropriate to shoot photos or take notes. The other time, I just wasn't in a blogging mood.

But I think the quality here is remarkable. I haven't had a bad dish yet, and many of them are superb. They don't seem to be doing badly, but the restaurant hasn't been full on any of my three visits. This is truly an under-appreciated gem, and it should have received three stars.

It makes me happy to hear someone say that. I always felt that Soto was the best or second best (behind Bacchanalia) restaurant in Atlanta, so I had high hopes for him (as seen earlier in this thread) when he told me he was going to NYC. He was already cooking at a very high level, but with his sourcing improved and the customer-base becoming richer and more savvy, I thought he could be an elite NYC sushi chef pretty quickly. I was obviously disappointed when I read the NYT review which gave him two stars.

I had not looked at the list until just now, but apparently I have been to four NYT three-star restaurants in my few visits to the city. No contest, my meals at Babbo and Cafe Boulod were nowhere near as good as Soto. I mean not even close to close. I enjoyed Perry Street and Gramercy Tavern very much, but they were still not as good as Soto. Jean-Georges was the only dining experience I've had in NYC that I can say was more elegant and more sophisticated, but that's a four-star restaurant. I don't think Soto aspires to be Masa, but he can be more than just the nice little Village sushi joint.

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If I can find fault with Soto, it is not the food or the service. If anything, it would be the space. It isn't bad, but neither is it extraordinary. However, I will take great food and service with a mediocre space over a great space with mediocre food and service any day.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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LOL. You should have seen his space in Atlanta. It was at the end of a strip mall. It was not Tomoe, but it was nothing spectacular for sure. The only thing interesting about the place besides the food and Soto himself was his selection of classical music, which he really loves as he plays both the violin and cello. Andre Watts was and, as far as I know, is still a very good friend and a frequent patron of Soto. That's neat, I guess, but not as cool as seeing Shirley Manson five seats over from me at the sushi bar.

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Ditto on Soto's space here in Atlanta being unworthy of his food. The worst was the combination of synthetic white tablecloths (in use during his formal, omakase-only period) on top of plastic tables, yielding a coefficient of friction that was so low that the entire dining experience was tinged with anxiety: the prospect of ones uni mousse sliding off the table and ending up in ones lap or on the floor was not a pleasant one.

The photos above suggest that his New York location is considerably nicer.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Ditto on Soto's space here in Atlanta being unworthy of his food.  The worst was the combination of synthetic white tablecloths (in use during his formal, omakase-only period) on top of plastic tables, yielding a coefficient of friction that was so low that the entire dining experience was tinged with anxiety: the prospect of ones uni mousse sliding off the table and ending up in ones lap or on the floor was not a pleasant one.

The photos above suggest that his New York location is considerably nicer.

By no means is the space in NYC bad. It just isn't up to the same standard as the food or the plates. He really has a remarkable collection of plates - truly beautiful pieces. It was almost as enjoyable anticipating the next service pieces as it was the food.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 1 month later...

Just got back from dinner there but forgot to bring a camera...the same waitress who doc has pictured in his photoset served us.

They do have omakase now and when I asked for the price she just said it's $120-$150/person. The four of us opted for it and we received....

1. Edamame

2. Black/White Sesame Tofu

3. Miso Soup with Uni/Lobster - This soup really was fantastic.

4. Hokki Nuta

5. Fig/Uni Agedashi

6. Hirame Ponzu

7. Steamed Tai - this dish tastes exactly like chinese steamed fish. It was awkward to have such quality fish served this way...good but I felt like it was kind of a waste.

8. Marinated Tuna (zuke) sashimi salad

9. Geoduck Clam Salad

10. Miso Cod with Shittake Mushroom - This dish was the best miso cod I've ever had. I've had it at Nobu/Ushi and many other places. It was just so delicate and perfectly poached(?).

11. His signature uni/squid dish - This was amazing.

12. Lobster with uni mouse

13. Chyuu toro tar tar - avocado is too overwhelming.

14. Soft shell crab - This dish had some curry...kinda of meh.

15. Wild Red Snapper Sashimi

16. Aoyagi Carpacio

17. Shima Aji Tataki - This was very good.

18. Kanpachi Tar Tar - Too many pine nuts for my taste

19. Broiled langostine.

20. 5 pieces of sushi... Chu toro, sea trout(like salmon), Kanpachi, anago and one other piece that slipped my mind.

All in all it was a good meal but there were only several dishes I would order for myself. By the time we got the sushi the rice had cooled off a bit, but I found the sushi to be quite good. I'd guess sitting at the bar you'd find the quality to be similar to ushi wakamaru though Soto slices his pieces longer which ushi uses fatter rice balls and wider slices (the overall fish to rice ratio is the same though).

Bill was $680 after tax for 4 people.

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