By grace.g.yang · December 14, 2010
Under: Asian,Desserts,Dinner,Japanese,My Life,Prix-fixe,Tribeca

When Darren and Hanaya came to visit New York, I made reservations at Matsugen for us. Darren and I are friends from our consulting days and Hanaya is his fiancée (we’ve met through emails and my blog, but never in person!) We were originally going to Jewel Bako (they wanted to help me on my Michelin quest) but sadly, Jewel Bako was closed on the only day we could meet up.

I’ve been wanting to visit Matsugen since I met Cedric Vongerichten and he said it was his favorite restaurant (coincidentally, I ran into him and his family the night we visited!) I ordered the pre-fixe and Darren and Hanaya ordered the omakase (all of my dishes were on the omakase and Darren and Hanaya received two more dishes than my pre-fixe)

We started off with some edamame and fried soba:


The soba noodles were really addictive; generously seasoned and very crispy, I definitely polished off the majority of the plate by myself (thankfully, Hanaya and Darren were very generous dining partners).

Next, we all received the Appetizer Sampler – marinated tofu with seaweed, uni with yuzu gelee, spinach gomae, crispy shrimp:


My favorite of the four samples was definitely the uni with yuzu gelee and a close second was the delicate tofu with different types of seaweed. The spinach was a little off for me (I think there was some kind of sesame paste with the dish that made it taste a little odd), and the crispy shrimp was good, but it wasn’t anything special.

Hanaya and Darren received a mushroom soup with scallions:


Next, I had two pieces of tuna nigiri:


While Hanaya and Darren received a platter of different types of sashimi:


Hanaya’s favorite was the fatty tuna (it was cute the way she saved it for her last two pieces while Darren ate the fatty tuna first!)

Next, we both had the black miso cod:


And then to top off our meal, we all had the cold spicy sesame inaka:


The cold soba was recommended to us by the server and we all ordered it even though it was freezing cold outside. The soba is made in-house and was paired with a peanut-like sauce that had just a little heat (I was definitely imagining a much spicier broth). The server brought along some hot soba water for us to fill our bowls with so we could drink the broth – I was the only one that did it but it was actually really great!

For dessert, we had the vanilla caramel pudding:


The pudding was very dense at the top and then very mousse-like near the bottom. It was really quite delicious and it tasted like something I could recreate at home.

We had a great time at Matsugen and thought the decor was pretty nice (they kept the fish tank from when the restaurant was something else back in the 90’s). It wasn’t very packed, but I can definitely see it being a fun place to go after work for a quick bite to eat.

Matsugen on Urbanspoon

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