After a matinee today I took in an early dinner at NATSUMI (www.natsuminyc.com) in the Theater District at 226 West 50th which has been open only two months and boasts a Japanese-Italian fusion cuisine. Although the menu is sushi-laden, I opted for the more intriguing fusion dishes and I think i may have found a new favorite in NY!
The calm dining room fronts the street with tall glass door/windows that were open today and there are no more than 30 seats with a sushi bar for 6. The slate and pebble floor mixes with blond woods and the blonde leather and darker wood chairs and banquettes match the tables. The staff is warm, welcoming and helpful to boot.
I started with a perfect aperitif of ONIKOROSHI Wakatake Dai-Ginju Sake with a floral nose but wonderfully earthy in the mouth. First came my SEAFOOD SPRING ROOL with POMEGRANATE PESTO SAUCE and hints of mustard. Four huge halves of crispy rolls stuffed with whitefish, salmon, tempura-fried and regular onions gave a bursting mouthful of flavors. I moved on to a glass of simple MARCHESE FUMANELLI SOAVE 2004 which went perfectly with one of the dishes described as "newstyle carpaccio": a TUNA with PEPEROCINO Vinaigrette came with eight top grade sashimi slices of tuna topped with some peppers and a cube of amber gelee in the bed of vinaigrette that was like SUSHI goes ROMA since the peppery vinaigrette was reminiscent of wasabi and soy.
I listened to my server and was thrilled with the NATSUMI MIXED GRILL a monster plate (for $20) of 6 shrimp and a chicken breast all cooked in a magnificent SPICY GARLIC SAUCE and served with Rice as well as Sesame seeds, broccoli, gorgeous tasty purple eggplant (and I don't usually care for eggplant), Baby bok choy, carrots and a huge disk of sweet potato. This was a FEAST; a dish that goes on and on! I tried to east slowly to enjoy it all and watched the passersby. While the view was not like my recent trip to Vienna it was fun to see the huge WRESTLEMANIA poster reflected (with Donald Trump on it) reflected against the WICKED poster for the show across the street. I saw a woman in hot pants and boots (do they still wear that>?) and many other wonderful sights...but I digress. My wine was a tasty COLLEPINO Super Tuscan2004 from Castello Banfi that was medium bodied and had a warmth that followed each sip and went well with the spice from then dish.
I ate slowly and decided on my server's advice for dessert which easily wins one of the top desserts on EARTH: TEMPURA CHEESE CAKE which is cubed NY Cheese cake in coconut flakes on a berry coulis, a truly rich and amazing dish that must NOT be avoided. I had a glass of LYCHEE INFUSED SAKE and and headed to the airport where I sadly await my very delayed flight.