Out of Town: Soto Restaurant Review, West Village – New York City, NY

Since Soto was just named the best sushi in New York City, I wanted to post a review I wrote a few months ago. Enjoy!
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Sotohiro Kosugi’s food has been a staple of my diet for many years. I frequented his restaurant(s) in Atlanta more times than I can remember. Needless to say, I was devastated when he left. As with Chefs Guenter Seeger and Joel Antunes, Soto just did not fit here in Atlanta. Soto is an artist, and that does not translate well to the Atlanta scene. We’re getting better, but we’re just not there yet. While I will give this 5 stars all day, every day – it is not to say that Soto is absent of faults.

I have ordered Omakase for years. As a frequent customer, I’m not sure Soto serves us the same thing he does most Omakase customers. This is most likely because he knows we eat everything – so there is no holds barred with us. Because of that, I will not steer anyone toward any particular dish. I will however, give a few suggestions and tips on what to expect.

First: the portions are small. Second: it’s not inexpensive. Third: It’s not quick. If you can swallow those three things, then you’ll be in good shape. But if you’ve read this review and still complain about those…. well, I warned you.

I’ve heard people toss the words “celebrity chef” with Soto, and I must say I’m baffled by that. Celebrity chef makes me think of Gordon Ramsey, Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Colicchio, or Daniel Boulud. I cannot think of a single instance of Soto doing an interview (outside of the culinary world) or promotional book tour, or anything of the sort (if I’m wrong – let me know).

He is, however, distinctly Japanese. He can be abrasive and has a very demanding personality. This is not directed at his customer, rather, at his employees and most notably: HIMSELF. He works in front of his customers and should probably tone down the outbursts. When Soto is in a good mood, he is as friendly and as engaging as anyone. But he is such a perfectionist; if you don’t know how to read him – you may think he’s ignoring you. He is not; he is just focused on his craft. His wait staff is attentive and kind, so that should help soften some of the gruff from Soto.

What he may be lacking in the warm and fuzzy aspect, he more than makes up for in his execution, delivery, and quality. The cooked dishes are wonderful and offer an excellent opportunity to explore your palette. As with any artist, presentation is as important as anything. Each plate comes with its’ own masterpiece that you think must be one-of-a-kind. Then you glance at the plate of anyone else at the table and see that he executed a consistent presentation.

The flavors are wonderful and he uses only the highest quality product. I would take every opportunity afforded and be adventurous here. You will not be disappointed. I find it hard to justify spending this kind of money on a spicy tuna roll (though it is wonderful here).

If you go – expect a fine dining experience at it’s’ best. It will be delicious and exquisite with a distinctly Japanese feel. You’ll be there a while, so make sure you order enough; but, you will not be disappointed. To sum it up: FANTASTIC.

Address: 357 Ave Of The Americas New York, NY 10014 // P: (212) 414-3088

Soto on Urbanspoon

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