BY Lisa Lindblad
April 7, 2013
It is hard, when you live in the city, to think slow, to think small, to think consciously. And yet it is as compelling a need as feeding oneself; in fact, it is feeding oneself. And many of us starve.
I look for people who have recognized this need and acted on it. I am compiling a list and, if I do not know them personally, I try to read their writings, look at their photographs, eat at their tables, feast on their aesthetic creations.
Devin and Marybeth Mills have married their culinary professionalism (they come out of NYC’s finest restaurants including Le Bernadin, Picholine, Gramercy Tavern) with a heightened appreciation for essential elements that go into creating good food in a lovely setting. They moved to the Catskills, restored a country farmhouse, and bought locally, supporting the area’s growers by changing their menu daily to take advantage of their freshest ingredients.
They bring beauty and well-being, consciousness and an uncomplicated sensory experience to the diner. And, no doubt, they live in a kind of balance that others yearn for.
It amazes me that, loving sushi as I do, I continually find delicious Japanese restaurants that I have never heard of! Last night I had an indulgent dinner with my son and daughter-in-law, served at Neta's sushi bar by Jay, a gentle Tibetan sushi chef with his own private stash of special fish.
The menu is large and unusual - uni porridge is just one such dish - but we, having just spent two weeks in Italy gorging on pasta, cured meats and cheese, were longing for nigiri. Here were some of the outstanding bites: Spot prawn, Mediterranean sea bream, sweet shrimp, delicious yellowtail and, of course, uni, from the West Coast, Chile or Japan. Not only were the pieces prepared in those desirous small bites, but some were topped with finely grated lime rind, shiso leaf or crispy nori. Delicious.
To be noted, the executive chef of Neta is Korean, Chef Sungchul Shim. Chef Shim brings a unique combination of Western and Eastern culinary craft and philosophy to Neta, honed from years of formal study and practical training in fine dining in Asia and the United States.He began his career as a chef in the U.S. with an externship at the three Michelin star Le Bernardin and then continued to expand his knowledge working in many of New York’s finest kitchens, including Aureole, and Bouley among others. In less than three years, Chef Shim’s impressive skills and creativity secured him a position in the kitchen of the three Michelin star Per Se.