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manolands

Tempura Matsui, New York's, Perhaps Anmerica's, First Traditional Tempura House - at 39th Street and 2nd Avenue in Murray Hill

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This is by no means like a secret spot and has gotten a lot of press. I've been twice here now and have had really amazing meals with my family. I keep close watch of the food scene in Japan and I can say this is the closest thing we have to a real tempura restaurant down to the hiddeness of the restaurant discretely off to the side of a building (In Japan a lot of the restaurants are hidden in this way like Jiro which is in a subway thing as I recall but it's hardly the only example of this phenomena over there). The tempura is light and airy with not even a touch of grease to be found on the paper after lifting it up with your chopsticks. It is constantly innovative like our chawanmushi with crab and fois gras. I have never seen chawanmushi with that combo before and while done somewhere else it maybe way over the top here the slight sea flavor and richness of the fois just made this divine. And also they change the menu. Last time I came with my family was winter as I recall and they had a slew of other dishes. Tonight the Crab was particularly divine and tasted of the sea as if Neptune consummated it's relationship with this specific crab and elevated it to godly level. I could go on and on. We had nice fatty toro among and actually our fluke as I recall the fish was had a very nice ever so slight smokiness or some taste like that. This is the type of meal you could pick one thing and unpack it for awhile. OHHHH and lets not forget the shrimp heads. I am a stickler for the shrimp heads. I'm that guy who asks the sushi chef to fry them after eating fresh shrimp for instances. I love the richness of them. Tonight they elevated that taste to a new level yet again. Even the soba was great and tasted straight off the block!!!! Soooooo yes really great all around BUT a word of caution for our frequent Japan goers.....it may not be quite the level of Japan but it is truly one of the top in New York!!! Go here now!!!

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On 8/3/2016 at 11:45 PM, manolands said:

This is by no means like a secret spot and has gotten a lot of press. I've been twice here now and have had really amazing meals with my family. I keep close watch of the food scene in Japan and I can say this is the closest thing we have to a real tempura restaurant down to the hiddeness of the restaurant discretely off to the side of a building (In Japan a lot of the restaurants are hidden in this way like Jiro which is in a subway thing as I recall but it's hardly the only example of this phenomena over there). The tempura is light and airy with not even a touch of grease to be found on the paper after lifting it up with your chopsticks. It is constantly innovative like our chawanmushi with crab and fois gras. I have never seen chawanmushi with that combo before and while done somewhere else it maybe way over the top here the slight sea flavor and richness of the fois just made this divine. And also they change the menu. Last time I came with my family was winter as I recall and they had a slew of other dishes. Tonight the Crab was particularly divine and tasted of the sea as if Neptune consummated it's relationship with this specific crab and elevated it to godly level. I could go on and on. We had nice fatty toro among and actually our fluke as I recall the fish was had a very nice ever so slight smokiness or some taste like that. This is the type of meal you could pick one thing and unpack it for awhile. OHHHH and lets not forget the shrimp heads. I am a stickler for the shrimp heads. I'm that guy who asks the sushi chef to fry them after eating fresh shrimp for instances. I love the richness of them. Tonight they elevated that taste to a new level yet again. Even the soba was great and tasted straight off the block!!!! Soooooo yes really great all around BUT a word of caution for our frequent Japan goers.....it may not be quite the level of Japan but it is truly one of the top in New York!!! Go here now!!!

I've been hearing about how, in Japan, when you go to a venerable tempura specialist, you eat the dish within *seconds* of when it is brought out; you don't sit around and admire it, because it begins changing very quickly. Is this the experience you had at Tempura Matsui? It's much more time-critical than even sushi, and I've always wanted to experience this - there's *nothing* even resembling this in DC. Oh, some Izakayas might have some good tempura that you should do this with, but I'm talking about a pure tempura specialist. I *love* Japan's specialty concepts.

