Monday, December 15, 2008

New York's NEO SUSHI is sublime (if pricey)

I was on the Upper West Side on Monday night for a charity benefit concert and stopped in at NEO SUSHI on the southeast corner of Broadway and 83rd Street ( It was quiet at 530pm and a welcome respite from the starting to get chilly temps (it was 63 degrees during the day!) and drizzle. A pot of GREEN TEA warmed me up and I proceeded to watch the three sushi chefs at the bar prepare meals for three lone clients.

The place is simple with wooden floors, chairs and even wooden banquettes (albeit with a cushion back) in the front section. If you don't want to sit at the U- almost L-shaped sushi bar with its cushioned bar stools and don't want the not too comfy window seats in the wood banquettes up front (although when alone, the tall windows give nice street views of passers-by and you CAN see the sushi chefs very well), then opt for the cozier cushioned booths in the rear.

Hot towels come before the meal and after, so NEO is already placing itself in a class above most international business class flights that are now down to one towel!

I started with a SUPER WHITE TUNA ROLL, an appetizer special that had a lightly seared White Tuna stuffed with SPINACH & MONKFISH LIVER (done in a pate style and looking much like a ying-yang symbol in the center of each roll) on a bed of three thick purees of beet, carrot and scallion (purple,orange and green) the latter of which was the most tasty. It was an ingenious combination and made me realize that NEO would not be your run of the mill sushi place. They incidentally have a full menu of non-sushi items as well.

I was adventurous and asked for the SASHIMI OMAKASE platter of 8 pieces priced at $46, which when it boils down to $6/piece while magnificent, seemed a bit too high. I watched the chef blow torch one piece and "decorate" each piece and lots of care went into the dish, so maybe the price was not so bad. The truth is that each piece was indeed SUBLIME:
Seared OH TORO
the most tender SHU TORO
AHI TUNA with TOFU Sauce
SALMON TORO -which I had never had before and is simply luscious
OCEAN TROUT on EEL SAUCE(which was thick and rich) and SUNDRIED TOMATO
RED SNAPPER with VINEGAR JELLY-another superbly tasting new treat

I was so intrigued by the quality, I asked my server what smaller item she might recommend in addition and she suggested one of the 12 or so "house" rolls.

I loved the Salmon Toro so much I wanted to include this and chose an item called the TWISTED NEO ROLL which came attractively laid out with 8 pieces on a plate in an X-formation with ginger topped by and orchid leaf at the cross. At $20, it was extremely filling and reasonable, and consisted of WASABI (mild) MARINATED LOBSTER and CUCUMBER wrapped in SALMON TORO & AVOCADO over a FRESH MANGO SAUCE. It was the creamiest, yummiest sushi I have ever had in NYC and again the presentation should win an award as the roll had this "twisted" kind of double-helix look of alternating orange(salmon) and avocado (green) on the outside with a sliver of tasty salmon skin alternating as well.

I left full and looking forward to returning to NEO again to try the many other items they have!