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You don't have too much of a say about what you eat when you go to Masa, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star sushi restaurant in New York's Columbus Circle, but you're in the capable hands of masterful chef Masa Takayama, who has worked at legendary sushi spots in Tokyo and Los Angeles. The 26-course pre-set menu changes seasonally, but we've rounded up a list of the five best things you can expect to see at this New York restaurant:
1. It's no surprise that seafood steals the show at Masa. The sushi courses feature 15 to 20 types of exotic seafood flown in daily from Japan and from around the world. The menu costs $450 to $600 per person, depending on the season — a price that points to the sheer number of quality ingredients. Your meal will include lots of toro and caviar, as well as eel, sea urchin, octopus, scallops, squid, clams and fluke. You'll want to sit at the sushi bar to watch the masterful chefs at work — sometimes you eat right out of the chef's hand!
2. Skip the wine and cocktails and sip sake, the restaurant's specialty. The list changes seasonally, but at least six kinds of sake and a private label made just for Masa round out the menu. You can try a mixture of rich, smooth and fragrant or dry, fruity and sharp — ask the dining room staff for help if you want to make pairings. We love the nigori sake, a milky-white, unfiltered rice wine with a fruity, sweet flavor.
3. Once you've had the New York restaurant's rice, any other rice will seem tepid in comparison. Served lukewarm, the sticky rice balls are covered in white truffles — you can taste each individual grain, and the slight contrast in temperature with the cold fish gives the rice a creamy, rich texture.
4. Prepare yourself for hot pots, a combination of meat or veggies cooked in a hot broth placed on the table in a pot. You eat the hearty ingredients, then soak up the broth with bread. We were served a delicious chopped pike eel in a rich sauce that we sopped up to the last bite.
5. Don't worry about getting too full after 26 courses — the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant serves digestive-aiding tea and we found the dessert incredibly refreshing. We were served imported Japanese green tea and soba cha, a strong buckwheat tea that helps settle your stomach after a rich, starch-filled meal. The signature grapefruit granite dessert cleanses your palate after all the fish and puts a perfect bow on a fantastic meal.