advertise here

GET UP TO 20% OFF DINNER NOW!!!   Please CLICK HERE and submit your email address.

Matsuya in Great Neck, New York


Ranking: 1Read Full Review


  • Food8-9(Outstanding)
  • Pricing6(Not a Cheap Date)
  • Atmosphere8(Classy)
  • Service10(Outstanding)
  • Selection10(More Than Sushi)
  • Value8(Outstanding)

March 2011 Award

"Best Sushi / Japanese Restaurant on Long Island - Period" There are many reasons we named Matsuya the best sushi restaurant on Long Island. One being that it's a restaurant, not a disco. Some of the disco-like sushi spots just didn't have great sushi -- but they did have a very dark room with flashing/strobe lights and loud music. Now, I realize that the typical brain is hardwired to be attracted to colorful flashing lights and sparkly stuff, so, many may disagree that this is not the best joint because it doesn't have those things. It simply has great food. All of Great Neck must agree because every Friday/Saturday night, it's packed out, no tables available and there are parties of 10+. If you want to go deaf and have someone overcharge you for food, this ain't the place.

The Review

So our ventures the other night took us to Matsuya in Great Neck. I'm not going to lie, we drove past the place a few times and from the outside and the tasteful, yet simple decor, you may assume this place is generic, but it is anything but! You know it's the -real- deal when half the tables are taken by Japanese customers. *Too dark to take pictures.

The manager Bernard and Linda were very friendly and accommodating and the small restaurant was full of regulars and loud with conversation. This place was easily louder than restaurants housing 500 people for some reason. Bernard floated from table to table, remembering what patrons had previously ordered and you can tell the customers trust him and the chefs completely when it comes to their meals. This is a smart move and we did the same.

  • Chilled Sake (Dassai 50) First things first. Chilled Sake (Dassai 50). When the ice melts, the server was quick to change it out. It was a house favorite and was ours as well.

    Brewery is Asahi-Shuzo. Alcohol content is 15.5%. Acidity: 1.4 and the English name is Otter Festival.

    Credit to:

  • Oysters Our night started with a dish rarely seen on sushi menus, oysters. Now we've never had these before, I know I know how can that be the case we when we have lived on Long Island, but they were a favorite. Off the boat fresh and served with a ponzu mignonette, these oysters were light, sweet, smooth and went down easily.

    An oyster is an animal that belongs to one of the groups of bivalve mollusks which live in brackish marine habitats and belongs to the species Ostrea, Crassostrea or Saccostrea. Food oysters belong to the family Ostreidae, or "true" oysters. They are harvested from beds simply: by hand, rake or dredge.

    If you get sick from oysters, it is either due to allergy or bacteria, and be warned: either presence can manifest unannounced. Allergies first: along with nuts, allergy to shellfish is the most common food allergy.

    Read more:

  • Sea Urchin Another first for us was our next dish, sea urchin. This fish was literally killed moments before it hit the table and actually served in the fish itself. We were a little hesitant at first due to the color and texture, but surprised at the subtle and sweet taste - mix it with a little soy sauce and wasabi. Michael says it had some grainy undertone as well.

    A sea urchin skeleton (called the "test") is made of hard plates that surround the body and form a rounded shape, like a flattened ball. Sea urchins are covered in spines that both provide defense and help them move.

  • Lobster and scallop sashimi Lobster and scallop sashimi was next; we've never had it raw like this and we wish more places served it this style. It was paired with a spicy, spicy homemade chili sauce whipped up on the spot and the lobster was rich enough to stand on it's own without the oils and butter it's usually cooked in. To describe the sauce, Michael says it reminds him of the Chili's sauce but much lighter on your stomach and has more of a kick. It's served in a gigantic shell - very cool but no, we couldn't hear the ocean. The lobster was meaty, tasty and worth the $$ - skip crab as an option.

  • Shy-shimi Our favorite sushi roll was next, the Shy-shimi: tuna sashimi (no rice on this one) wrapped around spicy tuna with avocado and cucumber and topped with tobiko and accompanied with a little eel sauce and spicy mayo. The spicy tuna was light and not heavy like other places, the roll had a delicate crunch and we devoured it quickly! Michaels still disappointed that we didn't try the other sashimi rolls.

  • Here's a close-up of the Shy-shimi.

  • Mixed Sushi Rolls We ordered plenty of sushi. Here's a shot of the first three rolls plated together.

  • Five Alarm Sushi to the far left above is the Five Alarm (a good spicy tuna roll),

  • O.M.G Roll O.M.G. roll is sweet shrimp tempura with spicy lobster and mayo. We're not fans of tempura or fried food in general so we are biased on this one. Not a fan.

  • Five Alarm Zukuri Bass is a different, clean tasting roll with striped bass a fresh mint. Very light. The Shy-shimi was the best thus far and we would recommend trying the other rolls they offer in this style.

