New York Times Food Critic Demolishes Masa Chef's 'Brutally' Expensive New Restaurant

Kappo masaKappo Masa‘(Chef Masayoshi Takayama) runs the kitchen himself, but I failed to spot him.’

Beloved New York Times food critic Pete Wells does not mince words when he hates a restaurant.

He eviscerated Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant, is not afraid to leave if a restaurant is not accommodating, and now he’s found his next target. 

Kappo Masa, the Upper East Side restaurant co-owned by gallery bigwig Larry Gagosian and master chef Masayoshi Takayama, is in the hot seat this week for what Wells says are outrageous prices for merely subpar fare.

The entire review drips with disdain. “The cost of eating at Kappo Masa is so brutally, illogically, relentlessly high, and so out of proportion to any pleasure you may get, that large numbers start to seem like uninvited and poorly behaved guests at the table,” Wells writes.

Halfway through the review, Wells begins to list some of the sky-high prices on the menu. A $US240 maki roll, $US120 mushroom-fried rice, $US150 Ohmi beef takai, and a $US28 for “bland, watery cauliflower” all drew his attention.

Kappo masaKappo Masa‘Every once in a while, something genuinely remarkable would arrive, as if from another kitchen.’

But it wasn’t just the prices that irked the critic. Even the more rationally priced fare was hit or miss, wrote Wells, who compared eating at Kappo Masa to playing the lottery. 

Wells should not have been completely shocked by his bill. Chef Takayama helms the most expensive restaurant in New Yorkthree Michelin-starred Masa — where dinner for two can cost upwards of $US900 after tax, tip, and drinks. Takayama also charges similar prices at Bar Masa, the à la carte version of his famous restaurant. 

But Wells insists that Kappo Masa does not deserve the same prices as its brethren:

It doesn’t seem possible that Mr. Gagosian and Mr. Takayama just made up these prices out of thin air, diabolically chortling like Batman villains, late one evening at Masa. […] And yet if you are one of those people who suspects that Manhattan is being remade as a private playground for millionaires who either don’t mind spending hundreds of dollars for mediocrity or simply can’t tell the difference, Kappo Masa is not going to convince you that you’re wrong.

And even though Kappo Masa earns itself a “Satisfactory” for having a few good dishes, Wells still gives it zero stars because of its outrageous markups and poor service.

Kappo masaKappo Masa‘The average markup at Kappo Masa is 200 per cent to 300 per cent.’

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