---------- FashionFirstLunchLater: Haute Restaurant of the Week: Soto

Friday, November 7, 2008

Haute Restaurant of the Week: Soto

Part of the enjoyment of being a patron at sushi restaurant Soto is to witness the madness of sushi chef Sotohiro Kosugi. At any given time he will become enraged and throw a $50-a-pound bluefin tuna into the trash due to a small imperfection on the skin. Kosugi's dedication to perfection isn't just for show, Food & Wine named him one of America's top new chefs back in 1997, a title he takes very seriously.  

An ambiguous, unmarked sushi house located in Greenwich Village, Soto seats an intimate dining room of 42 people. The setting is clean and contemporary with a touch a Tokyo influence. An open kitchen and sushi bar allows hungry eyes to feast on dishes as they are being prepared. To ensure the fish is fresh enough for chef Kosugi, routine deliveries of tuna from Ecuador, fresh Amber Jack from Hawaii and pearly white Toyama shrimp from Japan show up
 habitually, each and everyday. 

One would think only steak could be prepared rare, medium rare or well done, at Soto, your sushi can be as well. The choices for savoring your fish are "pre or post" (pre means cleaner taste and chewier texture, post means it's softer and more flavorful.) When tasting the fatty "chu-toro" tuna we wondered how sushi could look so simple yet taste so good. Other notables on the menu are the Steamed Lobster With Uni Mousse, the delicate Daylight Flounder Karaag, and the Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab, which we recommend for people who prefer their fish cooked.  Soto also serves an impressive list of hard to find sakes, which can be ordered either by the bottle or in chilled beakers. We recommend trying the Sojou, it’s fully worth the taste test. 

As Japanese restaurants run rampant in New York the typical pretentious price should be expected, however, Soto’s prices remain humble, making it the perfect sushi spot for a date or dinner theater all-in-one. That is if Chef Kosugi doesn’t find any discrepancies with his fish.  

Soto, 357 Sixth Avenue, near Washington Place, New York. Tel. 212-414-3088 Hours: Monday- Saturday (5:45pm-11:45pm) Sunday, closed. Reservations recommended.