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Sushi Nakazawa - Seeking a convive for this Sat (8/31)

s
sappidus Aug 27, 2013 02:58 PM

Hi CH,

To my marked surprise, I managed to snag a reservation at the sushi bar of Sushi Nakazawa at the oddly-available time of 6:45 this Saturday, 8/31. However, as those who have been following the place will know, they actually only let you make a resy for two. And I am but one person.

So, as kosmose7 did recently, I am offering up my +1 spot. I may be a little distracted as a dining companion -- I plan on focusing on the food! -- but I assure you, I am pleasant enough. ;-)

E-mail me at "calefacient" at "mac.com" if you're interested. (Though it's by no means required, I'd love to hear about why you want to go, too.)

  1. f
    foodwhisperer Aug 27, 2013 09:50 PM

    If it were during the week, I would have gone. I too would focus on the food and the chef's skill. Weekends i'm usually booked.
    Enjoy, I'm sure you will find someone to dine with.

    1. u
      UES Mayor Aug 28, 2013 03:41 AM

      hmmmmm-this sounds like a trend! Perhaps we can start a blind dating foodie trend! With only one stipulation-no agenda except for food reviews.

      1 Reply
      1. re: UES Mayor
        s
        sappidus Aug 28, 2013 08:01 AM

        Just to be clear, in case my significant other runs into this: I have a significant other. ;-)

        (She'll be out of town and wouldn't want to go to such a temple anyway.)

      2. b
        Bkeats Aug 28, 2013 05:54 AM

        Probably got the spot as its the Labor Day weekend. As I will be joining the throngs heading to the beach, I won't be able to take you up on the offer. Otherwise, I would be jumping at the opportunity and would tell the wife she would have to look after herself. LOL.

        1. kosmose7 Aug 28, 2013 08:09 AM

          This is neat. As a single diner, I am sometimes frustrated that occasionally restaurants require minimum two or more guests.

          I couldn't attend the "EMP-Alinea swap" last year because of that, although early this year, I finally experienced Alinea in Chicago (even then, I had to find someone to dine with me at Alinea's facebook and I successfully did. LOL).

          9 Replies
          1. re: kosmose7
            f
            foodwhisperer Aug 28, 2013 10:17 AM

            I think the 2 person minimum is quite absurd. An allowance of a single , allows for another single, it also allows for parties of 3 which is quite a common number of diners.

            1. re: foodwhisperer
              ellenost Aug 28, 2013 10:33 AM

              Which explains why I dine so frequently at Momofuku Ko, and can't dine at Brooklyn Fare. As a frequent solo diner, I think it is outrageous that restaurants discriminate against solo diners. Even Blanca and Atera (as well as EMP and Per Se) permit solo diners.

              1. re: ellenost
                kosmose7 Aug 28, 2013 10:56 AM

                >Even Blanca and Atera (as well as EMP and Per Se) permit solo diners.

                And Daniel, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, etc, etc all welcome single diners!

                1. re: kosmose7
                  f
                  foodwhisperer Aug 28, 2013 12:54 PM

                  for that matter so does 15 East, Ichimura, Ushiwakamaru, Sushi Azabu, kanoyama, Kura, Dojo,jewlel Bako, Hatsuhana, Yasuda, Sushi Ko and Blue Ribbon,,,, I don't know about Masa
                  Solo diners rule

                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                    t
                    tpigeon Aug 28, 2013 12:56 PM

                    I went to Masa solo a few years ago...

                    1. re: tpigeon
                      f
                      foodwhisperer Aug 28, 2013 12:58 PM

                      good to know Masa takes solo diners. I never could get in on short notice. I've tried maybe 5 times. Is it worth it?

                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                        t
                        tpigeon Aug 28, 2013 01:03 PM

                        I have not been to 15 east (don't live in NYC), my favorite has been Yasuda, but Masa was a bit better but 3x the cost, so not worth it in my opinion but I am glad I went once...

                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                          f
                          fooder Aug 28, 2013 01:11 PM

                          It's one of those places that really depends on the state of the economy. When I went in 2010 and 2011, it was pretty dead. I was told some nights would have 3 diners total perhaps. I can't imagine that you would have trouble getting in in that scenario.

                          Another possibility is that given the ingredient costs, they only fly in ingredients from Tsukiji based on expected reserved guest numbers. So perhaps they don't really entertain guests on short notice unless someone cancels.

