Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Geisha offers a French inspired Japanese menu created by Executive Chef Michael Vernon in collaboration Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. Despite some wonderful looking sushi the Beef Aficionado was here for the Wagyu.

The restaurant has a tasteful, understated decor

Sesame crusted fried Blue Point oysters with sriracha sauce. The oyster were perfectly cooked and the spicy tangy sauce complemented them nicely. A simple but satisfying dish.

Shrimp tempura roll

Japanese striploin, grade A5 Miyazaki Ranch, Japan. A wonderful cut of beef it was juicy and succulent it brimmed with flavor. If there was one criticism that could be leveled against it is was that the outside could have been far more seared.

The Wagyu is usually served sliced at Geisha, ready for easy consumption with chop sticks. I find that a sliced steak tends to lose juiciness, especially because restaurants don't always let the meat rest as long as they should. To their credit the kitchen accommodated the request to serve the steak whole. To their further credit they serve their Wagyu completely unadorned except for the sea salt that comes on the side, this is in my opinion the way Wagyu should be served, with out embellishment. One problem I did encounter was with the serrated steak knife, it tore the meat rather than slicing it.

The domestic flat iron "Kobe" style steak from Mishima Ranch CA, (3oz/$19) was also good, obviously lacking the intense marbling of its Japanese cousin it never the less had a lovely deep hearty flavor. It did trump the Japanese cut in the char department having a far better crust.

If there was one stand out dish it is the Wagyu fried rice. The rice is cooked on the griddle after the Wagyu is seared and contains lots of tasty morsels of crunchy flavorful beef. It is utterly scrumptious and could easily make a main dish.

Bread pudding with mango sorbet and a berry champaign sauce

Compared to the other Japanese Wagyu that I have sampled in NYC the beef at Geisha, despite being excellent, does not surpass the offerings of Kobe Club or Craftststeak both of whom offer higher grade with more marbling for a proportionally higher price. It comes closer to BLT Primes offering but falls short in terms of searing and marbling. However, a tasteful decor, good service and a creative and well executed menu make Geisha easy to recommend, just not necessarily for the Japanese Wagyu; But the Wagyu fried rice and the the domestic Kobe style steak offer a lot of flavor for a reasonable price.

33 East 61 Street
New York, NY 10021
212 813 1112

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