Outcome: Majority Verdict.
Ratio decidendi: Hard to go past if you’re hankering for quality Japanese and are restricted to the Wynyard-side of the CBD – even if it does come with the corporate crowd premium.
Salient features: (various) sushi and sashimi, fish katsu ($24.80), karaage soft shell crab ($19.80).
Scope of discovery: above and Agedashi tofu ($9.80), (various) beef mains, sapporo hot pot ($55).
Case note: Given I’m not the biggest fan of sashimi and sushi to begin with, I find most Japanese places around Sydney quite unpalatable given the sub-par freshness of the fish used. Thankfully Masuya isn’t such a place and a good indicator of its authenticity is the fact that you don’t find the typical wasabi packet and soysauce dish setup on your table. As is custom in Japan – the chef has already applied the optimal level of wasabi for the particular sushi between the fish and the rice. The sushi & sashimi platter offers a good mix of … you guessed it – sushi and sashimi and makes a good ‘tasting plate’ option to start you off.
In terms of hot/cooked items, the menu is broad and diverse but the items I’ve found to my liking thus far have been the seasonal fish katsu and the kaarage soft shell crab. The fish katsu has a crunchy breaded outer layer that isn’t oily and doesn’t compromise moist and juicy fish fillets inside. Throw in housemade tartar sauce and you’re laughing.
Soft shell crab is always a winner and Masuya’s isn’t any different. Again, well executed with crunchy batter that isn’t overly oily and well complemented with sweet chilli and wasabi mayonnaise. Combine the above two with mug of Asahi and you’ll find few unhappy customers.
Whilst there isn’t anything bad about the beef mains or the hot pots, I’ve found them to be poor relative value given they’re not all that distinctive in terms of taste and tend to be a bit of a struggle when it comes to feeding many mouths. I’ve also yet to find a really good agedashi tofu in Australia – one that doesn’t taste like it was a cut up and deep fried version of the tofu blocks you get off the shelf at your neighbourhood Asian grocery shop.
Obiter dicta: Located in the corporate heartland of Sydney, there definitely is a price premium that’s built in because of the amex-totting dinner crowd – but as the arnott’s motto goes: “there is no substitute for quality”.