In a post titled "Lost in Translation" on Jean-Georges Vongerichten 's blog, the chef takes a moment to explain why Platt was dead wrong in his one star slam, published this past Monday. First of all, JGV did spot the giant Plattster on each of his five visits and assumed he was enjoying the food (and probs sent out a few freebies). The tone of the chef's rebuttal is even and polite, as if he's trying to calmly explain that the design is supposed to be minimal, the uni is indeed fresh, and that Platt best not compare his shabu shabu to something in K-Town:
"It seems he may have misunderstood the concept behind Matsugen—it’s commitment to pure, authentic Japanese cooking. Even in warming up the 66 space, we adhered to minimalist Japanese restaurant design concepts. Because Matsugen is not like any other restaurant in New York City, it can’t be compared to other restaurants, including those in Koreatown. (I love Korean food and the hotpot dishes in Koreatown, but it’s a whole other cuisine.) It can’t even be categorized with other Japanese restaurants in the city. There are no jalapenos, no California rolls.
In this style of Japanese cooking, which the Matsushita brothers execute exceptionally well, the ingredients shine with clean flavors that come from expert preparations. Our wagyu beef is carefully sliced for cooking in simmering water, shabu shabu-style, at the table so that our diners can enjoy the meat just after it’s cooked. The housemade ponzu dipping sauce brings out the meat’s subtle richness. (It’s definitely not 'steak' and shouldn’t be thought of as such.) As with the wagyu, we source (and pay a hefty price for) the very best ingredients, including the sea urchin we get daily from Japan, which has a more complex, funkier flavor than the California sea urchin most other Japanese restaurants serve.You didn't think the JGV would take this lying down, did you Platt? Your turn to get on the blog for a counter argument.
Matsugen’s dishes are not spicy, not aggressively seasoned, and they’re not meant to be. Everything on the menu builds upon the very best of what the Matsushita brothers have served in Japan. I was taken by their cooking when I first ate at their Tokyo restaurant years ago and I still am today here in New York. I trust that other diners will be too."
· Lost in Translation [JGV]
· Week in Reviews: Platt's Matsugen Take-Down [~E~]