Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dreaming of Sushi Nakazawa

I am pretty sure one of the most pornographic films I have ever seen is Jiro Dreams of Sushi - the food shots are ridiculously gratuitous and have forever ruined the concept of sushi for me.

But I'll still eat it.  Especially now that Daisuke Nakazawa (Jiro's apprentice in the film shown mastering tamago after several months of dedicated practice) has opened up his own shop in West Village, Sushi Nakazawa, after working with another Jiro protege in Seattle over the past year.

You can tell Nakazawa is excited about his brand new, squeaky clean restaurant, sharing smiles with excited patrons throughout the night.

Through early September, Sushi Nakazawa is serving only omakase at the ten-seat sushi bar.  The dining room is expected to open later next month.  Reservations can be made online for parties of two though all seats appear to have been taken.

Luckily, we snagged one on Saturday so now you can have a first look!

The omakase is about twenty pieces of nigiri for $150, with optional sake pairing for $40 or $70 for wine.  We received about six different types of sake, and found it wonderfully complementary to the nigiri.

The omakase began with two types of salmon: Alaskan, topped simply with sea salt and concealing the biggest pop of freshly ground wasabi which cleared our sinuses instantly and rendered us momentarily speechless,

and king salmon, that was buttery.

The Maine scallop was one of my favorites, smooth and succulent.

The geoduck was cut with fine hatchwork, tenderized and handbroiled, but still retained a hard, chewy texture.


Steamed abalone was a touch more tender.

The Japanese jack mackerel, kissed by ginger, was deliciously oily and flavorful.

Baby shad was tender and slippery under tongue.  (I always liked when we were told the fish was a baby. Can't tell if that makes me a bad person to so gleefully eat them up.)

Whitefish from Long Island.

Sea kelp marinated fluke was an unexpected stunner, the taste of the ocean unfolding in our mouths.

Baby cuttlefish was a beautifully glossy gem, sweet with slight chew.

My seat was in front of the bowl of live mantis shrimps.  Creepy creatures with a million legs, and I couldn't wait to eat them.

The shrimp and octopus are both steamed under a lid of bamboo leaves.

Nakazawa said, "Sayonara!" as he dropped a handful of mantis shrimps inside.

Peeling the shrimp.

Definitely the most gorgeous piece of nigiri I have ever seen, and also the tastiest.  Sweet and succulent with a hint of spice from the wasabi.  Incredible !!  We could've easily eaten just twenty of these as an omakase and been ridiculously happy.

Two "sake sommeliers" work with the 10 patrons and describe how the sake is selected by type of seafood. We retained none of the knowledge, but easily drank everything.  The pairings were near perfect, with the exception of one that was good, but did nothing to enhance its portion of the meal.

Swordfish with soy.

Skipjack from Japan, enriched with deep smokiness, and simply amazing.

Boston blue fin tuna, a bit plain.

Medium toro, fatty and delicious.

Full toro, more fatty and more delicious.  Melt-in-your-mouth wonderful.

It was fun watching the assistant throughout the meal as he handled this most giant tentacle, steamed in the same pot as the shrimp.

The octopus was beautifully cut, white as snow, and sprinkled with sea salt.  The result was more chewy than tender, and the flavor very subtle.

Salmon roe was completely fun, popping instantly as each egg hit the tongue.

The unago melted immediately in our mouths, sweet and soft.  Just faintly fishy and fully delectable.

A tuna handroll wrapped in Japanese nori was the length of my hand.  The tuna was fresh and wonderful.

And finally, of course, Daisuke's triumph at Jiro, the tamago - sweet egg omelet.  It tastes like dessert, so sweet, dense and so fun to eat.

The toasty underside.

After the team clears our plates and removes our chopsticks, it's like we lost a friend that I immediately missed.  As the amazing meal came to an end, they brought out wedges of supersweet honeydew and hot tea.

It's a little hard to eat honeydew with a spoon, but who's really complaining?  I'll dew it.

As a sidenote to our whole experience, we were disappointed to be the only patrons at our seating to be served exclusively by the assistant sushi chef (all other 8 patrons received service from Nakazawa), and while sharing cuts of fish may result in similar results, I do believe the assembly of nigiri by chef does vary - amount of wasabi, sauce, formation of rice, etc., and some of our pieces did feel heavy-handed with wasabi, but the meal in its entirety is undeniably spectacular.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Simply stunning meal with some unbelievable pieces of seafood.  Try to grab seats away from the far end (away from the pots and prep) to receive service directly from Nakazawa!

Sushi Nakazawa
23 Commerce St
New York, NY
Sushi Nakazawa on Urbanspoon


  1. yes, please! all of the above!

  2. Fantastic pictures. Makes my mouth water just to look at these.

  3. this looks incredible. the octopus and full toro look absolutely devine. thanks for sharing!

  4. I know where I'm taking my vacation next year! Great pictures by the way.

  5. My goodness. These photos have sent me into full sushi withdrawals.

  6. Thanks for the great review! Can't wait to try it when I visit NY! =D

  7. wow, thank you for all these stunning photos.

  8. Hey, those pictures are awsome!! very nice :-)

  9. Love your pictures. I love sushi and your pictures makes me feel hungry. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I love sushi and could eat it all the time. This in-depth review really make me wanna visit this special place, and I hope that it will come true in a very near future. Until then, I will stick with my favorite place - Japango sushi, Toronto.

  11. Love your commentary and pictures. I must have some of this guy's fish.

  12. Thanks so much for providing individuals with an exceptionally pleasant opportunity to read articles and blog posts from this blog. It is always so pleasant and as well , full of amusement for me personally and my office colleagues to visit your site not less than thrice per week to find out the new tips you have. And of course, I'm actually amazed with the tremendous principles served by you. Certain 2 ideas on this page are rather the most impressive we've had. must visit restaurant nyc

  13. I truly wanted to write down a quick comment to be able to appreciate you for those great tricks you are writing on this site. My time consuming internet investigation has now been rewarded with useful insight to go over with my partners. I would declare that we readers are unequivocally fortunate to exist in a good network with very many awesome people with good opinions. I feel quite lucky to have come across your webpage and look forward to some more fun minutes reading here. Thanks a lot again for all the details. most unique restaurant new york