02_soto2

357 6th Ave
New York, NY 10014
Soto does not have a website, but here’s Yelp

 

Did you know that SOTO has 2 Michelin Stars?  One of the few times I truly agree with Michelin!  In true SushiGirl fashion, I must now go on a tangent about ALL other Michelin rated sushi yas in NYC.  Will get back to SOTO shortly…

Restaurants with Michelin Stars:

  1. Masa*** – I have never been. I just can’t justify $595 per person for a 20 piece sushi serving.  That means $29.75 PER PIECE!  In what bizzaro world will you find 20 pieces of fish, where every single piece is wort $30?  I just can’t…
  2. Ichimura at Brushstroke** – I 100% do not agree with two stars, maybe just one. Been to Brushstroke a handful of times PRE SushiGirl days.  And with every visit, we leave feeling fully UNsatisfied.  Boyfriend and I have thus been procrastinating on returning so that we can do a proper post, BUT to be honest I’m a bit torn on whether or not to go at all.  WHY throw $1500 bucks at a meal that we know we don’t enjoy?  I don’t have pictures, but here’s why:
    • Variety – they have like 6 million different Tuna cuts, but other than that, variety is severely lacking
    • Freshness – I’ll give them this, they are fresh
    • Preparation – Of their 8 bar seats, everyone gets the same servings, no deviations, and 30% of the meal is cooked, which we are not fans
    • Cost – $195 for the meal, which is reasonable ONLY if you love TOROs,
    • Sake Markup – Outrageously high
  3. Soto** – I AGREE, I AGREE!!! And 2 is the appropriate number of stars.
    • Overall score of 33 out of 35
    • Food score of 23 out of 25
    • Cost score of 10 out of 10
  4. Sushi of Gari* – They deserve ZERO stars. Please read the detailed post from August 2016, other than meeting Matthew McConaughey, their meals are NEVER great.
    • Overall score of 21 out of 35
    • Food score of 17 out of 25
    • Cost score of 4 out of 10
  5. Cagen* – Another sushi-ya deserving of ZERO stars. Please read the detailed post from June 2016, been there one time only, but it will likely NOT be going back anytime soon.  They got total overall score of 22 of 35, only 16 of 25 for food, and 6 of 10 for cost!  Not so good!
    • Overall score of 22 out of 35
    • Food score of 16 out of 25
    • Cost score of 6 out of 10
  6. Sushi Yasuda* – Please read the detailed post from July 2016, I think they actually deserve TWO stars and not just one.
    • Overall score of 32 out of 35
    • Food score of 24 out of 25
    • Cost score of 8 out of 10
  7. Jewel Bako* – Please read the detailed post from August 2016, definitely agree with their one star
    • Overall score of 32 out of 35
    • Food score of 22 out of 25
    • Cost score of 10 out of 10
  8. Sushi Azabu* – Please read the detailed post from September 2016, definitely agree with their one star
    • Overall score of 28 out of 35
    • Food score of 21 out of 25
    • Cost score of 7 out of 10
  9. Kyo Ya* – No posting yet, but we’re getting there!

Restaurants that didn’t get ANY MICHELIN STARS but SHOULD:

  1. Kuruma Zushi – Please read the detailed post from August 2016, they deserve THREE stars
    • Overall score of 29 out of 35
    • Food score of 25 out of 25
    • Cost score of 4 out of 10
  2. Blue Ribbon Izakaya – Please read the detailed post from August 2016, or May 2016, they deserve TWO stars. This is when boyfriend gets mad at me.  He LOVES IZAKAYA.  He would give them three stars instead of my measly two.
    • Overall score of 34 out of 35
    • Food score of 25 out of 25
    • Cost score of 9 out of 10

Oh my, that was a really long tangent…  One more, and we’ll get back to SOTO.  My favorite commercial just came on, Amazon Prime with the Golden Retriever that became a lion!!!  It almost makes you want to tear.  But no one tears for a commercial!  It has a happy ending though, so you do end up smiling at the end.  Ok, really back to SOTO now.

