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SUSHI NAKAZAWA?

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We will be back in Manhattan early December. In the past, our favorite sushi place has been 15 East. I just read about this restaurant and wondered if it is open yet & if so, any impressions?

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  1. Opens tomorrow.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/din...

    1. yah its not open yet...very interested in this one

      26 Replies
      1. re: Lau

        The big question is what experience Naka had making sushi? While there is no doubt that as ani-deshi he has tons of experience in the prep, only Jiro and his son served customers per the movie. I assume that he has made sushi during the process of prepping the fish and for family meals. If Jiro is the customer that you have to impress, it could be rather good.

        1. re: sushiman

          He has also been in Seattle making sushi with another ex-Jiro employee.
          http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/hu...

          1. re: kathryn

            i just got a reservation for 9/8

            1. re: Lau

              Yea for you. I love your reviews. Can't wait for this one.

              1. re: topeater

                thank you!

                im going on a trip for a week and ive been trying to fix something on my blog (technical problem), but ive written a few reviews that i will be posting as soon as i get back

              2. re: Lau

                Just curious-9/8 is a Sunday. Do you believe as many do, that one should not have sushi on Sundays due to market being closed?

                1. re: UES Mayor

                  a lot of the mid-high end places have a 3-5 day aging/curing process for their fish so it should be fine.

                  1. re: Ricky

                    no i dont, ive never noticed any difference and as Ricky said alot of sushi fish being "fresh" actually is caught the same day or something like that bc alot of them need time to decompose to make them tender

                  2. re: UES Mayor

                    Monday used to be considered as bad as Sunday. But these days deliveries are more frequent and as RIcky said, the better places take a few days to cure the fish, so it should be fine. However, some places are closed either Sunday or Monday. Also, some places have less assortment of fish on Sunday or Monday. 15 East, chef is off on Monday and closed Sunday. Ichimura is closed Sundays and Mondays has a very limited selection. I normally still do not eat sushi Sunday or Monday.

                  3. re: Lau

                    Looking forward to your review. I was planning on going to Ichimura in November but was wondering about this place.

                    1. re: PorkyBelly

                      yah i need to do ichimura and neta as well

                      1. re: Lau

                        Ichimura and Neta are totally unlike each other. I prefer Ichimura.
                        Also very strange that Nakazawa serves no sashimi.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          Not really strange, many places in Tokyo, like Jiro just do straight up Sushi, no sashimi, no apps, no dessert.

                          1. re: Ricky

                            Perhaps there are places that don't do sashimi, most places i've been in Tokyo on the high end, will give you sashimi first if you ask for it. Lower end I guess you have to order sashimi set. Jiro, I have not been to his place, however, I have heard from those that have that it is only sushi and quite a rapid service. Sushi should be enjoyed in my opinion, not rushed. Back in the day, people would pause mid meal to smoke a cigarette or drink a bit. I am accustomed to having sashimi first then sushi. I will do that wherever possible but I guess not at Nakazawa. I still hope to go there this week.

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              Agree with Ricky and we've covered this before. Most high end places will not serve sashimi unless you specifically ask. Many probably won't, even if you do ask. The higher end the place is, the less likely it is you will be served sashimi...My experience is that chefs will sometimes serve quick sashimi if there are many patrons to deal with and he wants to try to provide some easy tsumami....Since you can get good sashimi anywhere in Japan, I don't bother at sushi restaurants myself. In the US though, it seems more of an expectation- perhaps because it is more difficult to get one's sashimi fix here.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                Yes, I think we did cover this before. And I believe when I ate at high end sushi places in Japan I specifically requested sashimi first. I was never turned down. Many years ago, when I first began eating sushi I was taught to order sashimi first and then sushi. I was told by sushi chefs that , that was "old school tradition"... Maybe it was, maybe not, but I continue to enjoy my omakase that way here. All my favorite places here do it the way I like it. i.e. 15 east, Ichimura, kanoyama, kura, jewel bako hatsuhana etc... Sushi Gari charged me double when i ordered sashimi first. A $300 bill for one sashimi meal and one sushi meal. oh well.

                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                  The key takeaway I'm attempting to express (or actually to confirm) is that it is not "very strange that Nakazawa serves no sashimi" with omakase. This is quite common- especially at higher end places. If you want it, you should confirm or request. But don't be surprised if you get the batsu (X) gesture.

