I was spending the afternoon in Soho beginning with Haven Spa and a bit of shopping and needed a spot to have lunch. I was rather excited that a few doors up the street a new sushi restaurant had opened. The Chef, Hiro Sawatari, worked at Yasuda and is highly acclaimed. I forgot to make a reservation, which worried me at the door as the party in front of me gave their name and was escorted up the stairs. Much to my surprise, when I stepped into the restaurant, there was really nobody there. Friday afternoons in Soho are generally pretty busy, but this place is a bit off the beaten tourist path, so I shrugged it off and took a great seat.
The space is rather impressive, one of those Soho lofts that you wish could be your apartment. The decor was simple and sophisticated with some wild looking japanese sculptural elements. Light was pouring in from the giant windows. The menu looked quite sophisticated. I started by perusing the wine list. After all, a day off and a morning at the Spa deserves a glass of wine. I am a big Pinot Noir fan, so I was pleased to see two choices. The first, Luna, was $14. Nevermind that they charged me $15. But the other choice was $30! I wanted to verify, but cannot find the wine list online. I hope I was mistaken. Anyway, my waiter poured the wine and I knew immediately the bottle had been sitting out since yesterday. But, I thought perhaps maybe it was going to be a fuller wine, so I let it go. After a few sips, I finally asked…’Was this wine opened today?” “No” was the response. And off he went to get me a fresh bottle. Ok, so it was a slow lunch and he didn’t check the wine.
I ordered Donburi, which is a rice bowl dish. It was freezing outside and I wanted a comforting lunch before some heavy shopping. For those of you who follow the blog, I am a huge rock shrimp tempura fan and like to compare restaurants. Winner, Morimoto and old standby, Lure Fishbar (half a block away on Mercer). This was shit. I could have gotten warm shrimp tempura that’s been sitting around at Cafe Duke over Udon noodles and it would have been better. Normally when I get a dish with an egg broken over the top it is HOT ENOUGH TO COOK THE EGG. Not so for this dish. And it was over what they call ‘Super Rice’. Super what? Dry? Old? I left half of it in the bowl. Overall, it was just flavorless. I think there was supposed to be kimchi in there, but I sure as hell didn’t taste it.
Normally, I’d say it deserves a second shot at dinner. But this time I am not bothering. If this place were so amazing, this dish would not have made it out of the kitchen and they would have given me a fresh glass of wine.
170 Mercer St – Soho