357 6th Avenue
Update: ** Michelin.
Behind this unassuming and polished facade lies one of my favourite omakase experiences to date. Beautifully plated, gorgeous fresh produce with delicate flavours, and yet certain dishes were wonderfully creamy rich and luxurious. Given the high quality and freshness of the produce, thoughtfulness and mastery that went into the plating and the skilfulness of balancing all the flavours perfectly, I felt that the omakase was incredibly well priced.
Brightly lit, what is particularly interesting is the feature wall on the right, which resembles the flag of Japan. Everything on the menu is tempting, so I leave myself in the capable hands of Soto-san by choosing the Chef’s Selection ($130).
Owner Sotohiro Kosugi
A real perfectionist, quiet and polite man. He is very hands on and with the help of two assistants, prepares and oversees all dishes that go out. Despite being seated at the bar counter, the opaque glass doors makes it impossible to see the masterful knife skills and beautiful plating that goes into these dishes. Soto-san times his dishes perfectly and is in constant communication with the kitchen staff, his two assistants and the servers throughout the night. Everything appears to be timed to perfection as he constantly asks and is updated with ETA of various elements and dishes by the minute.
Goma Tofu - Black and White Sesame Tofu, served with Wasabi Soy Sauce and Soy Foam ($5)
Contrasting colours were visually pleasing. The soft delicate tofu were slightly sweet with strong smooth sesame flavours. Yet each flavour was subtly different. The tiny wasabi droplet gave this cool dish a slight heat.
Traditional Organic Egg Custard Soup with Shrimp, Chicken, Shiitake, Mitsuba, Gingko Nuts and Yuzu Zest ($10)
Beautifully soft and silky egg custard, with a generous juicy prawn and other delights hidden within, waiting to be discovered.
Sea Trout Carpaccio - Tasmanian Sea Trout with Chives and Caviar, served with Sesame Watercress Salad
The Sea Trout was fresh and melt in your mouth, topped with a sprinkling of fresh chives and smooth Caviar. Watercress was crunchy and coated in a delicious sesame dressing.
Hokki Nuta - Thinly Sliced Surf Clam with Myoga Ginger Shoots and Sesame, served with Sweet Miso Mustard Sauce ($8)
Marinated slivers of fresh surf clam, with tangy lime notes, fragrant ginger shoots and tiny crunchy sesame seeds. In spite of the small portion, the flavours are strong and punchy - I was taking the tiniest morsels and savouring each bite.
Isaki in Ponzu Sauce
Delicate slivers of fresh grunt fish, carefully and deftly folded into each other. Picking up each fish slivers is as though you are unwrapping a present wrapped in layers and layers of pink translucent wrapping paper. They are connected to each other, and as you unravel one, the next one lies there, waiting to be unravelled next. Topped with scallion and ginger.
Minute Steamed Tai - Lightly Steamed Japanese Bream with Ginger Scallion Oil ($16)
Gorgeously fresh, glistening with ginger scallion oil and wonderfully fragrant, topped with golden ginger slivers and scallion curls. There is a fair bit of ginger on top of the fish but you hardly notice this. The ginger flavours are subtle and complement the fish beautifully.
New Zealand Wild Snapper Carpaccio with Aged Vinegar and Sea Salt, Sesame Oil. Garnished with Chives, Cilantro and Horseradish ($18)
Gorgeous flavours. In spite of the course preceding this one to be the minute steamed tai, it was light enough such that having this cold sashimi dish was hardly noticeable. The vinegar, sesame oil, chives and horseradish flavours were strong enough to carry it through and I hardly noticed that the previous hot dish was followed by a cold one, a pet peeve of mine.
Layers of Steamed Maine Lobster and Uni Mousse in Lotus Wrap, garnished with Smoked Uni and Caviar ($28)
Soto-san is quite partial to sea urchin and this is used quite liberally throughout his menu. This incredibly rich and stunning dish is an absolute winner.
Fresh lobster cooked to absolute perfection, firm with the right amount of bite, yet delicately soft and wonderfully flavoursome. Generous layers of lobster and lotus root conceal a mound of creamy and luxurious uni mousse. Each mouthful perfectly complemented by the velvety caviar and fragrant smoked uni. The cucumber slices helped to cleanse the palate before taking a fresh bite so you could experience the wonder and euphoria from this gorgeous creation all over again.
Una Ika Sugomori Zukuri - Finest Sea Urchin wrapped in thinly sliced Squid with Shiso, served with Quail Egg and Tosa Soy Reduction ($26)
Served immediately after the luxurious Lobster and Uni Mousse dish, breaking the raw quail egg perched on top and cutting through the Shiso leaves reveals uni wrapped in slivers of raw squid, all sitting on top of a soy sauce reduction. The combination of the runny yolk, uni and squid proved to be too rich and heavy for me, only because I was feeling quite full at this point.
Lightly Broiled New Zealand Langoustine under Shiitake Sauce ($18)
I was quite apprehensive at being presented with yet another creamy dish. Surprisingly enough the Shiitake sauce was incredibly light, and had delicate slivers of shiitake mushroom layered on top of the langoustine. Beautifully fresh and firm, perfectly cooked and was a beautiful combination.
There was one more sushi course to follow, but halfway through the Sea Urchin and Squid course, I knew I would die if I had to eat three pieces of sushi so I regretfully mentioned that I’d be happy to pay for the full course but I just wouldn’t be able to have it. (Note: I subsequently came back the following week and holy, the sushi was jaw-droppingly perfect even though I was more than satiated. Please see my follow up post)
Roasted Rice Tea
Fragrant and potent green tea, which was quite cleansing after such sinfully rich final courses.
Trio of Mochi - Mango, Red bean and Vanilla
Gorgeous flavours. Thin layers of mochi wrapped around creamy ice-cream.
I can’t express how much love I have for Soto. Each course was an absolute delight and an honest work of art. A combination of top quality and fresh produce, prepared and plated to absolute perfection made this a dream dining experience.