Megu
 
 

A Japanese powerhouse returns to NYC at the Dream Hotel

By James Oliver Cury

When the original Megu opened in Tribeca in 2004, it was a giant restaurant with ambition to match—and a sprawling menu that lacked focus. The new Megu, which opened in the Dream Hotel on West Sixteenth Street last year, employs some of the theatrics of the original, but on a smaller, more intimate scale.

The drama starts with a long walk down a flight of infinity-mirrored stairs. There are no windows in this underground lair; the vibe is dark and clubby, but not too loud. You’ll see a small stylish bar, lounge seating, and, in the back, semicircular dinner booths. Red light bathes the rooms. It’s easy to lose track of time.

The menu combines Japanese classics—sushi rolls, miso-glazed cod, dumplings—with custom creations featuring extravagances like truffles, caviar, Wagyu beef, and foie gras. The high-roller treatment doesn’t come cheap: The Diamond Roll, for example, combines tuna tartare, oh-toro, osetra caviar, gold leaf flakes, shaved truffles, and leek sauce—for $42. At $17, the nori salmon-belly tacos are a better bet; you get three remarkably crunchy servings of salmon, ponzu, jicama, and truffle inside a wonderfully crisp nori shell.

Wagyu beef is a major draw at Megu and has been put to use in two formats: a “croquette” ball filled with foie gras mousse, truffle, and breakfast radish, and a far more gratifying (if pricey) Miyazaki A5 rib eye steak ($72). The latter features sliced beef on a hot stone with a smattering of sizzling onions. As soon as the plate hits the table, a second server comes out of nowhere and pours flambéed Cognac (fire!) over the dish, a tableside flourish that’s more for show than taste. The beef has a buttery, fatty flavor and texture (the meat is heavily marbled) and a slight char. Once it’s at the table, diners can decide how long to keep the beef cooking on the stone.
Desserts, too, balance the familiar with the fantastic. Sure you could end with lychee sorbet, but the “Bronut” (no, nothing to do with bros) is the crowd-pleaser, embedding a rich brownie inside the pastry of a baseball-sized donut hole—plus caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Like any clubstaurant in or near the Meatpacking District, the space fills up after 9 p.m., and if you’re arriving fashionably late, you can expect an equally fasionable bouncer, line, and velvet rope.

hours

Sun–Thu 5 PM–midnight; Fri–Sat 5 PM–2 AM

price range

$18 (charred cauliflower) to $72 (Miyazaki A5 rib eye)
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