Sushi restaurants in New York City are not hard to find. Ones that provide high quality food, but won’t completely obliterate your budget, are more elusive. Indeed, the city seems to specialize in sky-high quality sushi with a price point to match–Sushi Yasuda, Sushi Nakazawa and Gari of Columbus all being great examples. These high-end restaurants are often exclusively omakase, serving meals that consist of dishes personally selected by the chef. While great for very special occasions, they tend to be a little out of reach for a non-celebratory meal. That’s why I was so happy to find Neta.
Neta (the name translates to ‘the fresh ingredients of sushi’) is a delicious Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village, at the corner of Avenue of the Americas and Greenwich Ave. It offers both an à la carte menu and an omakase option, for the more taste bud-curious customers. The decor is plain and sparse, featuring lots of stainless steel and grey walls–minimalist, to say the least. But the food more than makes up for it: executive chef Sungchul Shim, hailing from Korea and with a degree from The Culinary Institute of America, crafts exciting and innovative dishes that are sure to make your mouth water.
Most of the fish in the restaurant comes from “local” waters, around the coastal U.S. The range of dishes and ingredients is neither wide nor extravagant, and you won’t find any unbeforeseen concoctions. But the staff is knowledgeable, the chef’s selections are on point, and the cuts of fish are spectacular. It has garnered a wide following since its opening in 2012, and has gotten positive reviews from a variety of reputable sources, including Zagat and the New York Times Restaurant Review.
Despite the relatively narrow range of options, it can be difficult to make a choice due to the consistently high quality of the the restaurant’s dishes. Neta’s grilled mushrooms appetizer is an absolute must. The bluefin toro roll, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, is also not to be missed. The selection of vegetable rolls is a delicious and affordable option. But again, the menu is far from extensive, and no matter what you order you’re sure to be delighted. And of course, if you’re looking to treat yourself, the omakase tasting menu (ranging from $105 to $225) cannot be overlooked.
Overall, Neta is a no-frills, minimalist sushi restaurant of excellent quality. It does have a few drawbacks: the service can be slow, and depending on your appetite, the portions can seem a little small. But compared to many high-end New York Japanese restaurants, it offers a great value for your money and a rather authentic sushi-eating experience. Be sure to try their house-made ice cream–the peanut butter is spectacular–to end your meal on a sweet note.