In the expansive space previously occupied by Italain hot spot ‘inoteca comes a Japanese restaurant pushing boundaries and making a name for itself as a go to destination in Gramercy Park. With Chef Haru Konagaya (formerly of Haru restaurants) at the helm, Natsumi aims to integrate Japanese elegance with the familiarity of Italian flavors.
This comprehensive menu can be a bit overwhelming, but is mostly broken out into three sections: sushi, tapas, and bento boxes, each with a considerable amount of cross over from one genre to the next. Should you have any questions (we had a ton) or need recommendations, Natsumi’s very capable staff is there for you, warmly anticipating the needs of each guest as they arise.
Here’s what we ate:
The addition of shiso leaves, pesto and balsamic droplets and olive garnish gives this raw salmon dish the feel of a caprese salad, which sounds odd but actually works quite well.
Blue Crab Dumpling
While delicious, this steamed fan favorite wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Tuna Caviar Flatbread
I was hesitant about this one, as raw fish and pizza crust have never really appealed to me, but this was a wonderful surprise. Thinly sliced tuna layered with spicy mayo and avocado atop a spicy toasted crepe was a home run.
Garlic Spicy Shrimp
Similar to the blue crab dumplings, these shrimp skewers were delightful and satisfying, but a bit of a standard menu item. Perfect for your less adventurous friends, but with so many intriguing options on this menu, I would recommend avoiding it.
Grilled Filet Mignon
While its sister menu option, the filet mignon tataki with ponzu garlic truffle sauce, initially caught my eye (and I’m sure it would have been an equally successful dish), we opted for the grilled filet mignon in a shitake peppercorn sauce. Hunks of tender beef are slathered in a mushroom truffle glaze, and combined made for a rich and decadent entrée.
Natsumi Tapas, 323 Third Avenue