Matsui's menu looks like they bring you several dishes at once, and if that's the case, it's not what I've heard is the highest-level of tempura. Do you know if this is so? I don't mind eating each course within seconds, but I don't want to be in a position where I must wolf down a combo-plate as quickly as I can, just so things don't cool down.This, to me, is one of the romances of authentic tempura, about which I know so little, and about which I would go to great lengths to experience - preferably in New York instead of Japan if that's possible

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16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I've been hearing about how, in Japan, when you go to a venerable tempura specialist, you eat the dish within *seconds* of when it is brought out; you don't sit around and admire it, because it begins changing very quickly. Is this the experience you had at Tempura Matsui? It's much more time-critical than even sushi, and I've always wanted to experience this - there's *nothing* even resembling this in DC. Oh, some Izakayas might have some good tempura that you should do this with, but I'm talking about a pure tempura specialist. I *love* Japan's specialty concepts.

Matsui's menu looks like they bring you several dishes at once, and if that's the case, it's not what I've heard is the highest-level of tempura. Do you know if this is so? I don't mind eating each course within seconds, but I don't want to be in a position where I must wolf down a combo-plate as quickly as I can, just so things don't cool down.This, to me, is one of the romances of authentic tempura, about which I know so little, and about which I would go to great lengths to experience - preferably in New York instead of Japan if that's possible

YES!!!! Everything is brought out pretty quickly. You eat it almost as soon as it comes out. For instances, to your point, I saw what happens when you don't because my mom got full (it's a big several course tasting menu) and she left one or two pieces. It gets kinda soggy quickly so as you said quickness is key!!! They don't bring out several courses at once. Everything tempura piece is one at a time and the other courses come one after another in nicely spaced intervals. The only thing that comes out with several little plates is the first course amuse thing but most of that is served cold or at room temp and isn't tempura. I promise you this will capture some of what your looking for!!!

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20150724-masao_matsui-23.0.jpg

Sounds great, thanks manolands. Chef Masao Matsui died earlier this year. The restaurant appears to have started transitioning to the new chef Shin Kato a few months after opening. Michelin 2016 NYC awarded one star last Fall. Reviews in the New York Post and New York Times (the latter's slide show).

Open only for dinner now (lunch TBA) at three set prices: $230, $180 and $140 (sample menu). Price has increased from $200 at opening.

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I heard from the PR rep of Matsui Tempura - among other things, he said this:

"We have 9 seats at the counter and 10 seats at the tables opposite. Because of the delicate nature of the tempura we do serve it piece by piece, however if you are seated at a table, we may serve 2 or 3 pieces at a time for ease of service."

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On 8/3/2016 at 11:45 PM, manolands said:

This is by no means like a secret spot and has gotten a lot of press. I've been twice here now and have had really amazing meals with my family. I keep close watch of the food scene in Japan and I can say this is the closest thing we have to a real tempura restaurant down to the hiddeness of the restaurant discretely off to the side of a building (In Japan a lot of the restaurants are hidden in this way like Jiro which is in a subway thing as I recall but it's hardly the only example of this phenomena over there). The tempura is light and airy with not even a touch of grease to be found on the paper after lifting it up with your chopsticks. It is constantly innovative like our chawanmushi with crab and fois gras. I have never seen chawanmushi with that combo before and while done somewhere else it maybe way over the top here the slight sea flavor and richness of the fois just made this divine. And also they change the menu. Last time I came with my family was winter as I recall and they had a slew of other dishes. Tonight the Crab was particularly divine and tasted of the sea as if Neptune consummated it's relationship with this specific crab and elevated it to godly level. I could go on and on. We had nice fatty toro among and actually our fluke as I recall the fish was had a very nice ever so slight smokiness or some taste like that. This is the type of meal you could pick one thing and unpack it for awhile. OHHHH and lets not forget the shrimp heads. I am a stickler for the shrimp heads. I'm that guy who asks the sushi chef to fry them after eating fresh shrimp for instances. I love the richness of them. Tonight they elevated that taste to a new level yet again. Even the soba was great and tasted straight off the block!!!! Soooooo yes really great all around BUT a word of caution for our frequent Japan goers.....it may not be quite the level of Japan but it is truly one of the top in New York!!! Go here now!!!

