REVIEW #94

Neta

Neta, a new collaboration between the former head chef at Masa and the executive chef at Bar Masa, is one of the best new additions to NYC’s sushi landscape in some time. Neta means “the ingredients”, and that choice of name offers a revealing window into the chefs’ approach: a reverential focus on using only the freshest, highest quality ingredients and allowing them to stand on their own in simple presentations. That is a very Japanese conception, one that is mirrored in the equally Japanese design of the restaurant: a discreet entrance, easy to miss, with tall interior curtains shielding the dining room; a spare, minimalist aesthetic, with a muted tonal palette, clean lines, stucco walls that conjure up old Japanese artisanal shops and a 20-seat maple sushi counter bisecting the dining room. With table seating on both sides, the idea is that the railroad car-like room functions as one big chef’s table. Not that the restaurant is pure Zen sanctuary, however – the room throbs with trendy music and the boisterous conversations of bright young things.

Neta serves a variety of small plates (portion sizes are universally small, so make sure you order adequately), in addition to the obligatory sushi/sashimi and rolls. Many of these are luxurious: toro tartar and caviar; crispy duck skin and foie gras; a grilled scallop with uni and lime. But they are surprisingly light and refreshing, and a meal at Neta, which closes with a delicious cup of green tea, leaves one feeling rejuvenated rather than stuffed. Unexpectedly, there is an entire section of sushi rolls devoted simply to vegetables. This isn’t the next Masa – but it is one of the better sushi restaurants in NYC now and we wish Messrs. Kim and Lau well.

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INFORMATION

Greenwich Village
61 W 8th St.
New York (nr. Sixth Avenue)
(212) 505-2610
Mon-Sat, 5pm-10:30pm
    Jimmy Lau, Chef
    Nick Kim, Chef
    Richard Bloch Architects, Designer

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