Finding it impossible to score that online reservation at David Chang’s 12-seat Momofuku Ko? Despair not: Seek nirvana behind the maplewood counter at Soto (where reservations are, blissfully, available). Why this blond, serene spot run by a bona fide Japanese genius isn’t an impossible booking is one of New York’s great mysteries: maybe people simply aren’t ordering right. An ace with sashimi and sushi, Sotohiro Kosugi deserves his place in the world’s gastro-god pantheon for his jewel-like variations on sea urchin. He fries nutty sea-fresh uni blobs into a lacy tempura; dehydrates uni into a mysterious orange dust that highlights butter-smooth slabs of monkfish-liver mousse; and dollops uni into a trompe-l’oeil urchin shell made of squid filaments and shredded seaweed. Each exquisite morsel is a treat of a lifetime.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Although it seems unlikely to find a magical little restaurant along the drab stretch of Sixth Avenue north of Bleecker, <a href="/bestnewchefs/?year=1997&chef=DC55D059-1F81-47F9-A0098B703665EBF5">Sotohiro Kosugi (an F&W Best New Chef 1997)</a> has created one. Served in an all-white dining room, Kosugi’s menu of always-surprising raw-fish dishes makes ample use of high-flavor ingredients like sea urchin, toro, shiso leaf and sweet miso.
We loved: Sea urchin wrapped in thinly sliced squid and shiso and served with a quail egg and a soy reduction; ginger-marinated geoduck clam salad with spicy radish sprouts.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.