Chicken or the Egg? At Neta, Both Are Delicious

By Rowena Tsai, Epoch Times
May 28, 2015 2:30 pm Last Updated: September 8, 2015 7:34 am

Neta serves stellar omakase dinners. That’s a well-known fact. A lesser known fact? The establishment puts on an equally elegant and tasteful lunch menu that, although not nearly as fancy as a chef’s curated eight-plus course meal, tastes just as good, in a more inviting and comforting way.

Neta’s lunch menu includes traditional Japanese teishoku, or meal sets, which consist of a main dish served with rice, housemade pickles, and chawanmushi.

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Oyako donburi, chicken over rice, meal set at Neta. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Of the main dishes, Neta’s executive chef Sungchul “Sung” Shim (Per Se, Bouley, and Gordon Ramsay alum) prepared for us oyako donburi—chicken over rice. But not your typical chicken over rice. The bed of rice is covered with boiled organic SASSO chicken, scallion, onions, garlic, and egg, and crowned with a layer of bonito flakes ($19). (SASSO is a France-based poultry company that raises pastured slow-growing chickens.)

It’s a wildly comforting combination with a hint of sweetness from the onions.

And then there’s chawanmushi, the velvety smooth Japanese steamed egg custard.

This delicate Japanese custard, topped with yuzu marmalade plum sauce and a shiso leaf, is presented in a clay pot. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
This delicate Japanese custard, topped with yuzu marmalade plum sauce and a shiso leaf, is presented in a clay pot. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

We joined Shim in the restaurant’s open kitchen for a step-by-step demonstration of how to make the delicate savory egg custard.

See below for the recipe and play-by-play photos. For the Japanese ingredients, Shim recommends Sunrise Mart in the East Village.

Of course, sushi and sashimi teishoku sets are available as well, and a $35 prixe fixe lunch.

Neta
61 W. Eighth St. (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)
212-505-2610
NetaNYC.com

Hours
Lunch: daily noon–2 p.m.
Dinner: daily 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Chawanmushi

Chawanmushi or steamed egg custard. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Chawanmushi or steamed egg custard. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Makes 8 servings

3 whole eggs
2 cups kombu dashi (Japanese-style stock)
3 tablespoons usukuchi soy sauce
3–4 pieces (5 grams) rice cakes (kirimochi), diced
1 tablespoon mitsuba (fresh Japanese wild parsley)
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon yuzu plum sauce (3 tablespoons Japanese plum paste, umeboshi, mixed with 4 tablespoons yuzu marmalade)

Chawanmushi ingredients. First row (L-R): Japanese plum paste, yuzu marmalade, Japanese-style stock, premixed egg mixture (eggs, Japanese-style stock, soy sauce, and salt). Bottom row: salt,  Japanese wild parsley, diced rice cakes, soy sauce, egg. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Chawanmushi ingredients. First row (L-R): Japanese plum paste, yuzu marmalade, Japanese-style stock, premixed egg mixture (eggs, Japanese-style stock, soy sauce, and salt). Bottom row: salt, Japanese wild parsley, diced rice cakes, soy sauce, egg. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Combine eggs, kombu dashi, soy sauce, and salt. Pour the egg mixture into ramekins and distribute the diced rice cakes and wild parsley. Cover with aluminum foil and place the covered cups into a steamer. Steam at high heat for 6 minutes. Once cooked, top each chawanmushi ramekin with a dollop of yuzu plum sauce.

(Recipe from executive chef Sungchul Shim, executive chef, Neta)