Sushi Nakazawa Impressions After Two Meals
I've been fortunate enough to dine at Sushi Nakazawa twice in the past two weeks—once at the sushi bar and once, last night, in the dining room. I will say that the sushi bar is far superior and worth the $30 premium, but my meal last night was with a party of four, larger than the bar can accommodate.
The interaction with Nakazawa himself at the sushi bar is incredibly fun. His energy and sense of humor makes for a fun meal. He even recognized us again when we walked out last evening, as did the owner who thanked us for returning. Touches like that, along with the attention paid by the servers, somms, runners, etc., make the experience akin to Per Se or Eleven Madison Park.
About 5-6 pieces were different last night than our first visit. I didn't take notes last night, but both visits started out with Alaskan king salmon, hay-smoked chum salmon, a scallop (with a healthy bite from yuzukosho), and geoduck (yum).
At the bar, this was followed by a fish that Nakazawa introduced as gingkofish, but I can't quite figure out what it was. Next was golden-eye snapper and fluke.
At our table, we were served cod with cod milt (not our table's favorite, but milt is pretty divisive), along with another white fish I cannot remember.
Both times, the mackerel was phenomenal. Nakazawa is pickling and aging his mackerel for six days. I'm typically not a mackerel fan, but I've enjoyed all three variations from him—horse mackerel, pickled mackerel, and Spanish mackerel. Last night, there was a beautiful piece of herring served alongside the horse and pickled mackerel.
The first visit, we had the raw tiger shrimp and the steamed blue shrimp, but last night there was only blue shrimp. I personally prefer the steamed shrimp. Perfectly sweet, warm, and not tough in the least.
One interesting thing of note: on our first visit, we had three pieces of tuna, but last night we just had chu-toro and o-toro. The o-toro last night was seared.
Other pieces I remember: triggerfish, fluke, bream, yellowtail (two kinds), hay-smoked bonito. Pretty standard, but Nakazawa's treatment of each individual piece makes them each outstanding. The uni, ikura, and eel were stellar on both visits. My boyfriend could eat about 10 pieces of Nakazawa's ikura. We also really loved his rice.
On our first visit we did the sake pairing. Initially reluctant about it (we like wine and not sake), we enjoyed it quite a bit and were surprised at the variety. It's a value, and I certainly recommend it. Last night, after telling the somm what we liked from the pairing, he guided us to an excellent bottle for the table at a nice price-point, so if you're overwhelmed by the wine or sake, defer to the somm.
I'll end this by making a note that I've not had a lot of extremely high-end sushi experiences before (or any, really, despite a lot of traditional fine dining), but I hope that despite my affection for delivery sushi sometimes, this write-up is helpful to others. It is a very, very good restaurant.
I also thank you very much. Great report. It gives one a very good idea of what to expect. Btw I love fish milt. The first time i had it , the chef called them "male eggs".
Like Ellenost, I wish they took single diners. Also I've had no luck at 12 midnite trying to get a reservation on line.
My favorite preparation of milt was when Fergus Henderson cooked for two nights at the John Dory Oyster Bar a few years ago—he served a fabulous seared milt on toast. I can certainly understand why some people don't like it though! ;)
I'm surprised that I've been lucky twice now with reservations. The best advice I can give to have your browser on the page at ~11:55 and then just start click "refresh" until you see a reservation pop-up. It is worth mentioning that I didn't get my first pick of time for either reservation; I just took what was available—a 5 p.m. at the bar, and a 6:15 p.m. at a table, but who cares? Hope this helps.