                  2. re: ellenost
                    w
                    W42 Aug 28, 2013 03:50 PM

                    If I can get a reservation sometime between Oct 5-12, I might need a 4th person to fill our reservation at Brooklyn Fare.

              2. s
                sappidus Aug 28, 2013 05:14 PM

                FYI: The spot has been claimed!

                I will report back to the best of my ability.

                1. s
                  sappidus Aug 31, 2013 07:04 PM

                  So, yup, I went. To clear one thing up, my omakase was, as the website states, exactly $150.

                  As expected, this is a heavyweight NYC sushi contender. Is it out-and-out better than, say, Yasuda or 15 East? In its first fortnight of operation? No, not in my opinion. But it deserves to be in the conversation with the upper echelon in the city.

                  I won't even try to capture the entire meal, but here are some scattered thoughts: The rice was excellent -- still not quite Yasuda-level, IMHO, but on par with just about anyone else in town; from a pure live technical standpoint, he indeed packed it to a perfect density and proportion to neta size. The mantis shrimp was spectacular -- soft and yielding and perfectly paired with same sauce that Nakazawa-san uses for his anago. A smoked Alaskan salmon that I was mildly skeptical of was subtly but love... lovelily?... done. And, oh, yes, that tamagoyaki famous from the documentary is amazing.

                  He clearly takes pride in his various preparations -- he made some interesting comments about how even an ostensibly traditional sushi chef uses subtle differences in preps to create individuality when, after all, there are only so many different kinds of fish in the sea. He seemed to relish highlighting for each piece whether it had been aged a week, or dusted with yuzu pepper, or dabbed with Japanese mustard...

                  He stated that he particularly liked the pairing of tuna with mustard, and though I never would have thought of it myself, it really did work for each of the various forms of tuna served (akami, chutoro, otoro, hand roll). When I remarked upon the chutoro, that I couldn't remember seeing it marinated before, he smiled and said, "I stole it from a chef in San Francisco!" He proceeded to explain that when he visited some SF edomae, he encountered the soy-sake-marinade for chutoro and loved it so much that he asked the chef whether he could use the idea in his own restaurant.

                  Which brings me to an important point: Nakazawa-san is the most personable sushi chef this side of 15 East's Shimizu-san. He's more self-effacing, doing things like criticizing his own (excellent) English, but on the other hand, when I said "Oishi..." after some aji, he immediately replied with a grin, "I know!"

                  He smiles and laughs and genuinely seems to be having fun behind the counter. Little moments that demonstrated this abounded... When a nearby diner expressed that she didn't like uni much, he made her literally the smallest gunkan-maki I've ever seen, like the size of a nickel, to much amusement all around. When he talked about biking around to buy fish, and I asked where he gets his local stuff, he grinned again and demurred, saying, "Oh, I am new here, I don't know any names..." Even when he misheard my question about whether some bonito had been aged instead as, "how old was the bonito?", he deadpanned, "93 years old."

                  He just seems like a nice, open guy who happens to be a top-flight sushi chef. I liked him a lot. And I liked the food a lot. One can fairly assume that he and the very young restaurant, which is virtually still in a soft-open mode, will improve with time, as he gets to know the local scene better. One might've feared that there'd be some kind of cynical feel about the place, as if it were just exploiting the popularity of the Jiro documentary, but I didn't sense that at all.

                  So for the serious sushi lovers, I heartily recommend scoring that difficult reservation and deciding for yourself how it stacks up against the A+ joints around town. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I for one look forward to seeing, and tasting, how it evolves over time.

                  66 Replies
                  1. re: sappidus
                    Silverjay Aug 31, 2013 07:16 PM

                    To each their own I guess. But if someone put mustard on my tuna I would f'king puke. And I'm not exaggerating at all. Wow. That's certainly a way to differentiate yourself. Would one have to request it ahead of time without or does he at least give you a heads up?

                    1. re: Silverjay
                      s
                      sappidus Aug 31, 2013 07:25 PM

                      It *does* sound pretty crazy, doesn't it? And he said it as he was placing the first tuna piece down, so I suppose you'd have to request not to have it in advance. Still, it's not like he's slathering it on, or that he's using honey dijon or something. As I said, I thought it was quite delicious (and I am generally not a fan even of the Sushi-of-Gari-style "innovations" in the genre), but if it's too outside the box for you, he'd clearly leave it off.

