Masa NYC was once the quintessential embodiment of minimalistic opulence and exquisite cuisine betwixt a contemplative, ethereal dining experience. Dissolving behind the private entrance that cocoons patrons from the hustle and bustle of Time Warner Center is an experience in and of itself. In fact, prior to February 2016, world-renowned sushi chef Masa Takayama maintained an infallible ranking as the face behind one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, offering the perfect gasconade for gastronomes in search of an elegant prix fixe repast.
The entire experience was excellent! The Sebring, Toro, smoked Mackerel and Kobe with white truffles were outstanding and the service was impeccable.R. Meo (Verified Guest)
Then, in a bold move that stunned the restaurant industry, Masa’s director of human resources, Christine Panas, announced that tipping would be eliminated as of 01 March 2016 in an effort to provide consistency in wages for employees. The change in course reflected a growing trend adopted by upscale Manhattan restaurants aiming to compensate chefs, servers and ancillary staff members with steady earnings, despite fluctuations in tourism and minimum wage adjustments.
The market price for an authentic Japanese omakase (chef selected course) dining affair at Masa nose-dived by approximately fifty percent. Foodies flocked towards the luxurious experience while gleefully dishing out $600 pour une sole bon viveur. For years, the business model endured as Masa upheld a Japanese tradition that colors the art of tipping with a déclassé brushstroke. From an aesthetic viewpoint, the burgeoning relationship proved advantageous for those who endeavored to reserve a table at the MICHELIN-Starred establishment. However, in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), New York Governor Adam Cuomo issued a tri-state restaurant and bar shutdown on 16 March 2020.
On 29 June 2020 chef Takayama encouraged patrons to “Celebrate America… with Sushi,” while unveiling a new dish in the midst of a global pandemic.
The Masa Temaki Box is $800 and can be enjoyed straight out of the box or by making your own temaki (hand rolls). Each kit comes with sushi rice, nori, side vegetables, ginger (gari), wasabi and chopsticks. All you need to add is something to drink and the setting. But if you need some wine or sake, we can help you out with that too.Source: Jeannette Park, Masa NYC
As the message exudes undertones of eagerness, an endeavor to present a supremely exquisite customer experience remains. Chef Masa and his staff were the embodiment of MICHELIN-Starred dining during a period when the concept of social distancing was optional. Today, the mighty have not fallen; rather, transitioned to curbside pickup and delivery.
0100 EDT – Author: O.W. Showe, Feature Photo Credit: Masa NYC