Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep-fried. Even though it is one of many popular Japanese dishes, it is very hard to find a Japanese restaurant that serves exceptional Tempura. I believe it is because Tempura requires skills to prepare – not just an ability to use a deep fryer! Matsui opened its door in the summer of 2015, and it is the first authentic Tempura restaurant in New York. Recently they started a lunch service on weekdays, and I was excited to try their lunch specials with two of my Japanese friends. Matsui has become one of the most popular and high-profile restaurants in NYC and recently entered the Michelin star club.
The interior of the restaurant is perfectly designed and seemed as if we were in a high-end restaurant in Tokyo. The lunch course included a bowl of noodles, a chawanmushi, and tenju (Tempura over rice) and dessert. The tenju is a dish with an assortment of seafood and vegetable tempura on a bed of rice. I could really taste the freshness of the ingredients, and I particularly liked the shrimp Tempura – crispy outer coating with a juicy, flavorful taste inside. The other courses were memorable, too. The starters were a cup of chawanmushi and a cold buckwheat noodle cup with a hint of yuzu, tempura flakes, grated radish, scallion, and dried bonito on top. The dessert was small plate of Tempura Ice cream and soy milk pudding.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to eat authentic tempura!
Price: Lunch $40; Dinner, three different levels of omakase $140-$230
Neighborhood: Murray Hill
Dress code: Business casual
Dinning alone: Yes, counter in front of chefs and separated bar area