  • Various nigiri We tried various nigiri: Blue Fin Toro, Yellow Tail with jalapeno, Salmon, Hirame, Madai and Kai Waie and both loved the salmon garnished with a small piece of lemon. Michael's favorite was the salmon. Perfectly mixed in lemon juices, just the right amount and melts in your mouth.

  • Eel Nigiri Topped with Foe Gra The best nigiri though was eel, topped with foie gras and black cherries. It nearly melted in our mouth and was the perfect mix of crispy, smooth and sweet. Order two please. Rarely do we try something and have that "OMG" moment but this is officially part of our top 3 all time favorite plates.

    Foie gras (pronounced 'fwa-'gra, French for "fat liver") is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened, typically through gavage (force-feeding) corn.

  • Kobe Beef Tataki and Wagyu Steak Frites We were also treated to two beef dishes: Kobe beef Tataki and Wagyu Steak Frites. Both were so tender and bursting with flavor, it had us understanding why not everyone in the place was ordering sushi.

  • Another shot of a different beef.

  • Siamese Bang This is a new favorite. It has sweet shrimp combined with jalapenos and a spicy mayo tobiko sauce inside. The roll is topped with slices of avocado and all of the flavors blend really well together for the perfect mix of spicy and sweet.

  • Eel and Cucumber with Mango slices Elyse was craving some eel and wanted something beside eel and avocado so we asked them to make a custom roll with eel and cucumber inside and mango on top. They delivered and as you can see this roll had thick mango slices that surprisingly stayed put. We recommend this roll if you like something on the sweeter side.

  • Maya-Shimi We waited patiently to try this unique roll. We've already raved about Matsuya's sashimi styled rolls and this one was grilled artichokes, avocado and scallions inside, with the entire roll wrapped in yellow tail and garnished with a white ailoi sauce. It was a little on the salty side, but delicious. We mixed it with sriracha.

  • Mad Hatter Inside this roll was spicy tuna, tempura flakes and avocado. On top was deliciously seasoned black pepper tuna and tobiko. This roll was perfect as is and required no sauce at all, and we love our sauces.

  • Yacht Diver Best way to describe this roll is - "melts in your mouth". Spicy yellow-tail onion and crunch inside. Scallops and tobiko outside. Drizzled with eel sauce. Very soft, spicy and unique. Very light on your stomach.

  • Double Me. Warm Crunch Eel + Sweet Mango = Perfect Fusion of Flavor Fresh lobster salad and mango chunks on the inside. This is a custom roll that you won't find on the menu. It's like an explosion of taste in your mouth. However, it needed a bit more lobster salad on the inside and some shaping love on the outside. It wasn't perfect but it tasted awesome.

  • Tuna Tartar Dish Spicy and delicious. It was a large portion and can easily be shared. The spicy mayo was very good and added a nice heat. If you like tempura flakes, there were plenty on this dish that added for a nice crunch. If not just ask them to go easy of them or put them on the side so you can add as you like - we may try this next time. 4 stars with less crunchies!

  • Special: Lamb Perfectly cooked and tender, not tough. The sauce is addicting (a bit heavy - so go light when adding) - a mix of mango, yogurt, peanuts, and spice that complimented the flavor of the meat.

  • Bluefin Toro Sashimi Our favorite sashimi dish. Rich. Oily. Buttery. Fish that's healthy and tastes good. This is Blue Fin Tuna cut from the belly region. This fish melts in your mouth. We laugh when others complain that it's "fishy smelling" or "oily" claiming it's not fresh. Those are the characteristics of this type of dish and has nothing to do with how fresh it is (unless it truly stinks!).

  • Maitake Medley in Cognac Sauce Exotic mushrooms sauteed with ginger and garlic in cognac sauce. This dish had a great mix of mushrooms and they were perfectly cooked. Personally, I have a hard time eating mushrooms if they aren't cooked right as they can be chewy. The sauce was delicious, with chunks of garlic and just a touch of sweetness from the ginger.

  • Kani, Mango & Seaweed Salad Shredded Kani, spicy sauce, tempura crunch and mango chunks. This dish is a great appetizer. It was very light and flavorful. The dish had just the right amount of mangos and sauce, while the seaweed added just the slightest crunch. It would be great pick for those just easing into sushi as there is no raw fish.

  • Big Eye Otoro Both of these pieces of sashimi above came from the belly of the Big Eye Tuna. Toro refers to the fatty part of the fish, its belly. Otoro comes from the underside of the fish close to the head and chutoro comes from the belly in the middle and back of the fish. Otoro is a higher grade than chutoro. Taste wise both are delicious, but the otoro is a fattier cut giving it an almost "butter like" quality and it goes down very smooth.

    We still choose Blue Fin over Big Eye -- hands down. * There's Bigeye, Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna.

  • Big Eye Chutoro Doesn't have the "melt in your mouth" quality that otoro has.

  • Send to a Friend:
Home | Florida Sushi | NY Sushi | San Diego Sushi | Contact

Copyright 2010 The Sushi Critic, All Rights Reserved.