Today, NYT critic Sam Sifton strips Masa, the sushi palace in the Time Warner Center from Masayoshi Takayama, of its coveted fourth star, awarding it a three spot. It has held the top honor ever since Frank Bruni first reviewed it back in 2004. Sifton visited several times over the last year to prepare for today's review, and although he notes that much of his time was "spent in a fog of pleasure, sitting dumbfounded on the shores of excess," the problem, it seems, is the price as it relates to the experience:
Bruised by recession, wizened by experience, gun-shy about the future, New York City now demands of its four-star restaurants an understanding that culture at its highest must never feel transactional, whatever its cost. We ascend to these heavens for total respite from the world below, for extraordinary service and luxuriant atmosphere as much as for the quality of the food prepared.Now, there are no four star Japanese restaurants in New York City, leaving Per Se, EMP, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, Daniel, and Del Posto with that designation. He does, however, note in his final sentence: "Masa is the city’s greatest sushi restaurant. That is not nothing."
· Masa [NYT]
· All Coverage of Masa [~ENY~]