Sushi Nakazawa

Jiro, Dreams of Sushi. Everything about it is so right. The only problem I have with it is that it is not closer to home. (And how the rice seller and Jiro can be so snobbish about rice!)

Imagine my excitement when I heard that one of his protege, Daisuke Nakazawa, had opened a restaurant in the east coast. Reservations were apparently not that difficult to make if you are willing to settle for a table away from the bar. (Update: That may have changed since the raving reviews by pete wells. Luckily, they are now opened 7 days a week.) While you do miss out on the action, you will get to save a substantial amount while still enjoying the same menu, minus the tamago on rice.

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Having tried both Shin Ji and Hashida back home, I was excited to challenge my palette yet again, to see if I could tell the differences between omkase from high-end Japanese restaurants. Did I like sushi Nakazawa? It’s not bad, definitely worth a second visit, though it is not without flaws.

Ambience/Service

Modern decor, black marble interior, white bar. I was really hoping for something more homely and cozy, like a traditional sushi bar, so the upscale setting definitely caught me off guard. Then again, the restaurant is owned by Alessandro Borgognone, so it may not be that surprising to expect a strong western influence in the restaurant, like the raspberry sorbet that ended the meal.

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Food

My reflections are based purely on taste, texture and what I enjoyed. The salmon, while not a traditional sushi piece, worked really well as an opening by providing something  familiar. The fish tasted refreshing, though my favorites tend to be the shellfish and crustacean: the blue prawns, mantis prawns, scallops and clams. The ootoro and chutoro lacked the defining veins of fats, but make no mistake, they melt like butter anyway, though there were definitely streaks of chewiness that remained. I’m not used to the mackerel series, or the pickled fish either. The rice was a league above the rest; you can taste every grain of the warm rice, but it felt a tad too hard (Obviously I’m nit picking). The uni and ikura pieces had a briny and sublime sweetness, and clean creamy texture.

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My only complaint is that the pieces were a little too small for me, despite being a 20-course dinner. Sure, the ikura sushi tasted phenomenal, but it didn’t reach that level of oomph that I was expecting. Perhaps not sitting at the bar meant that the chef was unable to custom make each  piece for a different diner.

While it may not have been the symphony I was hoping for, it is nonetheless a well thought out menu that began and ended on a high note.

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4.6/5

Where

23 Commerce St
(between S 7th Ave & Bedford St)
New York, NY 10014
Neighborhood: West Village

(212) 924-2212

http://www.sushinakazawa.com/

 

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