                      1. re: Silverjay
                        f
                        foodwhisperer Sep 4, 2013 05:33 AM

                        Just tell the chef when he says ,"any allergies"? " I'm allergic to mustard." I believe I've seen that done before. I've seen a dab of grated ginger done also. I'm not a fan of tuna marinated in soy, although I guess it is popular with people , as i've seen it before. I'm more interested in checking out this chef's skills and knowledge. I'm wondering if all the Jiro hype is the owner's and not the chef's. I'll pass judgement after I get there. My promised reservation fell through last week.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                          Silverjay Sep 4, 2013 10:09 AM

                          I really hate mustard so I wouldn't have any problem just asking without it. Using mustard really surprises me as it seems to be kind of polarizing- I mean not as much as mayo- but I feel like there are a lot of people who really don't like it.

                          Ginger is standard for hikari-mono and a few other items. And tsuke (tuna marinated in soy sauce) is one of the original nigirl sushi items and is a standard.

                          1. re: Silverjay
                            s
                            sappidus Sep 4, 2013 02:21 PM

                            Oh, right, I forgot to mention the inside-out spicy tuna roll...

                            j/k

                            1. re: sappidus
                              f
                              foodwhisperer Sep 4, 2013 07:27 PM

                              OY.... oh LOL you had me goin' there for a second

                        2. re: Silverjay
                          u
                          UES Mayor Sep 5, 2013 04:02 AM

                          Anyone from Hawaii where we have the best tuna in the world will tell you how great mustard is on raw tuna-NOT THE HOT DOG MUSTARD!!! We use Coleman's english mustard-read label or google and you will see it's used for sashimi. Don't knock it unless you first tried it. BTW we used mustard for Ramen and Saimi-which is Hawaii's version of Ramen. Having ramen/saimin without mustard would be akin to peanut butter sandwich without the jelly!

                          1. re: UES Mayor
                            Silverjay Sep 5, 2013 04:34 AM

                            Well nothing is going to make me eat mustard, but that is certainly interesting to learn that it is popular on tuna (and ramen) in Hawaii. I wonder if Nakazawa picked it up there or just came up with it independently. I'm assuming he uses "karashi', Japanese mustard.

                            1. re: Silverjay
                              h
                              Humbucker Sep 5, 2013 04:27 PM

                              Interesting that you don't like mustard, as I find a lot of the hotter mustards like Coleman's and karashi to be similar in taste to wasabi. Also, if I'm not mistaken, a lot of prepared wasabi includes mustard powder in it and horseradish is a fairly common additive to mustard.

                              1. re: Silverjay
                                h
                                hans1753 Sep 9, 2013 11:49 PM

                                Use of mustard on sushi is not unheard of in Japan. Shimazushi is a type from the southern islands that uses mustard instead of wasabi.

                                1. re: hans1753
                                  f
                                  foodwhisperer Sep 10, 2013 07:52 AM

                                  Hans you may be onto something here. The chef also soaks some fish in soy sauce which is also a characteristic of Shimazushi. Maybe he has lived or visited those islands.

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                    h
                                    hans1753 Sep 27, 2013 10:29 AM

                                    Sorry foodwhisperer, I just noticed that you had replied . . .

                                    I read somewhere that while he was on the West Coast, Mr Nakazawa was interested in trying to make sushi in the spirit of Edo-style . . . i.e. local fish, local ingredients . . . Maybe he is using mustard because it makes no sense to important crazy expensive fresh wasabi from Japan . . . This is the same reason why mustard was used in the southern islands . . . wasabi was simply unavailable so it wasn't used . . . Considering how local food in Japan is, I am surprised that so many Japanese sushi chefs are comfortable with having everything flown-in overnight.

                                    Most sushi bars in New York have all their fish flown in from Japanese waters, even though it's farmed, and not all that great . . . the fishmongers in Japan might have the skills and facilities to keep the fish in pristine condition . . . but frankly, there's also a lot of BS !

                                    I think it's really cool to see a sushi chef using something that makes more sense locally. You're already eating mustard at virtually every other sushi bar -- it's just colored green with food coloring and called wasabi. It's just powdered mustard to begin with . . .

                                    1. re: hans1753
                                      f
                                      foodwhisperer Sep 27, 2013 10:54 AM

                                      They even grow it in the US now. I also believe Emeril bought a wasabi farm, and uses the leaves in his pre-made salads
                                      http://www.freshwasabi.com/about.aspx

                                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                                        h
                                        hans1753 Sep 27, 2013 02:16 PM

                                        Yes, but it is still expensive . . . if you get the chance, try kizami wasabi. These are pickled stems from the root . . . They are so delicious !

