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Sota Atsumi's 'Maison' @ Chefs Club


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We had a very good meal here just a week into their very long popup. Service lapses were not out of the ordinary for long established places and were handled correctly (meaning by pouring nice champagne) and the food was better than at Vivant and more ambitious than at Clown Bar, although not yet at the 1.5 star level I imagine they're aiming for. Much of the kitchen team and some of the foh is Sota's future team (they now plan to open in Paris in September although even that is uncertain), which makes a huge difference compared to just a chef coming to cook in an existing kitchen.

 

We started with a seafood platter - this is not a raw plate, but rather a strikingly colorful collection of individually marinated and sauced items - crabs in pepper and eggplant, oysters with sorrel ice, razor clams with cauliflower puree, etc. - a major dud here were raw scallops that needed to be in the garbage or at most in some cooked, well spiced preparation at this point in their decomposition cycle, but everything else was of very good quality if too heavy for me on sauces and topping.

 

 

For appetizers - razor and manila clams with asparagus - an excellent dish, and squid ink "paella" with morels and egg yolk, which I thought could use about 90% less squid ink.

 

Main courses - the very nice (of course) duck pithivier was very nice, of course. A dish of wild sea bream was for me all about the not very large piece of very good fish, cooked just right, I'm guessing taken from a fish that's at least 10 lbs. It was accompanied by all sorts of nice, gently handled vegetables.

 

Make nice with Aurelien if you go.

 

 

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We had a very good meal here just a week into their very long popup. Service lapses were not out of the ordinary for long established places and were handled correctly (meaning by pouring nice champag

Good steak too.   Going for a second carbonara.

Got home late from a show Friday night (Tedeschi Trucks Band with Marcus King and the The Drive By Truckers) and what to eat at 1:30 am was easy: Carbonara with guanciale and duck eggs.

Very doable latish on a Monday. Very very doable.

 

In the context of New York, this really is quite a treat. To my mind, the duck pithivier really is one of the best dishes on offer in the City right now. I see what Orik means about too much squid ink in the dish that had squid ink. But the flatbread they give you is very good, and provides a fine medium for some of that remaining too-much squid ink (assuming, of course, you don't find it too cloying, as well you might).

 

It's almost a pity, in a way. With this, Frenchette, PL At Racine's, Ops, and Ko Bar -- and LCC when I want something fancy, and Le Mercerie when I'm out with a non-food-obsessive -- I don't need any additional restaurants for a while.

 

COMP DISCLOSURE: A redo of my Champs Élysées, because the first time through the bartender mistakenly served it on the rocks. Which leads me to observe that, to the extent you care, the dedicated cocktail menu for this residency sucks (which is why I was trying to teach the bartender how to make a Champs Élysées) (now he knows).

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Its funny how in totto we had similar quite positive reactions, but at a specific dish level very different complaints.

 

I really disliked the cuttlefish/Squid Ink/Frozen foie dish we had. I didn't think the cuttle fish was great quality, the foie disappeared and the ink cloyed

On the plateau I liked the scallops, it was the anise-y slightly sweet mussels that are a war crime. The other things were lovely. Uni prep especially, even though I have no idea what the butter type thing was that they served with it.

Pithivier however was great.

 

Service was so bad we got the cuttlefish and a dessert comped.

 

But I'd go back again no question.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was there last Thursday. The pithivier (beef and foie), arctic char with sorrel, and desserts were the highlights. A couple of other dishes didn't really do it for me. My buddy liked his oyster prep, though I didn't try it. Wine list is surprisingly good and reasonably priced. We drank Lassaigne, Barthod, and BYO'd a bottle of '04 Raveneau Montmains that was screaming. Service was great.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Off to a less than magnificent start at the bar. What do you do when you get your 24 oysters and they're right north of the line when you'd call them spoiled? I hope starting over with the severely pared down food menu won't prove to be an error.

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But in the end, with more ingredient quality issues, and the pithivier being from chicken, it was a pretty sad example of what nyc does to a restaurant. Service was spectacular but mainly because there's someone we know who just started working there.

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