Megu New York | Modern Mix of Perfection and Balance
Located in the basement right below the iconic Dream Downtown, Megu, serves nothing less of amazing; stylishly curated to match the posh setting and its fresh culinary perspective for a modern twist of Japanese cuisine. You can be sure that your palate will be up for a roller coaster ride full of surprises, through the layering of techniques, textures and materiality of different ingredients to achieve the ideal contrast in every bite of every dish.
Despite the relatively small entrance compared to that of the Dream Downtown, upon entering, you are greeted with the infinity-mirrored staircase. It is highlighted with colorful circular lights, like upside down balloons, hung from the ceiling. The mirrors reflect the lights infinitely, instantly lighting up and enlarging the entire entrance. It is as if you are entering a submerged portal that happily welcomes and descends you to a whole new realm full of various settings and infinite possibilities.
Megu is far from being modest, as it displays and portrays itself with the ability to capture everyone’s attention immediately. There isn’t just the use of contrast through the presentation of their food, it is also very apparent with their interior design. The combination of the use of certain materials paired with varied and changing lighting definitely highlights each section, thus amplifying the desirability of each space and enhancing the overall ambience and experience. Entry doors open to a full view of their main bar, but you instantly overlook that as your eyes focus, to the left, on the 3-D mapping and visuals that brings out the more open quality of a lounge, and to the right, stacked antique kimonos placed behind glass casings as part of the walls. Changing colored lights hitting different designs on every kimono create a much more intimate feeling for the seating in front of those walls, for guests who wish to speak and sit more closely to each other on comfortable couches, this might be the spot. All these spaces are woven together with a cherry wood design similar to a shoji screen, acting as a partition to create the right amount of separation and intimacy between neighboring tables and guests.
It’s already an enjoyable experience before you even get to the food. It gets even better if you happen to join their live jazz band and singer on Jazz night! The mellow music fading into the background creates a relaxing atmosphere.
As for the food, designed by the chef Frances Tariga-Weshnak, a native of the Philippines, and former contestant of Top Chef, he created a menu that incorporated traditional flavors of Megu classic dishes while staying true to modern Japanese cuisine through his techniques of preparing and presenting the food.
There are many playful appetizers to begin with. The Tuna Tartare, similar to as if you were eating an ice cream cone, you would bite down on the tuna tartare with masago arare placed atop a mini sesame cone. To finish it off, you take the second bite with an avocado sauce, artfully placed at the bottom, to resemble the melted ice cream you luckily get to enjoy your last bite of ice cream cone with sometimes. The salmon belly of the Nori Salmon Belly Taco mixed with jicama and truffle adhered surprisingly well to the nori shell, so with every bite you take, nothing would fall out, unlike an actual regular taco.
The Edamame Lollipop, like its name, is a ball of edamame served with lollipop sticks over a stand. The crunchy exterior wraps and contrasts the soft edamame interior and the tahini yogurt in the center. The yogurt spills out upon biting into its core, but eventually perfectly blending back with every time you chew this bite. These appetizers completely portrayed the chef’s playful ideas and how he successfully executed them through his interpretation of each ingredient, from the contrast of the crunchiness of the cone and nori shell to the soft texture of the tuna tartare and salmon belly.
When the Prime Skirt Steak arrives at your table, be prepared for an attack of the senses. The personnel pours fire over the steak which is placed beautifully across a bed of stones. You find yourself lost amongst the flames because you get distracted when the striking smell starts to target your nose. When the flames die down, you will lose yourself even more in this dish, soon realizing you can’t stop eating it but it would already be too late! The steak is superbly tender and blazed to perfection.
They also have plenty of sushi and sushi rolls for you to choose from. The Megu Roll and Dream Roll are not to be missed. The slight crunch of the scallions and crispy potato accentuated the texture of the spicy tuna and with the unique combined flavors, the Megu Roll definitely deserved its name and first place on the list. However, this doesn’t make the Dream Roll any less worthy. Surprisingly, the unusual addition of Asian pear didn’t have the crunch you would expect but that was easily compromised with the crunch from the slice of jalapeño placed on top of each piece of this roll. The pear added that extra sweetness, simply balancing the spiciness of the jalapeño.
If you thought it ends here, you are wrong. Two of their desserts should not be left out of any meal if you dine here. A piece of Chocolate Lava Brownie engulfed by a powder-sugared donut paired with an in-house made vanilla ice cream over a sea of oats/cereal. The combination is extraordinary, with a balanced dynamic between the powder of the donut and chocolate lava of the brownie, the warmth of the brownie and the coldness of the ice cream, the softness of the donut and brownie with the crunch of the oats. The other dessert is basically an overload of chocolate; this might just be what chocolate lovers need to complete their meal. If you missed out with the fire with the skirt steak, you still have another chance with this dessert. The chocolate ball, filled with chocolate cake, cream and more chocolate, sits over a plate covered with chocolate powder, gets lit up in front of you. The exterior melts, providing an extra layer to cover every inch of the dessert, You can add a chocolate Hennessy sauce, provided on the side, to make sure there are no spots left uncovered.
If you’re looking for a lounge for several people, or something more intimate between a small group with outstanding food and extensive list of drinks, or a bar to enjoy a drink or two with friends, or simply enjoy an omakase dinner, Megu has and does it all!