                                        1. re: hans1753
                                          Silverjay Sep 28, 2013 06:52 AM

                                          Some sushi shops in Japan will serve pickled wasabi stems and leaves rolled in a maki-zushi at the end of a meal.

                                          1. re: Silverjay
                                            h
                                            hans1753 Sep 28, 2013 02:12 PM

                                            that sounds so delicious!

                                      2. re: hans1753
                                        kosmose7 Sep 27, 2013 11:06 AM

                                        >You're already eating mustard at virtually every other sushi bar --
                                        >it's just colored green with food coloring and called wasabi. It's just >powdered mustard to begin with . . .

                                        And horseradish powder is added too.
                                        So 'wasabi powder' served at many Japanese restaurants is mixture of horseradish and/or mustard, and sometimes a fraction of real wasabi.

                                        1. re: kosmose7
                                          h
                                          hans1753 Sep 27, 2013 02:17 PM

                                          Yes this is what I meant -- horseradish and wasabi are in the same family, with relatively similar flavors, especially in powdered form, Japanese mustard in particular.

                                          1. re: kosmose7
                                            h
                                            hans1753 Sep 27, 2013 02:19 PM

                                            duh, that's what i mean. lol . . . mostly horseradish. anyway, it's pretty similar to powdered mustard . . .

                                            1. re: hans1753
                                              kosmose7 Sep 27, 2013 06:33 PM

                                              Ha ha OK.... But my friend, horseradish and mustard are two completey different ingredients.

                                              1. re: kosmose7
                                                f
                                                foodwhisperer Sep 27, 2013 07:48 PM

                                                tonite i had fresh domestic wasabi at Ichimura. Very strong. good for the sinuses

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                  n
                                                  nomadmanhattan Sep 27, 2013 07:53 PM

                                                  They are the best I ever had too!

                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                    kosmose7 Sep 27, 2013 08:58 PM

                                                    Top quality fresh wasabi tastes rather mild and sweet but I find fresh wasabi in New York generally strong in flavor.

                                                    1. re: kosmose7
                                                      f
                                                      foodwhisperer Sep 27, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                      I think the domestic is stronger than the Japanese. I'm going to continue asking where each place gets its wasabi from . Then I can be more certain.Also the ones I've seen from Japan look creamier after being rubbed on the shark skin.

                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                        kosmose7 Sep 28, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                        Yes, I think so in general.
                                                        Interesting thing is though, my favorite Japanese restaurant in Korea used to serve me both Japanese and Korean-grown wasabi so that I could compare. One was not always better than the other. It really depended on season, region, and quality of each wasabi.

                                                         
                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1. re: kosmose7
                                                          f
                                                          foodwhisperer Sep 28, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                          Interesting

                                                          1. re: kosmose7
                                                            n
                                                            nomadmanhattan Sep 28, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                            I actually have had pickle wasabi - Wasabi-Zuke, at one of my favorite izakaya - Shigure. It was served with my cucumber salad. i think it is milder and with a cream-like texture.

                                                            The waitress told me Wasabi-Zuke is made of finely chopped wasabi stems steeped in sake lees.

                                                            They also serve fugu hire hot sake (dried fugu fin in hot sake) which is rare to find outside of Kyoto. I highly recommend.

                                                             
                                                             
                                                            1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                              f
                                                              foodwhisperer Sep 28, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                              I go to Shigure quite often, I like the place too. Assuming it is same place that is on Church St.

                                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                n
                                                                nomadmanhattan Sep 28, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                                Yup, that is the one. I go there two three times a month and have tried pretty much every thing on the menu.

                                                                But I went back twice this week because I am hooked on the fugu hire sake.

                                                                I like sitting at the bar and talked to everyone working there. Say hi next time :)

                                                                1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                  f
                                                                  foodwhisperer Sep 30, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                                  See you there, I've had the fugu sake in other places too. Kosmose states a tora fugu dinner in Midtown at Azusa. I'm wondering how "real" that is. The only time I had a tora fugu dinner was in Kyoto, Japan and quite amazing. I believe the season is in December.

                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                    n
                                                                    nomadmanhattan Sep 30, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                                    I actually not quite sure about the season but I assumed was fall/winter-ish.

