New York City: Matsugen

Obsessed. Lately I am obsessed with a strange dish called bakudan (which apparently translates as “the bomb”) on the menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matsugen, and it’s made me fall in love with the starkly elegant restaurant. A wooden bowl arrives, and you look down into glistening crimson heaps of salmon roe, soft pink tuna tartare, bright orange uni, little lavender tentacles of squid, and a pile of natto (fermented soy beans). A lightly poached quail egg perches on top. You mix in some soy sauce, stir it into a glorious goop, and roll it up in crisp, dark sheets of nori. The result is sweet, salty, silky, and crunchy, all at the same time, with flavors that mutate and morph as you chew. A little cold soba at the end, and you have a perfect meal.

Matsugen 241 Church St., New York City (212-925-0202;



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