A couple of things you should know about SOTO:

  • SOTO is a lovely little restaurant in the heart of the city (according to us), the west village. It’s an intimate little restaurant, great for both seatings at the sushi bar and the tables.
  • Menu is pretty broad, you have a healthy selection of sushi bar appetizers/small plates, an equally healthy selection of cooked small plates, and a sushi menu of 20-25 varieties that changes daily (which is more than what the Cagen, Shuko & Gari has!)
  • Omakase is still somewhat of a new concept at SOTO. They used to have an omakase sushi “plate” of 8 or 10 pieces, but since they started the omakase serving, they stopped the plate.  The Omakase is a mix of raw and cooked dishes, small plates as well as sushi.
  • Sake Menu is abundant, and all fairly decently priced
  • Chef looks like he is mad at the world, but it’s just his “look”. Ever heard of the term “b*tchy resting face”, sorry chef, don’t be offended, but you kinda have that.  He’s not angry though, we gave him some sake, and while he won’t drink during work, he was super appreciative.  We saw him smile!  Funny how we take such small wins, as “wins”.
  • Great chefs can get away with all sorts of bad behavior. The rest of the wait staff, not so much.  SOTO’s wait staff really needs fine tuning.  There is a definitive language barrier, but beyond that, the wait staff is 100% NOT friendly, they do not know how to smile, AND they do not know their menu.  We started asking about the omakase.  My question/request was simple, is the omakase still a good choice we don’t want any cooked foods?  After a bunch of ahs and ums, we learn that there are cooked items as part of the omakase.  I asked how many, and which ones, but they had no idea.  I asked if I can “request” to have strictly raw, and more ahs and ums.  Boyfriend came to the waitress’s rescue, and said, “let’s just order à la carte”.  Then came the drink order.  We asked if we could have a full sized bottle of a particular sake.  She responds, I don’t know if we have that.  Uh…  If you don’t know, why don’t you go check?  But instead, she just stood there, so I had to further my request “do you mind checking”?  She responds, I don’t think we have it.  Ok, how is this response any different from your first?  So I followed up, “if you don’t know, do you mind checking for us”, where she replied, “no, we don’t have it.”  That’s a pretty big change in a matter of 1.5 minutes!  So my conclusion is, either the language barrier caused her to choose the wrong words in what’s available, OR the more cynical, she’s freaking lazy, and aloof, and does not know the first thing about customer service.  Whatever, they are really lucky that their food is kick a*s.  You do not come here for stellar service, you come for the food.

Onto our à la carte meal…

OTOSHI/Small Plates:

  1. CHU TORO TARTARE – Soto’s Description: chopped fatty part of eye tuna with avocado coulis, garnished with caviar, served in sesame ponzu sauce. SushiGirl’s verdict: Have you ever had Neta / Shuko’s Toro Tartare with Caviar?  Soto’s may not be as fancy looking, may not come in a short martini glass, and accompanied with a tiny piece of toast, but it is SO MUCH better.  The Toro here is no joke, super fatty, but not the kind where you need to rinse your mouth out after, no veins/chew, no funky aftertaste tinge, so delicious and refreshing.  And I NEVER describe TORO as refreshing, that is how good it was!  This was boyfriend’s favorite dish of the night.1046-01
  2. WILD SNAPPER CARPACCIO – Soto’s Description: New Zealand wild snapper with aged vinegar and sea salt, sesame oil, garnished with chopped ginger shoot and cilantro. SushiGirl’s verdict: This was my one and only disappointment of the night.  It was too sour.  At first, I couldn’t tell what made it so sour, the sauce, or the ginger shoot.  After dissecting it, we discovered that the ginger shoot was surprisingly good and mild, not sour at all.  So it must be the other, the vinegar in the sauce.  The snapper was good though.1046-02-11046-02-2
  3. GEODUCK CLAM SALAD – Soto’s Description: Ginger marinated part of giant clam, spicy radish sprouts, Japanese cucumber, daikon and shiso leaf. SushiGirl’s verdict: What a lovely salad this was!  I’m not a fan of sesame seeds, but the radish sprouts were amazing, as were the cucumber, and definitely the clam.  What a fantastic combination!  This one beats the TORO tartare for me, but for boyfriend, he still preferred the TORO.1046-03
  4. KAMPACHI TARTARE – Soto’s Description: chopped kampachi amberjack with wasabi tobiko, pine nuts, served with soy foam. SushiGirl’s verdict: Another home run!  This ties with the salad for me.  The flavors here are so much more intricate, more savory even, a complete 180 from the salad, but just as good.  I have zero complaints about this dish.  The KANPACHI, as you would expect is ridiculously fresh.  The wasabi TOBIKO is not my favorite, but complimented this dish well.  The pine nut added a fantastic crunch and saltiness.  And as annoyingly uppity as soy foam sounds, it sealed the deal for this dish.  What a fantastically and deliciously intricate layering of flavors!  This is where the dish becomes art.1046-04-1
  5. SHIMA AJI CARPACCIO – Soto’s Description: thinly sliced japanese strip jack fish with truffle ginger soy sauce, fresh ginger and scallion. SushiGirl’s verdict: Amaze balls!  Compared to the KAMPACHI, this was amazingly light dish, but it brought out all the true flavors of the SHIMA AJI.  So simple, yet so delish.  I didn’t really take that close of a look at the menu, nor would I remember it to this level of detail, but in tasting this dish, I decided there MUST be a drop of truffle oil!  Must!  Just one drop bc it is light, but yes, it was there!  The beauty of SOTOs dishes.  All those flavors melding together…1046-051046-05-3
  6. UNI IKA SUGOMORI ZUKURI – Soto’s Description: finest sea urchin wrapped in thinly sliced squid with shiso, served with quail egg and tosa soy reduction. SushiGirl’s verdict: This was one of the dishes that keeps me coming back to Soto.  Today, it wasn’t as spectacular as usual.  The overall combination is fantastic, UNI wrapped inside IKA and topped with quail egg.  No way anyone can complain about any of that.  Only problem was that the UNI in this dish was not super fresh today.  Boo…  I had thought this was going to be boyfriend’s favorite, winning the top spot of the TORO tartare.  He LOVES UNI AND IKA AND Quail egg.  It was still good, but because of the subpar UNI, the TORO tartare maintains its number one spot.1046-06-11046-06-2

