357 6th Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1001440.732186 -74.000812
Super delicate, super stark Soto takes an especially high-minded approach to sushi: a combination of the characteristic stripped-down vision of perfect sashimi on the one hand and an almost kaiseki-like approach to small, exquisitely composed and plated dishes. The combination is a huge winner, and more than worth the considerable cost.
Perhaps the best japanese restaurant in the States – Exquisite japanese cuisine, likely will not appeal to those who judge their food by weight, the chef does not suffer fools lightly.The hot dishes prepared in the kitchen are in the same league as the raw fish, in a category of its own, The tempura, as an example, is so light and translucent as to defy description, just as is the shima aji prepared by Soto himself.This is not the place to fill up on sushi rolls - come and be wowed if you're interested to see what's out there beyond Nobu and the like.
Several top chefs hail Soto as best meal '08 – I have had many divine meals at Soto, amazing dishes like Steamed Lobster with uni mousse, Salmon Citrus, miso soup, shima aji, fluke, many more delights, its not cheap and probably not for unrefined palates. I just read an article that asked many chefs their best meal of 2008 , and no less than 3 chefs gave props to Soto:
Jonathan Benno, Executive Chef, Per Se, NY
Meal of the Year ? Soto
Tom Collicchio, Host, Top Chef, Chef/Owner Craft & Damon Wise, Executive Chef, Craft
Meal of the Year ? Soto, NY ?His giant squid with quail egg was the best dish I had this year"
Alex Raij, Chef/Owner Txikito, NY
Most Potential ? Sotohiro Kosugi, Soto, NY
here is the link to the write up: flicker dot com /photos/sifu_renka/3109200379/
go and try it for yourself!
STAY AWAY – I'm not sure which is more annoying: the fact that the restaurant doesn't have a sign, the fact that the restaurant only had one waiter, or the fact that the food is ridic expensive and so-so at best. This place will go out of business in the next few months....
WORST NYC RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE IN 15 YEARS – I have lived in Manhattan for 15 years and been to some bad and/or overpriced restaurants in my time, but this one absolutely takes the cake. It was, quite simply put, awful.
The portion sizes are a total joke. I ordered the tempura for
$20 and got about $2 worth of food. My girlfriend ordered tai for $16 and got less than $1 worth of fish. I also ordered two tuna rolls. The seaweed was stale; the tuna pieces were so small they were barely visible. They forgot to give me wasabi with my rolls. Since the portions were so damn small, I asked for a bowl of rice. They told me that they didn't have regular rice, so they gave me sushi rice that was cold and tasted old -- and they had the AUDACITY to charge me $3.
My girlfriend and I were so hungry after spending $65 there that we went to McDonald's just down the street and ate a fillet of fish and a snack wrap for $8. Trust me, the McD's was more satisfying and tasty than Soto.
So-So-To – You would think that on a Tuesday night in May, any NYC restaurant
would feel refreshed after a long weekend and Monday off. Someone
forget to tell the servers at SOTO.
While the restaurant earns its "cool factor" for being cleverly
disguised off of bustling West 4th street, the lack of wine knowledge
(the waiter seemed dumbfounded when I requested one of the four
offered bottles of red wine from their list) and the misfire between
server and the chef (a party which arrived 15 minutes behind us,
neared the end of their meal as our appetizers finally arrived) both
made me wonder if it is better that the nondescript exterior stay
exactly that so as not to lure (and disappoint) future customers.
It's fitting that Mr. Soto, who hails from a place "where there are
more fish than people", paid more attention to his craft that evening
(which he does well) than his clientele. When my date cozied up next
to one of his assistants to inquire how our meal was coming along, the
man looked at us curiously as if we were vagabond travelers in
northern Japan asking when the next bus to Tokyo departs.
Exquisite, French influenced, Japanese sushi-bar fine dining – I've been a fan of Sotohiro Kosugi for quite some time, and this NYC effort has somehow managed to eclipse his previous Atlanta eatery, one of my all-time favorite restaurants. You could order tempura, sushi, or a small selection of other Japanese food fixtures, they're delicious, but then you're missing out on the reason to visit Soto: the masterpiece creations from the sushi-bar section of the menu! His most whimsical creation, an egg in its nest: a quail egg, atop a nest of uni, surrounded by calamari covered with shreds of shiso and flavored with a soy reduction, will rock your world. The geoduck salad is often praised, and I will too, but the lobster with uni-mouse is my favorite dish on the menu. The presentation of the dishes is exquisite--they are small and delightful. For the two of us, we ordered 4 dishes from the sushi bar, 1 dish from the kitchen, and a few pieces of nigiri. It left us room to split the menu's only desert, a selection of forgettable mochi, my only complaint with the food at Soto (go somewhere else for desert, like the nearby P*ONG). Atlanta Soto fans, the NYC location is a smaller space with a smaller menu, but the service is much faster, and Soto is much happier! A server misheard my order and we were presented with the wrong dish. Soto took back the wrong dish, prepared the new one, and handled the entire event with aplomb. Of all the Michelin starred, James Beard awarded chef, fine dining places we visited in Manhattan, Soto had the most consistently delicious food and the best taste/cost ratio in my opinion. You should check it out.
Don't Go!!! – The service was horrendous. We waited over 2 hours for 4 appetizers that would have made Nicole Ritchie go hungry. The food was OK, but there are several superior high end Japanese restaurants in the city. Chef Sotohiro's antics may fly in Atlanta but not in the Big Apple! The insect under our table was rather unsettling. Nobu and others have nothing to worry about.
Good but pricey – Went here with my wife - the food was excellent, although the portions were small and it was quite expensive. The sake menu is only so so but overall a nice experience. The staff was wonderful - prompt, courteous, etc. what you expect from a Japanese restaurant.
Soto was so-so – Service was extremely slow. Each dish took about 25 mins to come out. Dinner was almost 2 hours for only 4 dishes.
The food was prepared nicely, maybe a little above average, but not top-notch.
Lobster sashimi was pleasant but too much ginger sauce at the bottom.
Sushi and sashimi were okay, not many surprises. Uni was visually appealing but lacked taste.
Lobster and Uni mousse was a little disappointing, especially after all the raves. The lobster meat was somewhat fishy and the mousse did not resonate sea urchin.
The decor felt like sitting in a white box ... maybe adding some warmth would be a nice touch.
SushiNazi - "No omikase for you!" – With so many great Japanese restaurants in Manhattan, there's no reason to go to this one.
We asked for the omikase (tasting menu) dinner that was on the menu, and the waitress said she would have to check with the chef because it's hard for him to serve omikase when the restaurant is busy. (We were nonplussed, as the restaurant was only half full.) She came back to tell us we had too many people in our party for omikase. All right, we said, how many people can you serve omikase style - two? One? Her response was, "I already asked him about omikase and he said no" - apparently she gets only one chance to make a request.
The dishes here are tiny, run about $20 each, and it would probably take 4 of them to fill you up. We each ordered a few dishes to share, and the waitress brought them one at a time, waiting until we had finished one tiny appetizer together before she brought the next. We were hungry and this took a loooong time.
If you have no choice but to come here, call ahead if you want omikase, and order their signature uni dish with egg. It doesn't justify the trip, but it's tasty.
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