Miyake: I'm Movin On
Miyake is my greatest disappointment; a roller coaster on which I have taken my last ride. After three years - among raving reviews and loyal client base - Miyake has settled on an average sushi experience supported by the fluff of its reputation. An insult to regular customers amid expansion into their new/additional location at 188 State.
Let's start with last week's dinner, a five course Omakase. It began with a tuna tar tare in a heavy mayonnaise with a touch of Dijon. Designed to jump start a palate, it killed it. First course, Lobster sashimi, yay... again. It was accompanied by dashi marinated salmon, harami with tobiko, and yellow tail. The combination is like a rerun of Seinfeld, entertaining but we all know the story.
The next few small plates were well done. The second course was a nicely seared scallop with miso sauce, a wonderful tomato with scallion, and white asparagus. The third course arrived shortly and it was a swordfish toro with black raddish and bonito sauce. Fourth course was a duck breast duo: braised and confit with a side of pickled beets.
Fifth course were three pieces of fresh nigiri made with bigeye tuna, sockeye salmon, and a sardine with Greek yogurt. The first course disappointed me, but the last course was down right irritating. On one hand, here we are served one of the most over-fished species of fish (bigeye tuna); on the other hand - as delightful as it may be - it's average at best. I could easily go to Benkay and order the same thing - that's not why I come to Miyake. We finished the meal with a few items a-la-carte.
Here was my bigger problem: the meal had no substance. When looking from a dollar perspective, we were served 15 pieces in a continuous stream. It felt like eating tapas rather than having a meal, nothing to close it off. Miyake used to serve more elaborate pieces of nigiri, even if I would see that in a smaller number I would have walked away more satisfied. Instead, I was ready to walk over to Boda and wrap up the night.
Perhaps the issue is that Masa-san has taken a backseat and lost touch with customers. There is no doubt Miyake has thus far been successful. Despite all odds, their food seemed to battle the poorly performing kitchen, inadequate staff, awful IKEA seating, and table turning problems; or may be it didn't? What if the success is largely in part of the bring your own bottle policy?
In the end, our table of three spent $180, which is somewhat reasonable. In New York I spend more than that on myself, in Tokyo it varies. I would have spent that at Benkay. It is just a shame that Miyake's omakase has turned to a slightly mundane dinner experience. In many ways I feel disrespected by Masa-san and find it unlikely to eat there again.