Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nëo No Go

I actually like the food at Nëo, sort of. But this is not an "I come to bury Cesar, not to praise him moment: I am actually here to try to bury Nëo. Because, despite the fact that its a pretty space, and the fish, on average, is of high quality, slow service and eye popping prices make this place not worth it.
My last trip to Nëo started when the lovely wife and I left a party a bit before 9 PM and wanted a quick bite to eat before returning home. Since we were near 83rd and Broadway, the Lovely Wife suggested we go to Nëo. She figured that we could have a quick bite at the sushi bar, and still have plenty of time to get home and relieve the babysitter. It had been a while since we had eaten there, so I agreed to take a look. The place wasn't that crowded, and we sat down.

As opposed to many other sushi restaurants on the Upper West Side, sitting down at Nëo is a pleasure. The sushi bar is quite comfortable and so are the tables. We were approached by our waiter quickly, and we ordered: some drinks and three sushi or sashimi based dishes. Our drinks came, and we waited.

And waited. After about 25 minutes, we realized it was starting to get late and we still hadn't seen a dish. We called over the waiter, and told him of our babysitting plight. Then we told him again. Finally, the first dish arrived, their "signature" hamachi serrano chili. Consisting of pieces of Japanese amberjack (the English translation of Hamachi), topped with a thin slice of spicy serrano chili and literally swimming in a large amount of a somewhat sweet sauce, the dish is not bad, although it seems like a pale comparison to a similar dish at Nobu Next Door.

Then we waited. We kept asking the waiter how we were doing. He assured us that our dishes was being made: eventually he was telling us the truth. Finally, our dishes came: an assortment of sushi picked by the lovely wife and Chirashi for me. Nëo has gotten better on their "we hate soy sauce" routine in recent years and now asks you if you want it as opposed to making you think of it and ask.

The sushi: good. Can't say it wasn't. The overall experience? I still felt as if the restaurant thought they were doing me a favor to let me pay a lot to eat their food. Even though its close, its just not worth it. Next time, I'm walking over to Matsu: its worth a smaller chair for better service and just as excellent fish.

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