I am jealous of all the great sushi restaurants you can find in Manhattan. In that sense, Europe is sad (I know, I am repeating myself ;)) – the fish quality is bad most of the times, the sushi masters (or those pretending to be sushi masters) don’t slice fish as carefully and the big cities are infested with sushi belts chains that mostly serve farmed salmon and some kind of tuna on balls of cold, boiled rice. Anyway, Manhattan has Sushi Yasuda, Kuruma Zushi, Masa, Masa Bar (the list could go on) and now Soto ( 357 6th avenue, Manhattan, tel. 212 414 3088). As far as I understand this place was opened in 2007 by a Japanese chef Sotohiro Kosugi who before that worked in Atlanta for ten years.
The ambiance is as rigid as you could expect from a Japanese sushi master. The interior- simple and pure. The menu includes raw appetizers such as “uni and yuba, black soybean milk with uni, served with shiitake broth” or “aji tataki, chopped aji jackfish with myoga ginger shoots, scallion, chive, shiso leaf” and creative Japanese influenced hot dishes from the kitchen like “steamed lobster with uni mousse”.
The raw appetizers as well as the sushis are prepared by Sotohiro Kosugi behind the sushi bar. Just look how separate each grain of the rice is, I do think the rice could be a little warmer (room temperature), but it was good even for Tokyo standards. The fish at Soto is imported from around the world, yes, pricey, but worth every dollar. I even think that Soto could compare to some high end (1*) sushi restaurant in Japan, except… for the bad service. Is it the reason why the restaurant seems always empty?