This echos my experience at Matsui last November.  The pacing of the meal was fantastic and I was never served more than 2 pieces at a time.  Here is the chawanmushi:

RuSexlYQE_fhqn5gdQqAUCrm2FzyJ4pv63GMgtvY_rD0xKwae5LYlSrf-7npzNrjIvIga9RR6VqklTfP-QDIrTRlB9mlQUSm8tMH9n2mOYhm1L3a4cbXSJzJG7r3r1_WrPHq-Q-Qlsaw6dZzRdne_l_FggMfa0V5vv8vT0XEreEjCJPenpEBolicab2bGN21Qc53dcebf4qwZXKuByVgQUqLjRGLc53V0hzfAsvaDxr6uSF7KupasjqwfEMsGisWxfXeSs7HYI0smjsKsrlIFncVqpRcVQ6k1e-YmYvpvl06ZYm5wvtv_GgARCCkU-vRz2np5PUh-JZeEXicQl_YJ6bBpu1qTy3E_xV8hopuu_RJSc3FZYthSFp6wGGvLwjslpgpF_eOlWHw6H53qnBNXpRbg3oxslT9ys4KHuExbaxr-uMaZZ_or27Rh5S8kwc9IXDNAATzp2EcBRzkmSqgD_Tfy4v5gtLEzYa62Lsm4WGMJliGcGs4hpPvOy41lzkpRau0H1JXEZdr3q0YJSqffBHhtcRPGlsXXP5ncRqVHnaGth2UP6MmKA05IUxpV7Q2CKaFqG-RxLbMcsstqomElZa3B0eI0MKA3__EmfU=w1316-h987-no

and shrimp heads

5wTa9nzq4681wN6g3jBxNC4SHLssOaqMLPdL6ZPJRlIuqfUQlhb5HbtCN5QjxJwVVSDmw_ogVhpM7ioBTc650AYpCZ7nTEqzRfzp2w-Eibj9ux0W47MaNBqD7Tmu9h7N9kXXgwmZxJfOWd5a8aRWdahxZ1HQzFr8itJGi3hT_8A8-fhtWSaGKQwrXgBbpdGX-hwYGpIWXWnndTMg0wfb0ZbsCQk5oIKhgGf4OjXAx9golIX9Co1AM1Zi2yfW9Jj2Pobxq6l6uwt432cvLpchAImzrWarXl4grHvrEQ-v_Aut1l71ELHyDuIOlXx9BveoX7Mirvh0D1Cs7rRrYkLTYeDxoLDWq5qeYPDmV5uFDAPvMc_OB06cW3sB0puX38ObW5ORCf7TXydBI01R9cLusZs3hCXJzsLL3xND6K_4DfP_sOpYywp6lsCCm_YrPnMdVHXxs4sRPHVd32FlIFi_En0ObxhIdG9_BRDaKghHyCxtRKC5f-DvhXxqT3WXZ9XVoodt5GX9f4fEmbijhztQy8LKq1JsXMVeS-4ZCCvZbbYxJ8T_9zoHjYqVvzbyVpTPJjDoLXCicT_4UZaipRzBSos-0gSudvOFS1VjkCY=w1316-h987-no

My favorite dish of the evening was the sweetest scallop that I have ever tasted

tVJpFJnEZrwH0zrMk4-UKhGJELCkebZApcoMSwpFuOlQHog2KYe7TCuh9I30I9DT_BSfRf13XwCxu-X3mVNlBooUfKLSDl2b8ftcp34Ia4or6HIbgMEHHQAR9TKwaLsVqS7vPvloKleAhbz2CFmdofhjMV1BGgi23feKlw-dqMRTOiuvorTeHCRdcHHhSfAbkJRAW1pFmGKHCK7vpdWvBNdccXaK93SPW3_hQxkiHr6KkA5YlXFFcBY9r4Ca33I5_60ha8XWwLCpK9dG0pBPYPFF2SqN5_1KHTK7zZBT0BoRgoniHOQb1ncTPgHWUmhBDKM2AG2OjmBRJZ0SwfEDyPwf20HhcoMEg_QALcCn0hPXwAFwo-z8HO25dgwbYcmRp3TstMLHvVy2Q0_3LDHf_eX_M5RlVCe8Q84oPvcjAPHPoGWNraGerj49G1wAebETiLI3Neu0VfgFTxQIH9NggFxIUeeTTopDKmS3OZJ_4bNDK3MTMv9h2rLBHTc55C57CZIha8mHfwy1KxrFhp89eQuwA8iNLsvbezPubONrFdlV9HOitJerb7PLXM97vZwMT1qw9AQOFDIjxOxhI0ca8RYiIbczpk3tXAGnhN8=w1316-h987-no

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