Tempura Matsui *

September 5th, 2017
New York City, USA
1 star Michelin Guide

No. 18 at OAD

counter set up at Tempura Matsui


The history of Tempura dates back to the mid-16th Century. Tempura became popular during the Edo period. Tempura restaurants using quality oil and ingredients were frequented by upper class in 19th Century. And today Tempura is available at many levels from casual to fine dining.

Tempura Matsui opened its doors in 2015 bringing tempura legend Masao Matsui out of retirement and quickly achieved their first Michelin Star in 2016 as being one of the best if not ‘the best’ tempura temple in the USA.

Chef placing the first tempura pieces in front of the guests. Tempura Matsui is now run by his disciples after Chef Masao Matsui passed away in 2016

The “Tokusen” meal ($220 per person) starts with Chef’s selection of different bites featuring toro, duck, shrimp, caviar and eel. The presentation is impecable as well as the flavors. Foie Gras Chawanmushi (egg custard) is brough up next with very subtle flavors. The silky texture simple melts in your mouth.

Sakizuke and Sashimi to traditionally start the meal
Foie Gras Chawanmushi

With less than a dozen seats in the counter and only three small tables, Tempura Matsui is a very personalized experience. We can see and hear every single piece going deep into the very light tempura batter which is handled with perfection. Each piece is placed in front of you and a recommendation is given on how best to enjoy it either with the rock, salt, miso salt, lemon, or the tempura dipping sauce.

Tempura mise en place with miso salt, rock salt, lemon, tempura dipping sauce.

The Matsui Way

Mr. Matsui worked tirelessly to perfect the batter, which is as thin as possible, to just coat the ingredient, and not weigh people down. You can actually see through the batter which is one of the lightest I have tried adding an extra layer of depth to each bite of perfect ingredients.

Shrimp head
Kuruma Shrimp
Sea Urchin from Hokkaido
King Crab
Shishito Pepper
Abalone from Hokkaido
Japanese Whiting
Lotus Root
Scallops, probably the best bite of the night.
Tomato and roe to refresh the palate
Tempura Donburi (aka Tendon) – rice bowl topped with lobster tempura served with a miso and tofu soup
Delicious dessert of green tea Kakigori

Have you been to Tempura Matsui? or Which are your favorite tempura places in the USA?

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Memories of a gourmand

Committed to bring people together at the table through food and drinks. I love to travel the world to find the most amazing experiences.

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