SUSHI:  (The waitress will impress upon you that you need to put in your FULL order at the beginning of the order taking, so they can gage time of servings.  Although a fairly annoying request, they are pretty slow, so if possible TRY to predict how hungry you’ll be after your sleuth of small plates, and order sooner than later)

  1. SHIMA AJI – Served lightly scored, and topped with a tiny bit of soy. Just like the appetizer, but without the distracting vinegar, this had an amazing crunch and was absolutely delicious.1046-07
  2. AKAMI ZUKE – This was a true AKAMI ZUKE, LEAN, marinated tuna. I know that was kind of a weird statement, but recently we’ve been served some peculiar AKAMI ZUKEs, where they used CHUTORO (not complaining, but just odd), or where it really wasn’t marinated, or under marinated, etc.  This AKAMI ZUKE was good, not great, but good.  It lacked flavor, seemed to be marinated with just soy and nothing else almost…1046-08
  3. MIRUGAI – Served scored and topped with sea salt. What a beautiful taste of the sea.  The crunch was spectacular as well.1046-09
  4. HOTATE – Check this out!!! This was easily the best piece of the night!  Served with a small sprinkling of YUZU zest, and sea salt.  We each had to do a repeat round, it was that good!1046-10
  5. SAKURA MASU – We originally did not order this, as I’m not a huge fan of salmons/trouts, but our neighbor ordered two cuts, and they looked amazing, so we followed suit. This first one was a Scotland farm raised sea trout.  It was night and day different from every other sea trout I’ve had.  Sea trouts tend to have a very specific and not so desirable (to me, but good for everyone else) trout taste.  This one didn’t have that.  Farm raised fish tend to be super fatty, but this one wasn’t that fatty at all?  In addition to those two anomalies, this serving also had a chew to it, which was very unusual.  All in all, despite it being its peculiarities, I actually really enjoyed this.  So unexpected!1046-11
  6. SAKE – Scotland farm raised salmon. This one was fatty, and with no chew.  This one conformed more to the norm, super fatty.  I liked this one even better than the first!  Doubly unexpected!1046-12
  7. KOHADA – KOHADAs are one of my FAVORITE silver fishes, and this one was no exception. It was marinated to perfection, not over marinated where it’s essentially cured.  This was marvelous.1046-13
  8. MADAI YAKISHIMO – Seared Japanese sea bream – My only whitefish of this night. If you’re only going to have one, why not one of the crème de la crème, a true Japanese Sea bream, the MADAI.  This was a slightly over-ABURIed, but still fantastically fresh.  Super happy.1046-14
  9. YARI IKA – Served with a small SHISHO leaf between the IKA and the rice, and topped with lightly with soy. Even better than the IKA from the small plate, the UNI IKA SUGOMORI ZUKURI.    The SHISO really brightens and highlights the IKA.1046-15
  10. UNI-MURASKAI (California) – I didn’t order this one. While I love a good UNI, I’m not craze-balls into it, not like boyfriend.  Given that California UNI isn’t in season yet, I didn’t bother.  Boyfriend had it, and thought it was good, but not great.1046-16
  11. UNI-BAFUN (Hokkaido) – This second one, we both had. It was a little nuttier than normal, good but not great.  This was a little disappointing…1046-17
  12. IKURA – Large, beautiful kernels of un-crushed salmon eggs. Delicious!  Thank goodness we ended on this piece an not the UNI.1046-18

 

Overall Thoughts:

Overall, the service blew, but the food was fantastic, and cost is super affordable.  Overall rating of 33 out of 35.  That is insanely high!02_soto1