                                  Although linked in many foreigner's minds, sashimi is a sort of universal appetizer in Japanese cuisine and enjoys a completely distinct and separate history and place from Edomae sushi- although they will obviously overlap sometimes...but not always.

                                  1. re: Silverjay

                                    Thanks, I get your point.

                  4. re: kathryn

                    I heard that. I would think that the most important part of his training would be the time under Jiro. So to me, the question is what did her learn there? Since the guy in Seattle is former Jiro too, he did not learn anything new there.

                    1. re: sushiman

                      the guy in seattle worked for jiro a really long time ago, so totally possible he's different than jiro...either way lets just see how the guy is, should be interesting

                      also have any of you guys eaten at jiro? (i have not) i would think 99% of this board has never eaten there so wouldnt be able to compare to jiro anyhow

                      1. re: Lau

                        I was supposed to last week, but the trip got canceled. ;-(

                        1. re: sushiman

                          Bummer! That sucks.

                        2. re: Lau

                          I was told the guy in Seattle worked "with Jiro" not for Jiro. A co-worker not an apprentice. As far as eating at Jiro, I appreciated the film, but I have no desire for a rushed sushi meal.

                    2. re: sushiman

                      When Mizutani was working for Jiro, did he just do prep or did he serve customers? Asking because folks who have been to both Jiro and Mizutani think Mizutani is better than Jiro.

                      1. re: Shirang

                        Jiro Shmiro. Masato at 15 East studied under a master who was Jiro's best friend. They went to the market together . Do you think this place will be better than 15 East. I doubt it.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          no point in speculating, we'll all go try it and decide for ourselves

                  5. Went on Saturday - thought it was very tasty, but haven't tried sushi at 15 East to be able to give a good comparison. Blogged some pics and stuff if you need more detail.

                    23 Replies
                    1. re: handieats

                      Nice pictures, did they ask you any fish preferences? Asking because its silverfish season I think and places are serving sanma, aji, iwashi, kisu now. Was it just sushi only? No apps or sashimi?

                      1. re: Ricky

                        Hi Ricky - Thanks! They do not ask preferences on fish - just any allergies. No appetizers or sashimi - everything that was served was shown in the pictures.

                        1. re: handieats

                          whats your blog called?

                          1. re: Lau

                            Handi-eats.blogspot.com

                            1. re: handieats

                              oh wow they had mantis prawn, that's awesome...can't wait to eat here in a couple weeks

                              1. re: Lau

                                Yeah! It's definitely the tastiest of the night!

                              2. re: handieats

                                managed to get a res for sept 22nd at 5pm. lol.

                                psyched to try this out. nice review and pics!

                                15 East is my usual and favorite omakase spot, i hope this can compare.

                                1. re: gurizzy

                                  I'll be curious to see what you think ! I'll have to try 15 East sometime !

                                  1. re: handieats

                                    i eat at 15 east and yasuda regularly, so im very curious as well

                                    as i side note i love mantis prawn and i almost never get it outside of asia, so exciting!

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      15 East had some shako early July.

                                      1. re: Ricky

                                        so did Kura in July, and Azabu had shako last week, But they weren't live. Kanoyama has them live and in view , when they have them. Nakazawa has them live, which is a treat.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          while ive had it several times in sushi places, i actually usually eat it in hong kong where its quite popular and used in many seafood places there (obviously quite a bit different prep)

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            Squilla, as they call it in Hong Kong, lightly fried to perfection with fried chopped garlic!!! I miss it!

                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                              so so good, the meat in mantis prawns is really sweet and nice, i love it....i think its better than lobster

                                              they have a funny name in chinese, they're called 攋尿蝦 lai niao xia, which basically means pissing shrimp. apparently its bc they piss / shoot water when u pick them up (i had to ask someone in HK last time why they were actually called that bc i never actually knew haha)

                                              u ever have them at under bridge? they're so good there
                                              https://www.lauhound.com/2010/10/qiao...

                                              1. re: Lau

                                                Ha ha yeah, I know it's called "pissing shrimp" in Chinese. I learned that while I was watching Stephen Chow's (周星馳) movie 'God of Cookery (食神)'.

