To our surprise, we find the ootoro strangely fibrous and chewy. The medium fatty chutoro is much more tender, the melt-in-the-mouth flesh graduating in colour from peachy pink to a deep crimson hue.
Nasu miso $8.80
Deep-fried eggplant with Masuya's original miso paste
Eggplant with miso is a must-order dish on all of our agendas. I never tire of eggplant done in this style, the pulp unfailingly cooked to a creamy softness, heightened by the basting of sweet and salty miso paste. After everyone has scooped out the insides, I perform my usual disappearing trick by eating the remaining eggplant skin - it is too good to be wasted.
Beef tataki $13.80
Subtly grilled rare grain-fed beef sliced sashimi style
served with ponzu-soy citrus dipping sauce
is another dish that is afflicted by a disappointing chewiness. Even the accompanying ponzu-soy dipping sauce can do little to save it, the paper-thin shavings of beef needing more of a gulp to swallow it down.
Misoyaki oyster $18.80
with oven-baked creamy miso sauce
Topping oysters with miso sauce is not how I'd normally appreciate these briny bivalves but I'm keen to go along for the gastronomic ride. Broiled under the grill, these shells perched on mounds of sea salt are tongue-scorching molten lava pits in disguise. David discovers this as soon as the whole oyster is deposited into his mouth, his eyes widening in silent pain.
I find the miso completely overwhelms the oyster, the sticky sweetness of miso dominating the palate.
Wagyu beef miso (230g) $32.80
Marble score no. 6 sirloin with miso paste sauce
Wagyu beef miso is plated in a Western style that looks a little out of place compared to the rest of our dishes. Here, the miso sauce is subdued slightly, and better counterbalanced by the boldness of beef. Despite the marble score of 6, we find the steak a little on the chewy side as well.
Kingfish wing nitsuke $16.80
Cooked with mirin, soy, ginger and served with tofu
Much more of a hit is the kingfish wing nitsuke
, two enormous portions of fish that hold a lot more flesh than you'd expect. The kingfish flakes easily, and the marinade of mirin, soy and ginger is comforting and sweet.
Green tea ice cream $4.50
Full bellies do not stop us from ordering dessert, and after some deliberation and negotiation, we end up ordering four desserts to share amongst us.
Suze only has eyes for the green tea ice cream
, a parfait glass filled with two icy cold scoops, accompanied by a dollop of sweet red bean paste and garnishes of strawberry and orange.
Sweet red bean with rice cakes
is a heartier dessert, a thick soup of sweetened red beans bobbing with five balls of starchy chewy rice cakes.
Tofu and cream cheese cake $6.80
Curiosity had drawn us to the tofu and cream cheese cake
and we're rewarded with a dessert that is light and fluffy with only a hint of a yoghurty tang. The taste of tofu cannot be detected at all - if anything it seems to have given the cheesecake a silkier consistency.
Homemade green tea brulee $6.80
But its the homemade green tea brulee that has everyone leaning forward with anticipation. We crack through the rink of toffee and revel in the smooth and elegant custard that is generous with matcha green tea. Even as the tables empty around us, our spoons end up duelling each other, furtively seeking the final scrapes at the bottom of the ramekin.
Masuya Japanese Seafood Restaurant
Lower level, 12-14 O’Connell Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9235 2717 / 9231 0038
Lunch Monday to Friday 12pm - 2.30pm (last order)
Dinner Monday to Saturday 6pm – 10 pm (last order)