                                                                    It is true in there are limited places in the US serving tora fugu. I had once 2/3(?) years ago at Konoyama. Last night I was at Nakazawa (wills share my experiences in another post) and asked about fugu, the sake sommelier (sorry my memory was blurred by the sake :/) told me 15 East served fugu when it was in season. He used to work there.

                                                                    1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                      f
                                                                      foodwhisperer Sep 30, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                      You have to be licensed to prepare Fugu in Japan ( unless something changed recently) .. I've heard here and there of fugu prepared by licensed chef in Japan and frozen and shipped here, but I don't recall ever actually having it here. Fugu fin i've seen often. Also, many sushi places take the liberty of calling local blowfish ( which are related to fugu) fugu. I 've had local blowfish at many places. Neta serves fugu tempura as they call it ( it is local blowfish). Tora Fugu is special prized and deadly. There is an excitement about eating it, and IMO is way way different from local blowfish. I had a 10 course kaiseki dinner revolving around Tora Fugu that was incredible.( in Japan).
                                                                      I don't believe 15 East ever had real Fugu,

                                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                        k
                                                                        kevin Sep 30, 2013 06:14 PM

                                                                        I've heard of Kawahagi (sp?) being compared to Fugu.

                                                                        Is there any truth to that ?????

                                                                        Thanks.

                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                          f
                                                                          foodwhisperer Sep 30, 2013 06:19 PM

                                                                          I never had kawahagi ( that I recall) although I may have had it at Jewel Bako or Kanoyama. It is File Fish and sounds like something I may have had. The link below, says sometimes substituted for Fugu sashimi. Kawahagi is not poisonous, as the article recommends eating the liver.
                                                                          http://shizuokasushi.com/seasonal-fis...

                                                                          1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                            k
                                                                            kevin Sep 30, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                            Yeah, if I'm not mistaken it's not poisonous and much much much cheaper.

                                                                            1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                              Silverjay Sep 30, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                                              That is one of the best Japan blogs around. Have been reading him off and on for years now.

                                                                            2. re: kevin
                                                                              Silverjay Sep 30, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                              Kawahagi are great. They serve as a summer stand in for fugu. The sashimi has a similar consistency and meat is a bit sweet. And the liver is good too. Head to head in a blind taste test vs. fugu I'm sure it would prevail in many cases. If you scuba dive in Asia, kawahagi are all over the place... I used to live near the coast in Japan and kawahagi was common, inexpensive, and tasty.

                                                                            3. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                              kosmose7 Sep 30, 2013 06:39 PM

                                                                              So far in New York, I found Restaurant Nippon, Sugiyama, and Azusa serve tora fugu imported from Japan in winter. But they can not be compared to tora fugu I used to have in Japan or Korea.

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: kosmose7
                                                                                f
                                                                                foodwhisperer Oct 1, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                                                ha Nippon, that is the 2nd sushi restaurant I ate in. They have been there for probably 40 years. On the fugu note, I really don't want to eat fugu prepared and flown here. A major part of the experience is having it prepared while you wait. Having the chef maybe giving you a tiny tiny bit of the liver, to numb you. The possibility of not having to pay for your food, since they won't take your money, before you eat. If they request paying first, i'd probably pick a different restaurant.
                                                                                Btw I believe when hirame is served usuzukuri style it is supposed to be similar to a way fugu is served. Perhaps due to a similarity in the texture.

                                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                  kosmose7 Oct 1, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                                  I remember dining at Restaurant Nippon 30 years ago when I was a college student. That time, Hatsuhana used to be ranked as #1 sushi restaurant in New York.

                                                                                  As for fugu in New York, I know it is not any where near the quality of tora fugu I used to eat in Japan or Korea, but I crave it so much that I can't help but to order it here despite the inferior quality and exorbitant prices.

                                                                                2. re: kosmose7
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  nomadmanhattan Oct 1, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                                                  Hi all, this article affirms that Nippon, for sure, serves torafugu.

                                                                                  "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one supplier, Wako International Corp., to import tora-fugu. The company, whose president Nobuyoshi Kuraoka owns Restaurant Nippon in New York".

                                                                                  http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bl...