                                                Yes! I tried fried squilla at Under Bridge Spicy Crab (橋底辣蟹, http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900797...) infinite times when I was living in Hong Kong, although I do not have the photos because I was not blogging back then (I guess most of us were not in the 1990s to early 2000s. lol).

                                                1. re: kosmose7

                                                  i was in high school and college in the 90s and early 2000s, so wasnt doing much blogging back then! haha

                                                  under bridge is awesome, its very satisfying...love that place

                                              2. re: kosmose7

                                                that sounds delicious!

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                  its amazing, seafood in HK is really good and mantis prawns are amazing there. you can see them very alive in tanks like this: http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared/t...

                                                  its so different than the tanks you see here. there the tanks are very clean, the seafood is very fresh and alive and moving around just like it would in the ocean, its great

                          2. re: handieats

                            No uni?? I heard they open up live uni in front of you...?

                            1. re: kosmose7

                              They are only doing uni a couple times during the week unfortunately - they are hoping to better source uni when the dining room opens.

                              1. re: handieats

                                Got it.
                                Thanks! :)

                            2. re: handieats

                              Thanks for the review. I would have been extremely disappointed to be the only two guests at the bar to be served by the assistant and not Nakazawa. What time was your reservation?

                              1. re: PorkyBelly

                                Yes, we voiced our disappointment to the suits, and they were pretty receptive. I think it had a lot to do with where we sat since Nakazawa would not have been easily able to reach our plates. The reservation was at 830

                            3. my review:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920613

                              https://www.lauhound.com/2013/10/sush...

                              1. Went here recently. I'll say up front that i don't 'have a good frame of reference for high end sushi (as in haven't done yasuda, 15 east, etc. did bar masa a long time ago but that was not in the same league as this). I've done O Ya in Boston, but that's a different experience in that he heavily sauces/spices his pieces, while this is obviously about clean flavors, the fish. so i can't offer a lot of good comparisons unfortunately in the genre...

                                that said. first, here're the pieces, just for those curious (and because it's changed a bit from the sample menu on seatme), which is roughly in order, though i'm going to mess up the order in the middle.

                                1. alaskan (iirc) salmon
                                2. hay smoked chum salmon
                                3. live scallop
                                4. geoduck
                                5. aji
                                6. kinmedai
                                7. yellowtail
                                8. fluke
                                9. beakfish
                                10. shrimp (raw, forget species)
                                11. shrimp (poached)
                                12. mackerel
                                13. skipjack
                                14. tuna-akami
                                15. tuna- chutoro
                                16. tuna-otoro
                                17. uni
                                18. ikura
                                19. anago
                                20. tamago
                                (sorbet, and a roasted, i think, green tea served after)

                                thoughts:

                                1. the rice is amazing. that was the main thought i had leaving. the temperature and texture definitely separated this place more than anything from other sushi I've had, or just the difference between going somewhere with great crudo versus coming here.

                                2. i would say about half the courses were superb, and the other half were very good. the texture on the scallop was amazing, and it had yuzukosho (again, iirc) that gave it a nice heat. the kinmedai was served quite warm, with large salt flakes; another favorite. the anago stood out as well (possibly because its such a departure from standard eel), and, per the movie, having shrimp that was just poached makes a huge difference. A number of the pieces though did feel like just better versions of what you could have at a respectable sushi spot.

                                3. service was great. different from someone's post (maybe this thread, maybe another), even though we were seated on the far edge, not in front of Nakazawa, but he still actually 'made' and presented sushi for us and the people next to us. (ftr, they also seated people along the counter in the order wed' arrived, so i don't know if that is a change/attempt to show preference since you showed up first but don't have the choice to seat yourself in front of him?). Of course, i'm not one to make the claim that i'd find it noticeably better to have the pieces made by him, but for those who would, thought i'd toss that out there. In general, everyone was lively and friendly; nakazawa is as jovial as all the reviews have made him out to be.

                                4. 40 dollar sake pairing (6 types) is a steal. they said they're moving to have a couple different pairing options soon, so not sure if they will keep this initial low price.

                                5. we were the last seating, and there was not an offer to make seconds of any of the fish: not sure if that is part of being the last counter table (the counter definitely closed the place out), or a shift in policy over time.

                                overall, we had a great time, and if we had the money, and lived in ny, would go back. but as people who come for food, it's not such a revelation that i would visit and sacrifice the chance to try somewhere new instead (by comparison, brooklyn fare is a place that whenever i can get in i'd happily rather go there then try a new restaurant out).

