January 19, 2004 | Ask Gael
I want to impress my pals with this year’s news

        My guys’ eyes keep wandering to the muted Japanese animation projected on the wall beyond the sushi bar at Geisha. I’m jealous. But careering spaceships, origami birds, and lush architectural detail transform this gawky duplex into a Japanese-fusion playpen. It’s early, and the kitchen is still green, even with Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert coaching. So far, starters—cockles in fragrant miso consommé, Spanish-mackerel tartare with wasabi tobiko, and one night’s luscious spicy salmon roll—show better than entrées. Hideously sweet port-plum sauce spoils pork tenderloin, and bland lobster suffers from too long in the oven (though its udon-noodle side quickly disappears). Barely cooked salmon and the rack of lamb on silken taro-root purée are better choices. The toll mounts if you toss in a few sushi rolls, fruity fusion cocktails, and specialty sakes. But can you resist a tea of silvered young leaves scented with jasmine and wrapped around a rosebud?

33 East 61st Street, 212 813 1112