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Sep 7, 2013 10:03 PM

Sushi Nakazawa

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.

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  1. 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

    11 Replies
    1. re: kosmose7

      Thanks for the report. I can't wait to try it.
      Did you ask Massa if he was at Nakazawa yet?
      I had an amazing meal at 15 East the other night.

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        I really enjoyed it, although personally, I prefer 15 East's 'shari (vinegared rice)'.

        I only said hello to chef Masato because he had company.

      2. re: kosmose7

        Off topic but what did you think of hi collar? The fruit and whipped cream sandwich sounds......unique. I'm most interested in the coffees though

        1. re: Ttrockwood

          It is just another good addition to the city's coffee scene.
          I wouldn't expect the level of great coffee experiences you have in Japan though.

          May be due to the difference in coffee beans between NY and Japan? Cream quality? Variety of desserts? etc, etc...

          1. re: kosmose7

            I havent tried it yet because I hate coffee in Tokyo, been to a few well known places like Bear Pond, and Streamer. Tokyo coffees tend to be under extracted, and weak. I noticed they offer aeropress, its almost hard to screw up a aeropress brew.

            1. re: Shirang

              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.

              1. re: kosmose7

                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.

                1. 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.

                2. re: kosmose7

                  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?

                  1. re: Shirang

                    I don't recommend omurice. lol
                    I liked gyu-nabe (traditional Japanese beef 'nabe' with miso) sold late at night though.

            2. re: Ttrockwood

              They use beans from Porto Rico in NYC. The coffee is authentically brutal. I love the place but not for their coffee. Japan doesn't have a lot of good coffee but it's getting better.

            1. So they take reservation for one now? I shall give them a call tomorrow.

              BTW, I read through the items you list here but did not notice mantis shrimp. They are not in season any more?

              Last word. How would you compare it to Ichimura, which I recently went and got blown away.

              18 Replies
              1. re: nomadmanhattan

                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.

                1. re: Shirang

                  @ 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 :)

                  1. re: nomadmanhattan

                    A few places in manhattan serve sea pineapple when its in season. It can be a bit harsh to some people so its usually served to regulars and people who ask.

                    1. re: Shirang

                      I love sea pineapple, or hoya (ほや) in Japanese and mong-gae (멍게) in Korean. It tastes great with soy sauce + wasabi, ponzu, or chojang (Korean vinegar chili sauce).

                      Ariyoshi (有吉), a Japanese izakaya in midtown, sometimes serves sea pineapple too.

                      1. re: kosmose7

                        Thank you! Here is mine. It was served with sea urchin. I am dying to have one more bite.

                          1. re: nomadmanhattan

                            Yet some more dishes!
                            I ate them in Seoul, Korea, not in New York though.
                            Sea pineapple and sea urchin pasta.
                            Sea pineapple bibimbap.

                            Now I am hungry!

                            1. re: kosmose7

                              OMG! I make sure to make a pit stop at Seoul, next time I go home! I only been there twice but was long ago.

                              Is it regularly served in most restaurants?

                              1. re: nomadmanhattan

                                It is pretty popular in Korea when in season. Yes.

                                Btw, god, I miss all those wonderful Cantonese dishes in Hong Kong! :)

                                1. re: kosmose7

                                  Do they have sea pineapple in Korean seafood restaurant in Flushing?

                                  I should eat more of it before it comes popular here.

                                  1. re: Monica

                                    Hi Monica. I am sorry I am not sure which restaurants in Flushing have it. I sometimes see Manhattan restaurants offer sea pineapple but not always.

                                  2. re: kosmose7

                                    Tell me about it. I am making must-eat list now for my next trip home :)

                                    1. re: nomadmanhattan

                                      we've been talking about HK seafood and high end cantonese on the board so much lately im totally dying to go back too now

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        I am going to document every bite I have while I am "eating" my way home and share with the board.:)

                                        1. re: nomadmanhattan


                                          i think it needs to be documented bc there is so little info on the board about it (alot of misconceptions as well)

                          2. re: Shirang

                            Ah, good to know.

                            I like sea pineapple - it has such unique texture and taste. But I could understand why it is not as popular as, say otoro.

                        1. re: Shirang

                          Iced cold fish is a result of the NYC Health Dept, putting fear in these restaurants to meet their temperature requirements. It's happening everywhere
                          Lau: i look forward to your review

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            thanks, need to finish one from LA which is almost done and ill write it up stat

                      2. i loved it, i ate here yesterday...ill be writing a full review with pics etc soon

                        def among the best, maybe the best

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Lau

                          Did they serve Japanese sardine (Iwashi)? It suppose to be in season now. I had it the other night at Ichimura, the fresh was so rich and buttery, oyishi!

                          1. re: nomadmanhattan

                            no they didn't

                            there was a surprising amt of american seafood, i took notes though and im writing the post now, so you'll be able to see everything soon

                            1. re: nomadmanhattan

                              They didn't when I was there. Here's my rough notes. I might have missed one or two or got some wrong.

                              Smoked salmon
                              Clam (lemongrass)
                              Giant Clam
                              Jack Mackerel 
                              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
                              Salmon roe
                              Roe - great
                              Tuna hand roll from Tokyo bay
                              Extra: swordfish Panama

                                1. re: Peter Cuce

                                  One follow up question. Did he change seasoning of the fish?

                                  1. 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)
                                    Giant Clam
                                    Jack Mackerel
                                    Iwashi ( sardine)
                                    2 different Shrimp
                                    tile fish
                                    Golden Eye Snapper
                                    Bonito (smoked)
                                    3 types of tuna
                                    California uni
                                    live scallop
                                    salmon roe
                                    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.

                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                        I'm glad you enjoyed it. Curious--how much did they charge for the extra piece? We were too full both times.