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Dec 26, 2008 08:06 PM

Matsuhisa's Omakase[pics] So-so and WAY Overpriced!


I previously had a good experience at Matsuhisa when I ordered their upper-priced omakase, but alas, our experience this time around felt like such a ripoff and none of us has been back since then.

I ordered a la carte this time around and started with the crab taco.
This was good as the crab was fresh and meaty, and the crunchiness of the taco shell made a great combination.

I also got the eggplant dynamite as it seemed interesting.
Interesting and pretty enjoyable, though nothing special.

I also got the mushroom buckwheat risotto (since I wasn't full
)Risotta is al dente and mushroom tasted good, but to eat by yourself this dish gets boring.

But enough about my meal, let's move on to my friend's disappointing omakase meal.
She had chosen the least expensive omakase, which I believe was about $70.

They started off the omakase with some hamachi tartar
Kat enjoyed this and the hamachi was pretty fresh - so far the meal is starting off decent.

Second item was salmon carpaccio.
Again, fresh salmon. My friend was complaining a bit that salmon is pretty cheap, though.

Then they served the hamachi salad. Wait. Hamachi, again?
Okay, so the hamachi sashimi was actually good, but two hamachi dishes in an omakase? It seems to be pretty poorly planned - or they just didn't really care at all.

Next she got the oyster fried in filo dough.
Although my friend did enjoy this, the dish was only $5 on the regular menu, so getting this as part of a $70 meal is kind of ... a ripoff :(

The other cooked item was the miso cod.
The cod was good and well prepared, but this dish can be easily found at many japanese restaurants.

I didn't even bother to take a photo of her sushi plate, as it was quite disappointing. She basically got the most ordinary, cheapest selections such as salmon (yes, more salmon), ebi (no, not ama ebi), unagi ...
$70 would have gone a loooot further at Sushi Zo. And he definitely wouldn't keep repeating hamachi and salmons throughout the meal!

The dessert they had for this "cheapest" omakase is pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. My friend got fried bananas with vanilla ice cream.

I won't argue that the food at Matsuhisa is of good quality, but the omakase she got that day was such a ripoff and disappointment. We really don't think all the items she got are really worth (or even actually added up to) $70, and the repeated fish just suggested that they put very little thought into planning the omakase!

Neither of us has been back ever since, and probably never will.

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  1. gotta admit that what you describe is indeed slightly worse than the omakase i had there several years ago.
    it was awful, but not quite as awful as your experience.
    we never went back.

    1. Matsuhisa is a fickle bird... For a decent or above decent food experience there, prepare to pay over $150 per person. Anything less, you get treated like a newbie (this includes their low-end omakase).

      Having dined at Matsuhisa 40+ times (38 times on the corporate account and twice on my own dime), I suggest the following for a better dining experience:

      1. NOT going on a weekend (I'm not saying whether you did or did not burumum; it's just advice).
      2. Book a seat in their private room - the food is much better in there, IMHO.
      3. If you go, NEVER get their low-end omakase. Their high-end omakase is still one of the best (fusion) meals in town.
      4. Do NOT sit outside (it's like food exile in Siberia out there).
      5. If you want sake, drink their pineapple infused sake (or other fruit infusions), not their house sake.
      6. Insist on the bento box chocolate cake for at least part of your dessert.

      2 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        Yeah although that's a good point abt lower vs upper end omakase, it's still disappointing ...
        In comparison, I've had the 5 course, 8 course, and chef's tasting menus at Providence and they were all prepared equally amazing. Isn't that the way it should be?

        Even the people who spend less than $100 are customers too, but it's as if matsuhisa hold them in contempt.

        1. re: J.L.

          when i went it was on a corporate expense account, we spent money like drunken sailors, we sat inside (although not in their private room), and still the meal was awful.

          clearly your experience trumps mine, but still, for the extraordinary amount of money we paid we should have received decent food. For that amount of money, one should not have to 'game' the restaurant to get a decent meal.

        2. i recently had a so so experience at matsuhisa as well. got the most expensive omakase option - something like 160 per person. definitely was not mind blowing in the least. good, but nothing special. luckily it wasn't on my tab.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lakeshow318

            I find the concept of a restaurant treating new customers as "newbies" to be baffling, in addition to revealing an utter lack of business and common sense on the part of the owners/chef.

            Just an observation....thanks for the heads-up on yet another precious dining experience to avoid at all costs.


            1. re: CucumberBoy

              Indeed. Treating new customers as less than customers says a few things: We already make enough money, we don't want to earn your money, but if you want to give it to us..., and don't come back.