This sommelier was back in New York hosting some incredible events, and whenever I am in town, I try to do a review or two at an incredible restaurant because NYC is home to some of the very best! I had the extreme pleasure of dining at Momoya Soho, where I was greeted with a custom menu that would wow any culinary enthusiast!

The atmosphere is clean and sophisticated, with the finest touches, including elegant furniture, thoughtful glassware, and enticing pops of color. The wonderful team of chefs behind the bar adds to the charm. I met Beverage Director Leo Lê, a wealth of knowledge and an avid ambassador of fine Champagne and Sake. His impressive list of French wines (not just Champagne) will excite any French wine lover, while his amazing sake selection will entice sake enthusiasts. There were nine food courses and a grand finale digestif, making it a sensational evening.

We began with Kumamoto Oysters with Ponzu and Spicy Grated Daikon, paired with Gosset Grand Réserve Champagne Brut and Ohmine “Winter’s Arrival” Unclassified Nama Nigori Sake. Both pairings were incredible. The Champagne, a classic choice, enhanced the salinity and minerality of the oysters, while the sake brought out playful notes, complementing the spicy daikon and ponzu. Leo was kind enough to join us for this incredible dinner, allowing us to learn about his background and inspirations. His extensive experience in the hospitality industry and dedication to curating a thoughtful list for his clientele make him an exceptional figure.

Our second course, Kiwami Zensai with Ayu Nanbanzuke, Fried Turban, Roasted Duck & Shrimp Skewer, Hirame Chimaki, and Ramp Ohitashi, was delightful. Leo paired this dish with Masumi “Arabashiri” Nama Junmai Ginjo Genshu, which was ideal. The dish, with its savory duck and shrimp, crunchy fish component, and artful presentation, was incredible. The flavors paired perfectly with the Ginjo Genshu, making each component more lively and tasty.

Our third course was the comforting and savory Sesame Tofu Agedashi. This dish was paired with two incredible sakes: Tedorigawa “Iki Na Onna” Daiginjo and Tedorigawa “U” Yamahai Junmai. The Daiginjo, known as “Lady Luck,” offered notes of wild honey, cardamom, and stewed apples, which complemented the dish beautifully. The Junmai, with its silky and tangy profile and hints of grapefruit and pear, matched the broth perfectly, showcasing the creativity of the brewing style and the brewery itself.

The next course was interactive and required a small wooden mallet to crack open. The Awabi Shiogama Yaki, a Salt Roasted Abalone & Uni with an Abalone Liver-Butter Sauce, was a warm, delicious dish paired with Chikurin “Otoro” Junmai Ginjo Genshu. Although typically paired with colder dishes, this sake was sensational with this course. Known as the “Farmers Brewery,” the lively and delicious sake added to the fun of cracking open the dish.

Course five was a Nigiri course with Omakase-style offerings, including Kinmedai, Nodoguro, Kasugodai, Uni, and Chutoro. Paired alongside were Aruga “Branca Pipa” Yamanashi Koshu and Isojiman Honjozo. I was surprised to learn about Japanese wine, and Leo assured me that he carefully selects the wines for the list. This wine was fun and funky, perfectly paired with the array of fish, each complementing an aspect of the wine. The Honjozo, full of cherry, peach, grapefruit, and green bamboo, was smooth and alluring, ideal for this course.

Knowing we had more courses coming, Leo brought in an Akadashi Miso Soup to aid digestion and prepare our palates for meat, cheese, and dessert. This red miso soup was incredible and has convinced me to try more red miso. The next course, A5 Miyazaki Wagyu with Brussels Sprouts, Fingerling Potatoes, Shiitake, and Mizuna, was a dream. Paired with Tengumai Yamahai Junmai and Mukai “Ine Mankai” Junmai Genshu, both sakes complemented the wagyu perfectly. The Tengumai, meaning “goblins dance,” had harmonious amber brew with mushroom notes and earthy tones, while the Genshu, made with ancient red rice, offered sweet and tart cherry flavors, vanilla, and pomegranate notes.

Leo then brought out some serious glassware, and now I only want to drink my sake out of big Burgundy glasses! A cheese course followed, featuring Brie Fermier (Ile-de-France), a 12-Month Aged Ossau-Iraty (Basque), an 18-Month Aged Comte (Jura), and a Bleu d’Auvergne. Paired with these French cheeses were 2022 Kuheiji “Eau du Désir” Junmai Daiginjo, 2021 Iwa 5 Assemblage 3 Junmai Daiginjo Genshu, and Kenbishi Mizuho Yamahai Junmai. These sakes went beautifully with the cheeses, making this course a standout. Despite being full, the cheeses were a perfect way to enjoy a multi-course dinner before moving on to sweeter desserts.

The grand finale of desserts was outstanding, featuring Jasmine Tea Brûlée and Mille-Feuille Aux Banana. Leo paired these with an incredible dessert wine, Arnaud de Villeneuve, Rivesaltes Ambré 1988, and an aged sake, Hanahato 8-Year Aged Kijoshu. The dessert wine, with its fresh cooked fruit notes, complemented the tannins in the Jasmine tea brûlée, while the aged sake, with aromas of honey and nuts, paired beautifully with the desserts.

For our digestif, we enjoyed Heiwa “Tsuru-Ume Kanjuku” Nigori Umeshu, a bold and beautiful plum sake, along with Houjicha, a Japanese Green Tea. The plum sake, with its plum, honey, and candied notes, was a perfect sweet ending to an incredible meal.

Overall, this was an extraordinary experience, and I can’t thank the team at Momoya enough. Thank you to Kwangho, the President of Momoya, Subhash Gurung, the Executive Sushi Chef, Tetsuya Okuda, the Executive Kitchen Chef, Allen Cheung, the Executive Pastry Chef, and of course, the incredible Leo Lê, Beverage Director. If you’re looking for a dining experience that will delight, excite, and amaze, you must visit Momoya. Whether you opt for the full ten courses or not, they will exceed your expectations and provide a truly special experience!

Make sure to checkout the full reel for this incredible dining destination on my Instagram HERE!