17 May 2012
If you dream about spicy tuna rolls and yellowtail tartare but find the idea of spending $400/head on sushi the teensiest bit appalling, take a few steps further on the forth floor of the time warner center and you'll find yourself at the entrance to bar masa, masa's smaller and (comparatively) economical off-shoot. The space is narrow, with a long bar and equally long line of tables running parallel to each other, beautifully and effectively separated by a thin curtain. The soft lighting and neutral colors give the room an almost spa-like feel, and contribute to the casual, surprisingly unpretentious atmosphere.
Onto the best part: the food. We started with the hirame and spicy cucumber vinaigrette - thinly sliced and incredibly delicate pieces of hirame on top of cucumber. Deliciously light and fresh, though quick word of warning: don't order this if you don't like cilantro. Then came the sizzling hibachi-grilled spicy octopus (possibly the best thing we had all night - see picture) and the eggplant glazed in yuzu miso (also possibly the best thing we had all night). I would go back for these two dishes alone. The bowl of hijiki and root vegetables was also fantastic - the vegetables were chopped into tiny matchsticks and tossed with impossibly thin, translucent noodles - as were the shrimp and vegetable tempura udon and the black cod with daikon (see picture below) - incredibly tender cod sitting in a subtly sweet broth that was so good we ordered extra bowls of rice to soak up every last bit.
Now. Although the food is amazing, it would be considered absurdly expensive just about anywhere else in the world. My advice? Think about how much you're saving ($28 scallop ceviche is still not $400 scallop ceviche), and enjoy. Or else try to convince a rich relative to take you.
10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor, Time Warner Center
hirame with spicy cucumber vinaigrette
sizzling spicy octopus
nasu eggplant with yuzu miso
hijiki and root vegetables
black cod with daikon
shrimp and vegetable tempura udon