Wow, Anthony Bourdain’s review of Masa on eGullet makes me want to hop on a plane to NYC tomorrow morning. At the risk of overquoting, I am going to post his entire review below because it’s just that good. [And for those that don’t know, Anthony Bourdain is an ultra famous food writer and host of his own Food Network TV show.] Anyway, here we go:
“I have been to the mountain top.
I have seen……things.
Everything is different now.
Let me describe the scene:
You enter through a non-descript door on the 4th floor of an empty,nowheresville mall. Standard push-it-out-of-the-way hanging. A door. One long, utterly gorgeous monster beam of raw, blonde wood. The kind of wood you want to sniff for a while. You want to rub your cheek along its warm, unblemished surface..build a fucking house out of it. You never want to see another piece of wood that isn’t THIS piece of wood. About 12 seats at a sushi bar type set-up. The space behind the bar is as roomy as the customer side. Green bamboo trunks floor to ceiling (this is the food prep side) LOTS of luxuriously extra space. There’s nothing on the bar but chopsticks and a napkin. NOTHING. Not a glass, a condiment, nothing. No glass fish display either. 2 blocks of ice, 2 working trays of hunks of fish. which the chef grabs out of.
As your reservation was for 9:30, you and your friend are quickly the only customers. It’s just you two, and Masa, directly in front of you, with an assistant on each side. And you KNOW–with absolutely Biblical certainty that at this precise moment, noone, anywhere on this planet is eating better than you.
There is NO garnish at Masa. Zero. Not the slightest attempt to pretty up, distract, improve on or embellish what is clearly–from the second you see it–or put it in your mouth, the asbolute finest raw ingredient available anywhere on earth.
If o-toro tuna so pale and beautifully rippled, so buttery and unctuous as this does not immediately make clear why you’re paying big bucks , than you will never understand even the simplest movements of the universe.
Hunks of foie gras, dunked “shabu shabu” style in broth…raw tuna with dictator-sized heaps of caviar…the aforementioned tuna–alone worth dragging a rusty blade across your best friend’s throat. Monkfish with black truffles…
2nd half of the meal eaten with the hands…..Sea eel. Raw, sweet sweet baby shrimp…every piece of sushi like experiencing it for the first time. Everything served on ultra rustic handmade pottery ( I believe made by the chef). It is the most puritanically ingredient-driven meal I’ve ever had. Ingredient ingredient ingredient. Put all thoughts of cost right out of your head, because no restaurant has ever been less concerned with justifying its prices. Res Ipsa Loquitor is their policy. The thing speaks for itself. And it does. Any price you pay for the full-on Masa experience is a STEAL . This is a once-in-a-lifetime, tell-the-kids-about-it experience. These are ingredients that may well not EXIST in a decade or two–at any price.
And I should point out that Masa had no fucking idea who I was–and couldn’t have cared less in any case. If you’re willing to: a)Shell out the money.. b)Smile. And c)enjoy? You’ll have the same experience.
Beg, borrow, steal…max out the cards…dip into the kids’ college fund..crawl naked across broken glass…stick up a liquor store…make a deal with Jeffrey Chodorow–ANYTHING to experience this.”