                                wish i could offer more useful comparisons, but i think our takeaway was that it may be top of its kind, but that, for us, at least, that doesn't put it as our top restaurant experience, and so if you're entranced by reviews (ie 4 stars from the times), you might want to make sure your expectations are calibrated properly.

                                oh, and if you have a late seating, make sure to snack. its not a lot of food, and it would be a shame to be too hungry to notice what you're eating..

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: valcfield

                                  Thanks for your review. Although, you've made mention that you couldn't offer 'more useful " comparisons, I thought you did a very good job of describing you meal at Nakazawa. I do think that 20 pieces of sushi is a respectable number. Some places like Sushiko , is about half of that, so is Sushi of Gari.
                                  There are some fish that I'm not sure if I had before i.e.beakfish, and geoduck ( unless geoduck is mirugai).
                                  I do understand your comment. "... i think our takeaway was that it may be top of its kind, but that, for us, at least, that doesn't put it as our top restaurant experience..."
                                  Perhaps a place like Brooklyn Fare where you anticipate what surprise will come out next, and is perhaps more creative than ,even a delicious piece of tuna, or French Laundry where each dish takes your breath away.
                                  After all It is just sushi ( but probably at its finest), and although I haven't been to Nakazawa yet, 15 East still makes me go wow, even though I eat at high- end sushi places often. I guess I'm lucky that a simple slice of fish can wow me.
                                  Again thanks for the review.
                                  I think you might want to check out Kyo Ya next visit.

                                  1. re: valcfield

                                    Nice review. I was there on Thursday night and haven't yet gotten around to writing up my impressions and posting my photos, but I will soon. Our impressions were quite similar—we, too, thought that the rice was excellent and that was something my boyfriend repeatedly commented on, particularly the contrast of the warm rice to a cooler piece of fish.

                                    I will have to look at my notes, but were you served a fish called "gingko-fish"? I want to say it was close to piece 9, which you describe at beakfish but I'm not sure. Nakazawa help up his iPad to show everyone a photo of the fish and said the name in Japanese, and then "gingkofish" in English.

                                    By the way, we were at an earlier seating and we were offered additional pieces, so I would say that that probably just had to do with being the last seating.

                                    1. re: loratliff

                                      I was offered additional pieces when I went for the early seating. I don't know the "custom", but I assume that's at a surcharge? I know regret not getting another piece of uni sushi or the aged chutoro. :)

                                      1. re: deepfry7

                                        I *think* it's $10 per piece, but maybe someone else can confirm. We regretted not getting another anago and o-toro!

                                  2. Finally went to Nakazawa.

                                    Fast impression.

                                    Really good, but not life changing.

                                    Some hits, some misses.

                                    Hate the chairs at the bar.

                                    Not four star, nor the best. Too many misses.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: sushiman

                                      Agree completely. Certainly very good. But the Times review was silly.

                                      1. re: sushiman

                                        Thank you for the review. Maybe after all the hype stops, i'll be able to get a reservation, and eat there without great expectations.

                                        1. re: sushiman

                                          We agreed that four-stars was a little excessive, but I would've given it three without hesitation. Curious what you felt was a miss. I've been twice and there wasn't anything I'd call a complete miss.

                                          Agree 100% about the chairs at the bar.

                                          1. re: sushiman

                                            I don't remember any straight-up misses, but overall I'd agree with this assessment as well. I'm kinda glad, it would suck if the best sushi in the city was near-impossible to get a reservation at.

                                            1. re: lexismore

                                              There reservation system is the worst. I've been half lucky in getting a time slot to open on the screen, but when I hit the yellow square it says , "not available" ,,, oh well, I'll just have to settle for 15 East. Happily

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                Are they still using seatme? I thought they switched to opentable.

                                                https://mobile.twitter.com/qualityrye...

                                          2. Is there any type of dress code there? We've got a reservation this weekend. I would hate to be underdressed but we'll be coming from a few hours at Natural History with an 8-year-old without time to change. Pants and sweaters OK? Thanks.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Cancan

                                              Same as every other high end sushi place, casual.

                                              1. re: Shirang

                                                Cool; thanks. Let me be clear that the 8 year old is not joining us for dinner!