Soto, NYC 2

October 9, 2012

Having been very impressed by our meal at Soto last year, Linda and I were really looking forward to our return there with Tony on August 23, 2012.
We ordered t
he omakase course; it started with
goma tofu
black sesame and white sesame tofu, served with wasabi soy sauce and soy form.


The sesame flavors were distinct and elegant, perked up by the small wasabi dabs and the mild soy sauce.
A small cup of nigori sake, in which the rice sediments have not been filtered out, was served with this; it was quite fruity and sweet.

We then started on a bottle of Sempuku “Kura” Junmai Dai Ginjo sake, which we had particularly liked the last time.

It was equally as good this time.
.

Then came
fluke ponzu
thinly sliced fluke with chive, shiso leaf, ginger shoots, scallion, under mizore ponzu sauce

Fluke is too delicate to stand up to so many garnishes. They were nice, but deserved a more substantial fish.

.

chawan mushi
traditional organic egg custard soup with shrimp, chicken, shiitake, mitsuba, ginko nuts, yuzu zest

This was very hot when it was served. I am surprised that the custard didn’t curdle. It was hard to eat with a large shrimp inside. It didn’t need so many ingredients, but, finally, it was quite enjoyable.
.

sea trout carpaccio
cured tasmanian sea trout with black truffle sea salt, sweet miso mustard sauce, served with sesame cresoon

This really should have been called a tartare, rather than a carpaccio as the sea trout was chopped rather than sliced. Its seasoning was excellent, as was the watercress with a sesame dressing.

wild snapper carpaccio
new zealand wild snapper with aged vinegar and sea salt, sesame oil, garnished with chopped ginger shoot and cilantro

The garnishes were very good, leaving the nice, but mild, slice of fish in the background.
.

minute steamed tai
lightly steamed new Zealand sea bream with ginger scallion oil

This fish was more substantial and was nicely enhanced by the garnish.

.
uni and yuba
black soy bean milk skin with uni, served with shiitake broth

The sea urchin was very good, enhanced by the other ingredients, which were well matched with it.

.
broiled lobster with mango, portabella
lightly broiled maine live lobster and mango, portabella mushroom under panko

The four slices of portobello mushrooms and of mango were quite stark while the lobster meat broiled under Japanese breadcrumbs was luscious and rich.

.
steamed lobster with uni mousse
layers of steamed maine lobster and uni mousse in lotus wrap, garnished with smoked uni and caviar

This was absurdly rich and good.

.
aoyagi clam cocktail
sliced live sea clam marinated in truffle ginger soy sauce, fresh ginger shoots

The clam, ginger, lime combination was good.
.

We started on our second bottle of sake:
Tsukinokatsura
“Summer Fresh Draft” Tokubetsu Junmai Ginjo Nama Sake (Kyoto.)

This was one of three “seasonal sakes” added at the front of the sake list which described it as:
“Flavorful type. Tranquil aromas of grain, tree and nuts. Very complex sake, with extra acidity and fruity finish. Complex flavors balanced well with crisp acidity.”

Tony and I thought that it was more interesting and better with the food than the very good Kura, which Linda continued to prefer.
.

 sashimi


On the left was a very good raw Tasmanian sea trout; on the upper right was a lightly seared Scottish salmon; in the middle were light and very dark tunas; on the lower right was half of a raw sea scallop. This was served with a rich soy sauce for dipping. Very good.

.
cyu toro tartare
chopped fatty part of big eye tuna with avocado coulis, garnished with caviar, chive, served in sesame ponzu sauce

A rich tuna tartare was topped with a layer of avocado and green garnishes. Good.
.

uni ika sugomori zukuri
sea urchin wrapped in thinly sliced squid with shiso, served with quail egg and tosa soy reduction

The flavors were superb, but the textures seemed gooey without the needed contrasting crunch.
.

broiled langoustine
lightly broiled new zealand Iangoustine under shiitake sauce.

This unusual combination of flavors worked very well.

.
We were asked if we wanted some sushi and opted for two pieces:
cyutoro, or “mid fatty big eye tuna” from Ecuador;
unagi, smoked fresh water eel from Taiwan.


These were both top quality, with just the right amount of light seasoning.

.
Ice cream in mochi

Five ice creams were served in half-spheres of mochi. Very nice.

Roasted green tea

A traditional finish.

We had an enjoyable evening. The service, pace and low-key, quiet ambience were very good. But our meal, despite being mostly the same dishes as what we were served the year before, was not up to the same very high level. Some of this may have been due to our higher expectations. There was less uni and it did not seem to be the same quality as the first time. The next time we need to list the dishes we have already had and ask for others. We will certainly be back to Soto.

Soto
357 6th Avenue, New York
(212) 414-3088

To see our meal at Soto in July, 2011, click here.  

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