                                                                                  1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                    kosmose7 Oct 1, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                                    I remeber more than 30 years ago when torafugu was prohibited from being imported into the US due to its fatal poison, Japanese companies appealed for a lift on the ban submitting a video tape (there were no CD's or USB's then lol) showing step-by-step process of removing the poison from fugu by licensed Jananese chefs

                                                                                    1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                      f
                                                                                      foodwhisperer Oct 1, 2013 05:13 PM

                                                                                      I first ate at Nippon in 1978, so at least it has some credibility in my sushi life. When I ate there, I think I was the only non Japanese person in there. Those were the days when sushi was not well known to Westerners. But the fish in NYC is much higher quality now.

                                                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                        n
                                                                                        nomadmanhattan Oct 1, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                                                        But what happened these years? It was the first (1963) Japanese restaurant in NYC. But they are no longer the #1.

                                                                                        1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                          f
                                                                                          foodwhisperer Oct 1, 2013 06:30 PM

                                                                                          Hatsuhana was #1 for probably 20 years. Hatsuhana is better than Nippon still. Things change. Chefs get better, fish gets better. Hatsuhana still good, expensive, but not special. 15 East is much better IMO. Nippon I haven't been to in ages, but back in the day you couldn't get real bluefin otoro, it all went to Japan. Hardly any places even had shima aji or engawa. Not too many fish from japan were served. I did have great chawanmushi back then though. The fish today is way better than years ago. The popularity of sushi has gone wild. When it first got popular amongst Americans, it was California rolls and spicy tuna rolls and Futomaki that was popular. Most new sushi eaters here didn't like the shiny fish. Things change.

                                                                                          1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                            n
                                                                                            nomadmanhattan Oct 1, 2013 07:39 PM

                                                                                            I still like Hatsuhana, the fish there always fresh. But like you said, nothing special.

                                                                                            Yes things change. But a good restaurants shall adjust, evolve and keep improving as time goes on.

                                                                                            1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                              f
                                                                                              foodwhisperer Oct 2, 2013 06:40 AM

                                                                                              I don't like the lack of personal contact at Hatsuhana. At 15 East, Ichimura, Azabu, Blue Ribbon,Kanoyama, Jewel Bako, Kura, and more I get plenty of personal contact and good sushi , which is part of the sushi experience I like.

                                                                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                                n
                                                                                                nomadmanhattan Oct 2, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                                Agree. That is why I usually go to Hatsuhana for business dinner when I don't interact with the chef. I frequent Azabu and many other izakaya by myself because I know the chef and I get personalized services. I enjoy the interaction.

                                                                                  2. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                    n
                                                                                    nomadmanhattan Sep 30, 2013 07:40 PM

                                                                                    So I heard. I vaguely remembered the one I tried at Kanoyama was said to be shipped from JP.

                                                                                    It is very easy to find Fugu in HK and we usually eat it sashimi style. Obviously only specialist should be allowed to prepare fugu because there are about 30-40 poisoning cases are reported every year.Some people die after the deadly delicious bites :/

                                                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                      h
                                                                                      hans1753 Oct 1, 2013 09:53 AM

                                                                                      I might be mistaken, but I believe I have heard of many restaurants serving farmed fugu. . . I cannot remember the specifics, but the farmers raise the fish from hatchlings using a closed system, preventing the toxins from developing in the absence of natural predators. . . the fish is ordered in advance. If you want to try the "real thing" you will definitely need to travel to Japan.

                                                                                      second the the Long Island blowfish tempura Neta has. . . different fish, but so tasty. Reminded me of fish collar.

                                                                            4. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                              kosmose7 Sep 28, 2013 01:32 PM

                                                                              Azusa, a Midtown Japanese restaurant, also serves fugu hire zake (ふぐひれ酒) in season, as a part of 'Shimonoseki-tora fugu' dinner.

                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: kosmose7
                                                                                n
                                                                                nomadmanhattan Sep 28, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                                                @kosmose7

                                                                                Thanks for the tip! I only been there for a business lunch a while back and never got a chance to check out their dinner. How would you comment on the food there?

                                                                                1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                  kosmose7 Sep 28, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                                                  Azusa was first recommended by my Japanese friends, and it serves traditional style Japanese dishes. Nothing fancy, but the food is pretty decent and the place is patronized by many Japanese customers (You know there are many Japanese expats around that area).

                                                                                  1. re: kosmose7
                                                                                    n
                                                                                    nomadmanhattan Sep 28, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                                    Yeah, some of the best Japanese restaurants are concentrated in midtown due to the fact that many Japanese patrons are there. While I would travel for food when time permits, I am mostly a downtown girl since I work/live in downtown. After a long day at work, I would love to just sit at a izakaya, chill and sip my sake. Like all Jap business men do.

