SUSHI NAKAZAWA – NYC
23 Commerce Street (nr. 7th) , New York, NY 10014
Date Dined: November 2013
Sushi Nakazawa is one of the most highly anticipated openings of the year. And at just 10 seats upon opening, a reservation was quite hard to come by. By some miracle of miracles my persistence proved successful and I scored two reservations at the sushi bar simultaneously. I immediately called some friends for a double date and we counted down the days to our special meal. (They have now opened a 25 seat dining room which also only offers the Omakase).
Chef Daisuke Nakazawa comes to New York from Tokyo (via Seattle) where he trained as an apprentice to sushi legend Jiro Ono (from the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi).
The restaurant is located on a quiet, unpretentious block in the heart of the West Village surrounded by brownstones and small boutiques. Maybe it was the serenity of the street that attracted Nakazawa and co-owner Alessandro Borgognone. The serenity is carried into the restaurant where everything is super-modern and clean – black leather and white marble with accents of glass and metal. The only color comes from the activity behind the sushi bar.
Nakazawa’s former sushi master was known for taking his craft very seriously, but Nakazawa brings a different attitude to the fine art of sushi preparation. He is playful, funny and engaging. He wants his diners to enjoy themselves as they appreciate their meals. Between describing each piece to you as he places it on your plate he might let a mantis shrimp jump around on the counter before skewering it and dunking it in a pot of steaming broth.
They offer a full sake, wine and beer list but we opted for the sake pairings because without an excellent knowledge of sakes it seemed like the best way to go. It is also a good value with pairings starting at $40 per person.
The no frills Omakase menu offers about 20 pieces of sushi including a hand roll. You will not have any soup or salad with this meal but you will be served a hot cup of green tea and a glass of sorbet to top off the meal once the full meal of fish has been appreciated.
Most of the fish we were served had been flown in from either Maine, Santa Barbara or Tokyo Bay. Many pieces were served without any sauce at all so that the flavors of the seafood could speak for themselves. And speak they did.
Below is what were served, I tried to catch everything but missed a couple along the way:
The chef gives you the option at the end of the omakase to have additional pieces but of course these are at an incremental cost and can quickly add up.
Sushi Nakazawa should definitely be on your list if you are a sushi lover for a special occasion or even just a nice date. The quality and the experience make it worth the price tag.