Daisuke Nakazawa, the protégé of Jiro Ono (the subject of the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“), just opened a restaurant in the West Village this past August. It is already being called one of the greatest sushi restaurants in New York City.
Sushi Nakazawa is a 10-seat sushi bar with a small dining room. The restaurant, like Ono’s Sukiyabashi Jiro in Japan, only serves Omakase-style (the chef’s selection). Nakazawa chooses the fish and the preparation and serves all his guests simultaneously, one piece at a time.
For those who haven’t seen “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi,” Ono is widely considered to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. His dedication to being the best has led Japan to name him a “national treasure” and his restaurant, a tiny 10-seat restaurant attached to a metro station, was the first sushi restaurant to earn three Michelin stars.
Nakazawa spent 11 years under Ono’s tutelage.
He also appeared in the film: Nakazawa was the senior apprentice who spent three months attempting to master tamagoyaki, a famous Japanese omelet dish.
The price of the Omakase menu at Sushi Nakazawa is $US150 per person at the sushi bar or $US120 per person in the dining room, which gets you about 20 pieces of nigiri (a small lump of rice with the fish on top).
For that price, it better be out-of-this-world sushi. And early reviews seem to think it gets pretty close.
Former New York Magazine restaurant critic Gael Greene recently posted a glowing review on her blog Insatiable Critic. Greene called Nakazawa’s sushi “satiny and seductive,” and noted the “deliberate yet subtle” way that Nakazawa switched sauces “from mustard to wasabi to sweet soy…” By the end of the meal, she had decided that the chef was “a perfectionist.”
Josh Beckerman at NYCFoodie called Nakazawa “a master chef serving sublime sushi.” “I never had salmon smoked with hay before. Chef Nakazawa does it, and it was one of the most memorable pieces of sushi I have eaten,” he writes in his review.
And Han, at NYC food blog Han + Diana, also posted a glowing review that described the meal as “stunning” and the seafood as “unbelievable.” If you are sucker for mouthwatering pictures of sushi, Han posted photos of ever single piece of nigiri.
User-generated restaurant review websites are also filled with praise for Nakazawa’s sushi bar.
One Yelp reviewer, called the restaurant the best sushi spot in the city, writing,”Every piece of sushi is expertly prepared, from the temperature of the fish, the way the fish is stored in the refrigerator, the nori that he uses, the amount of soy sauce he puts on each fish, the fresh wasabi, the rice. Everything is thought out so well; every piece of sushi is perfectly balanced.”
And while some reviewers conceded that Nakazawa is not yet at Ono’s level (who could be?), they said the experience at the restaurant might be even better than dining at Ono’s restaurant in Tokyo, due to Nakazawa’s jovial demeanor. From Kenneth on Yelp:
Unlike at Jiro, though, here you won’t experience the same anxiety or pressure to eat and finish under the watchful gaze of a sushi master.
Nakazawa-san’s warm and magnetic personality really shines through as he really tries to make each of his guests feel welcomed.
As for the famous tamagoyaki that Nakazawa spent three months perfecting under Ono? One reviewer on Chowhound called it “amazing.”
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