Megu

March 21, 2009 Updated: August 31, 2009

The ice Buddha sculpture underneath the temple bell, bonsho. (Minguo/The Epoch Times)
The ice Buddha sculpture underneath the temple bell, bonsho. (Minguo/The Epoch Times)
Megu stands discretely and with humility on one of the smallest streets off Manhattan's Tribeca, Thomas Street.

Only the banners jutting from the walls at the entrance indicate that Megu is here.
As you walk in you will immediately be transported into a world of rustic and lavish luxury. Staff will escort you into the stunning dining room, where you will hear “Irashaimase,” a customary Japanese welcome.

The mirror room upstairs by the lounge  (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
The mirror room upstairs by the lounge (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
The setting is both grand and impressive in this two-tier space. The feeling is harmonious while the design is truly amazing: White columns made with thousands of interlocking rice bowls and sake vases lining up the upper walls, overlooking the main dining room. The centerpiece, a huge bonsho temple bell that weighs more than 800 pounds is suspended from the ceiling. It sits over an ice Buddha sculpture that is elevated over a pool of water and covered with fresh rose petals. The atmosphere hints of a spiritually purifying experience.

 

Kobe Steak Flambé over a hot rock at your table (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
Kobe Steak Flambé over a hot rock at your table (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
Megu means blessing in Japanese, and this place offers many temptations for the budding gourmand. The menu is boundless. It contains the best of nature's bounties and “Umami”—those elusive but profoundly satisfying flavors concealed within fresh Japanese ingredients. Here one can savor modern Japanese prepared traditional-style.

You can sample food prepared using sumibi aburiyaki, a traditional grilling technique, or food infused with the flavor of bincho-tan, a charcoal known for its purifying properties.

The philosophy at Megu is to filter the best ingredients from around the world. Great care is put into sourcing the highest quality produce and meats, including special farm-raised beef, like Kobe beef, and fresh fish flown in from Japan's best fisheries. At Megu, Japanese chefs work as a team to prepare these fresh culinary delights. This is the only restaurant in New York that uses fresh wasabi root, which is grated tableside onto shark's skin. The chefs say this method produces a much sweeter, less spicy flavor than the wasabi paste served at most restaurants. To make matters even more enticing, the staff at this Japanese restaurant is very professional, knowledgeable, and most are non-Japanese.
The prices are also very tempting. With these ingredients, and the personalized service and attention, Megu beats the prices of most of New York's steak houses, with triple the culture.

The menu has many sections: the cold and hot appetizers, signature dishes, Robata style grill, and delightful entrees. For those with a heavy appetite who like to share there is the seven-course prix fixe “Umami Omakase” with Megu's signature dishes and the “Chef's Omakase” three-course prix fixe menu. There is also a unique wine list, which includes 60 varieties of sake from Japan. And for those who prefer a lighter brew, there is an extensive, eclectic selection of beers from all over the world.

Highly recommend signature dishes on the menu include the original crispy asparagus on skewers, a deliciously fresh dish, with surprisingly tasty asparagus, sweet and crispy fresh. The crispy “Kanzuri” shrimp was very light and deliciously crispy on the outside with a well-cooked shrimp. Of course, the Kobe beef filet served on skewer and prepared “Rikyo” style was superb, tender, and sweet.

Silver Cod on imported asparagus  (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
Silver Cod on imported asparagus (Mingguo/The Epoch Times)
For the main course, the Silver Cod in Hosho Paper is highly recommended. The quality and preparation makes it extraordinary. The silver cod is a finer quality of black cod and has a silver shine, flaky, and smooth. The cod was prepared with white miso and citrus and served with asparagus flown in from Japan. Of course, for the meat you must try a Kobe steak or the Wagyu steak served and cooked over river stone grill. Kobe beef is raised following to strict traditions and is known for its tenderness, flavor, and its marbled, fatty texture. The Wagyu beef is a Kobe-style beef, cross bread with Angus cattle. Both come from the same beef farms in Oregon and Japan. Both styles are fantastic—flambé with Hennessey. The meat is served on a hot rock resting over stone pebbles in a wooden tray. You get to watch the flames as the server pours flaming cognac over it allowing you to cook it the way you like it.

The dessert is also absolutely delightful and not to be missed. The crepe cake with green tea is light, smooth, and not sweet. For a larger group, you may want to sample the platter of goodies, which has everything the dessert lover could wish for, including chocolate truffles, cheese cake, crepe and green tea cake, and mango and green tea sorbets.

The other Megu is an easy-to-access midtown location with the same artistic integrity. The two-tiered setting provides a smaller and more intimate dining area with huge lamp pillars and family crests that cascade top to bottom. The massive crystal chandelier in the dining room provides opulence, coupled with the high ceilings and wall-to-wall windows.
Unlike the downtown location, this Megu is open for lunch and dinner and uses the same authentic Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques. Using authentic, Japanese ingredients, for a very reasonable price—a three-course lunch menu will go for about $25. Starting April 1, Megu will be offering all these fabulous choices, including the silver cod, Megu's original Kobe beef burger, and for sushi lovers, an amazing surprise form called Chef Amakase.

For those who just want to relax and have an intimate drink and a light bite, visit the lounges at both locations. This is a unique and memorable dining experience.
 
Price Range: Small plates $12 to $45. Large plates $16 to $180. Sushi & Sashimi $3 to $80.

All major credit cards accepted

Megu New York Location (downtown), 62 Thomas Street, Between West Broadway and Church Street.
Dinner only Sunday through Wednesday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Reservations: (212) 964-7777

Megu Midtown Location, 845 U.N. Plaza, New York City, 47th Street at 1st Avenue
Dinner: Monday through Wednesday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Lunch: Monday through Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Reservations: (212) 964-7777