                                                                                    The good thing is, there are more and more good Japanese options emerging in downtown now, in Tribeca and W. V. and LES. All just short walk/cab from me :)

                                                                                    1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                      kosmose7 Sep 28, 2013 02:42 PM

                                                                                      Good for you!

                                                                                      I live and work in midtown and Ise on 56th St. used to be my go-to izakaya place when it had a full sushi bar and osusume (daily recommendation) menu.

                                                                                      After it merged with the next door noodle shop 'Menkui Tei' (which I think was sub par) however, Ise's sushi bar and osusume menu are gone.

                                                                                      They still have a few sashimi choices but no sushi, no uni, etc.

                                                                                      They also have 'daily special menu', but it is almost the same everyday, which is not true osusume.

                                                                                      1. re: kosmose7
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                                                                                        nomadmanhattan Sep 28, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                                                        How about Shimizu on 51st? I went there some times when i was working midtown. There is a sushi bar plus a shochu bar at the back. Food is good and quite authentic though not the best.

                                                                                        1. re: nomadmanhattan
                                                                                          kosmose7 Sep 28, 2013 08:15 PM

                                                                                          I haven't been to Shimizu yet because it's far west from my apartment or my office. But I will try it if I have a chance. Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                          1. re: kosmose7
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                                                                                            nomadmanhattan Sep 29, 2013 12:50 PM

                                                                                            For midtown east, I guess you might already have your best pick. Pour moi, I stick with Hatsuhana (not the one on Park Ave) or Yasuda for sushi; Shochu Bar Hatchan or Aburiya Kinnosuke or Tori Shin for izakaya type of food, though neither of them is izakaya-priced :/ I got way better in Osaka or Tokyo for less lol.

                                                                                        2. re: kosmose7
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                                                                                          foodwhisperer Sep 30, 2013 01:14 PM

                                                                                          55th St area has been a very Japanese area for decades. One of the first sushi restaurants I ever went to is Nada Sushi, which is still in business and in that area. Hatsuhana of course ( 48th) is one f the originals too.

                                                                      2. re: kosmose7
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                                                                        hans1753 Sep 28, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                                        true

                                                          2. re: UES Mayor
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                                                            foodwhisperer Sep 5, 2013 08:52 PM

                                                            I don;t know why you think the best tuna is from Hawaii. If money is a factor, the best tuna that went for $1.76 million dollars was caught off Japan. The giant bluefins caught off Montauk, Mass., Me. Nova Scotia are exceptional. They are so good, the Japanese used to and maybe still do, wait for the tuna boats to come in and ship the good ones right to Japan.
                                                            Yellow Fin and Big Eye are often caught off Hawaii. The biggest bluefin was caught off Nova Scotia and weighed almost 1500 lbs. I think that was back in the 50's. We are now in tuna season off Montauk ( about 80-100 miles out)

                                                            1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                              k
                                                              kevin Sep 10, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                              mustard ? and this guy trained with the infamous jiro ?

                                                              it must be aways away from tokyo.

                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                Peter Cuce Sep 10, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                                I liked the mustard. It wasn't on everything - just a few pieces.

                                                                1. re: kevin
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                                                                  hans1753 Sep 27, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                                  I can think of one place in Japan, Sushi Sho, run by a chef who is also named Nakazawa . . .

                                                                  Anyway, his sushi is characterized by lots of esoteric, old-fashioned techniques that you just don't see in the U.S. There is no rule saying wasabi has to be on sushi all the time.

                                                          3. re: sappidus
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                                                            PorkyBelly Sep 1, 2013 03:44 PM

                                                            Did you notice which reservation time got seated away from Nakazawa and got served by his assistant? I'll be making reservations soon and didn't want to get stuck at that spot.

                                                            1. re: PorkyBelly
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                                                              sappidus Sep 1, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                              This did not occur while I was there. Even though, as at most sushi restaurants I'm aware of, the head chef stands near the apex of the L-shaped counter, he still made every sushi piece and walked it over to the far-end diners himself.

                                                              (I was told that eventually, i.e., in a few weeks, two additional chefs would join Nakazawa-san, but to what extent they'll be for the dining room clientele vs the counter, I cannot say.)

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