In Santa Barbara, one of my favorite sushi places is Edomasa. The sushi is not quite as cheap as getting it half-priced at Kyoto nor quite as delectable as that at Arigato, and the restaurant is totally lacking in the ambiance-department. The 'masa nevertheless serves up some pretty mean sushi rolls (the Santa Barbara roll is my personal favorite) and the simple tuna nigiri never fails to satisfy.
I was recently reading, though, about a whole other type of sushi experience at a different Masa, in New York. There the cost of a prix-fixe meal is $350. Per person. Plus tax. Plus tip. Plus alcohol. $350!
Now, to say that the reviews of this place are superlative would be an understatement: The NYT's food critic, Frank Bruni, described eating there as "Discrete moments of pure elation." It's garnered incredibly rare 4-star ratings and other highest honors.
But still: $350? Could it be worth it? I asked a few of my fellow sushi-lovers and responses were mixed. Sara responded that nothing could be worth $350, while Samara (whose rhapsodic description of her first encounter with sushi is truly inspirational) argued that if she won the lottery she'd do it and it would be money well spent. It was the lottery-test that I was thinking of too. Obviously none of us are going to be going there on our grad student budgets. (However, Anthony Bourdain claims that's no excuse: "Even if you make $300 dollars a week as a rookie prep cook, I urge you to go," Bourdain wrote. "Go! (Forget) Con Ed. Let 'em shut off the cable. Who cares if Junior needs bail money? The landlord can wait. Go. Now.") But, if I won the lottery? Well, I probably agree with Sara, that the price is absurd and it ultimately wouldn't be "worth it"-- yet, I think I'd want to try it nevertheless, just to satisfy my curiosity.
Of course, none of the three of us play the lottery. (Though we have been known to waste more than a few quarters on the progressive-slots in Vegas, for which the odds are just as stupidly against us. Speaking of which, when's the next trip to Vegas, baby?). So, regular-old SB Edomasa will have to do. But given the yumminess of the Santa Barbara rolls, maybe that's no so bad . . .
Link: Sushi steals critic's stars