Why Come Here? The “less rich” man’s version of Masa, excellent omakase menu, special occasion
Think of Neta as the Brooklyn to Masa’s Manhattan (even though they’re both in Manhattan…). You get a thing that’s basically a laid back version of the other for a fraction of the price. Admittedly, I’ve never actually been able to bring myself to drop $450 pre-tax, tip and booze Masa so I can’t say for sure. But since Neta was started by not one but two Masa alums, I’m gonna go ahead and assume the comparison is apt. Even if it’s not, it’s stil a great spot for your next omakase blow out.
Neta follows the minimalist decor trend adopted by numerous high-end Japanese restaurants in recent years. This starts with the exterior, where you’ll likelly walk right past the glass windows with tiny signage if you haven’t memorized the exact address. Step inside and you’ll find a giant sushi counter surrounded by basically a few white walls. Unlike many similar places, the entire kitchen is visible from the counter and this is definitely the place you want to sit if you’re in a small group. I found some of the tables in front felt a little isolated from the restaurant and were too loud for the delicate meal being served.
The menu gives you the choice of a range of small plates mostly in the $15-$25 range (with some BIG outliers) or one of three omakase (tasting menus) priced at $105/145/225. So at least the most expensive is still half the price of Masa. If you’re not in a position to come here often (aka you don’t carry a Black Card), do yourself a favor and splurge on an omakase. We did the $105 version which had no shortage of variety or food. Here’s what we got, in order:
Sawara (Spanish Mackeral) Sashimi Salad At first I was a little thrown off by the Mackeral being served warm in the cold salad. Ultimately though, I enjoyed the pairing with the cool vegetables and ginger soy sauce.
Tempura I appreciated the light fry job and it was a fun plating that looked like a little crab on the beach. I’d even say it’s the best tempura I’ve ever had. But then again, when’s the last time you got really excited about tempura?
Szechuan Spiced Salmon It looks like some sort of weird food art version of Howard Stern with the curly head of bonito on top. But I love the addition of szechuan spice to the salmon mixture and the crispy rice added the perfect texture.
61 West 8th Street (5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY