I went tonight and I'm glad I went, and I would say this place is in the top tier. Its very different in style than Ichimura and 15 East. The rice is slightly sharper and slightly less sweet than 15 East or Yasuda. I prefer the rice at 15 East.
Live scallops that were still quivering was excellent and loved his Ikura, more soy and konbu flavor than most places. I could have sworn he switched up two different temps for the rice for various fish preps. Santa Barbara uni was served, but I prefer Hokkaido uni. The tamago was good but not my type of tamago, it was very sweet and dense like an egg custard. I prefer the castella or dashimaki style tamagos.
For Silverjay regarding the mustard on tuna, he told us Wagarashi, so I asked him, and he said "Karashi janai Wagarashi desu", not sure if he was joking or there was an actual difference between Karashi and Wagarashi. It was very subtle, not in your face. It was hard to chit chat with Nakazawa san or ask him questions because the place was jam packed, and he was swamped.
I noticed the dining room opened up, and people sitting in the dining room were served 3 pieces at a time from the counter. And I did see a solo diner.
I went yesterday and it was indeed an experience. It is among the top tier sushiyas in New York, together with 15 East and Ichimura. I particularly loved live scallop and uni, as well as shrimp and tamago. Chef Nakazawa is a cheerful and down-to-earth person and he made the whole experience even more enjoyable.
Speaking of 15 East, today I ran into chef Masato at a Japanese coffee shop that opened in the old Rai Rai Ken place, called Hi Collar. LOL
As they say, "à chacun son goût".
I hate New York coffees because I think in general, they are not flavorful. Coffee cream does not taste as good as in Japan. And I hate it when they serve iced coffee with sugar, not syrup.
I also don't like cakes or other sweets to go with coffee sold at NY coffee shops.
You don't like "all" of the cakes or sweets sold with coffee in NYC coffee shops? Have you tried every single one?
What do you mean by flavorful? That's a term without meaning as applied to coffee unless you define it first. What coffee have you tried in NYC?
What is coffee cream?
Most good coffee shops in NYC offer simple syrup, but of course we don't have packaged gomme syrup like they do in Japan.
It's hard to screw up aeropress unless the coffee beans you're using are over-roasted and low quality. Then it really doesn't matter what brew method you use. I have to say though, that Hi Collar does manage to extract some fruity flavor out of the crappy beans they use, but not enough to make me want to pay those prices for that coffee. They told me they plan to roast their own beans using a tiny roaster they have in the window - I can't image that that will be any better.
re: Peter Cuce
> You don't like "all" of the cakes or sweets sold with coffee in NYC coffee shops?
>Have you tried every single one?
That sounds like you can not say anything about the NY or Japanese coffee scene either unless you try every cup of coffee sold in those cities. Everybody has different tastes and please learn to live with that.
I have searched far and wide and couldn't find that many cakes that I like in New York. I am not saying they are bad. They are just not my type.
Coffee cream is heavy cream + milk.
There are some shops in Japan that give you sugar instead of syrup too, but far more shops in NY do and it annoys me.
I only drink coffee black, even though I love hokkaido milk and cream.
I noticed they have counter culture coffee now, the Las Milpas is really good. I had a lot of trouble getting the right extraction at home with the Las Milpas, ended up buying a candy thermometer and finding out my new electric kettle only heated hot water to 195.
How is the omurice?
I saw one solo diner.
I wasnt served any shako, I dont think its in season but right now is Ikura season and Nakazawa's ikura is great.
I've only been to Ichimura once and it was very recent. Even though Nakazawa is straight up sushi, no apps, sashimi, I still prefer it over Ichimura. I loved the apps at Ichimura, but I wasnt crazy about the sashimi and sushi. When I went in July, there wasnt much in the variety of fish, like the same fish in the sashimi course was repeated in the sushi course. The fish in the sashimi and sushi courses was really ice cold, not sure if this is the norm because around that time the doh was cracking down on fish temps at sushi restaurants. Also every piece of fish was seasoned the same way, not sure if he switched up different soy sauces for each piece, but it may have been the ice cold fish that made everything taste the same. I will give Ichimura another chance one day, I have feeling the ice cold fish wasnt his fault.
@ Shirang Thanks for the details.My experience from Ichimur might be biased since I went with a friend of Ichimura san. So we did got some extra treats, but by and large, similar to what were served to other eaters the same night. But what I got was quite different from yours.
I loved the apps, especially the aged abalone. They were carefully designed - not too overwhelming yet perfectly "woke up" my taste bud and got ready for the main dishes to come. The sashimi and sushi courses were not exact the same fish, with some duplication. Considering he only used whatever were in season, I think that is fine. The most unforgetable sashimi I had was sea pineapple from Korea, which was rarely seen in the city. Actually, that was the first time I ever saw it outside of Japan and Korea.
About the seasoning. I think there were some nuance differences - not from the change of sauce on the fish, which was just a thin layer, but from the seasoning of the fish itself. Some aged 5 days, some aged 15 days etc.
I did not notice the fish was too cold.
May be you should give it a second try as they change itens seasonally :)
They didn't when I was there. Here's my rough notes. I might have missed one or two or got some wrong.
Baby Shad - fave
Mantis - fave
Blue shrimp from South Pacific - fave
Striped jack - fave (mustardy)
Striped jack slight smoke
Med fatty tuna - so delicious
Fatty tuna - so good
Roe - great
Tuna hand roll from Tokyo bay
Extra: swordfish Panama
re: Peter Cuce
On my recent first time meal at Nakazawa, I was excited to be there and meet the newly "famous" sushi chef. He was very cheery and communicative, even funny.
The service was excellent. The sake list had some very expensive sake i.e. $1400. I had a good one for around $200. In a strange way it was Brooklyn Fare-like. 10 seats and everyone is served the same fish at the same time. There are 3 seatings a night. The tables were getting 2 pieces at a time ( another post said 3 pieces, maybe they changed this).
They have a very efficient system, getting out the sushi with no lag in service. Very much credit goes to the guy who is cutting the fish. This guy was non-stop working, shucking scallops, steaming shrimp, cutting fish.
The basic list of sushi items was quite similar to Peter Cuce's list. Roughly it was
2 salmon ( one heavily smoked by hand)
Iwashi ( sardine)
2 different Shrimp
Golden Eye Snapper
3 types of tuna
tamago ( my favorite)
extra: anago ( most of the diners at the sushi bar chose scallop for their extra piece)
Disappointed that they don't include the extra piece as part of the omakase, it costs extra.
For me the tamago a standout dish. A bit denser than 15 East. I wouldn't call it sweet by any means.
The rice was perfect. Although as another poster indicated, there was a change in temperature to a bit warmer later in the meal. My guess , is they ran out of the first batch of rice and this rice didn't have a chance to cool at all, it had nothing to do with serving warmer rice with different fish.
I enjoyed watching the guy cutting the fish. He had good knife skills. However, For me part of a great sushi experience is having sushi from the #1 chef, from start to finish. Nakazawa-san doesn't cut the fish, but he does prepare the sushi and serves it to you. So I didn't get the opportunity to see Nakazawa-san's knife skills.
I wish they had two restrooms. Same goes for 15 East.
Overall, this is a top tier place and I'd go back just for the tamago and his hand smoked bonito.
Went back to Nakazawa, thanks to a fellow CH'er needing an eating companion to satisfy the 2 person minimum on a reservation.
The fish was very good. The staff had two assistants that are from other restaurants I like. One from Blue Ribbon izakaya, one from 15 East.
Nakazawa-san was pleasant and the sushi was excellent.
I do wonder if anyone takes offense when he tells them how to eat sushi. I know he is being informative but he is very direct in telling a patron, " eat it with hand, not chopstick". I happen to always eat it with my hands, but I've seen many Japanese people ( mostly younger ones) eat it with chopsticks. Also, he says to people" one bite, one bite, not two bites"... Sushi is meant to be eaten in one bite, but I wonder how people take that. I actually ate my anago with two bites, but nothing was said to me.
Hi-lites of the meal were the smoked salmon with cherry blossom. Heavily smoked and delicious.
Chu toro was excellent. Better than the Otoro.
Live Shrimp( see photo attached) was a real treat, and it was very very alive :).
The tamago was the best I've had anywhere. It was not the sweet type at all.
The rice ( shari) was excellent for me. I think he leans toward old-style of a lot of vinegar, which I like a lot.