An Atlantan in NY: Jiro Dreams of Sushi…Sort Of.

Nakazawa: West Village, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA

I took my mum to this place on her birthday because she had never had omakase before.  Omakase is where you literally sit and eat whatever the sushi chef creates.  Usually it’s done at very fine sushi establishments, and the quality of the fish is out of this world.  The only drawback is the bill at the end.  On average, omakase runs between 10 to 15 pieces of sushi.  Some restaurants will offer you the option of sushi-sashimi where a sashimi plate is normally first served before the sushi plates.

If you’ve never seen the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, I highly recommend it.  I actually loved sushi before I saw this on Amazon, but it is my dream to be able to eat at Jiro’s.  That being said, since reservations are only taken one year in advance and must be made in person, I highly doubt that I will make it there.  On top of it, Jiro was in his 80s (or was it his 90s) when the documentary was made.  His apprentice, Nakazawa, was the sous sushi chef who was in charge of making the infamous egg omelet sushi, tamago (たまご)。It was said that when he finally got the egg right and received approval from Jiro himself, the man broke down and cried.

Nakazawa - tamago

As this was a really last minute reservation, we were unable to get sushi bar reservations.  Also, they confirm your reservation 48hours ahead of time with a credit card booking.   And even if there is an opening with a last minute sushi bar cancellation, you cannot change your dining room reservation to the sushi bar.  I feel like though this is the one drawback to this, especially since I had asked specifically if there was a waiting list that can transfer dining room reservations to sushi bar reservations.

They begin with the different kinds of shoyu or soy sauce.  There are so many types of soy sauce as well as the ingredients they use with it like shiso leaf and fresh yuzu.  I had never seen what a real yuzu fruit looked like until I went to Nakazawa.  In addition, you get to sniff all the types of soy sauce, and you can tell the differences between them.  It’s almost like whiskey.

Nakazawa - shoyu & ingredients

All the sushi tasted great.  It’s ridiculously fresh.  However, Nakazawa does it Jiro-style where the soy-sauce is brushed onto the pieces of fish or on the rice prior to service.  You do get to taste the different types of soy-sauce which makes this place quite unique.  Admittedly though, I like to dip my own soy sauce which puts Yasuda on top of Nakazawa at this point.  I’ve simply placed a few pictures just to show how ridiculously fresh the fish is.

Nakazawa - aji, ebi, dungeness crab

Nakazawa - burri, wild yellowtail

Nakazawa - salmon (sea salmon with sea salt, smoked salmon with house soy sauce, soy marinated light seared kiri salmon

Nakazawa - ikka

Nakazawa - hotate scallop

Nakazawa - tuna lineup (2)

Nakazawa - uni

Isn’t it just the most loveliest thing you ever seen? Some of the best sushi ever! I highly recommend this place if you want to try just a little bit of Jiro-style sushi.  One thing I have to advise though: if you sit in the dining room, be prepared for some unsavory patrons.  You get all kinds when you have someone as famous as Nakazawa.  For one, there was a ridiculously loud man and his work companion behind me who were just so obnoxiously rude.  I could barely hear our server explain the different types of fish and soy-sauce used.  Another Asian-American guy was not only class-less and actually stating he wasn’t going to stand even after his British friend said that it’s proper manners to stand when a female leaves and returns to the table, he kept talking so loud that I finally looked over and stared him straight in the eye until he was so uncomfortable he shut up.  If there’s one thing that I wish Nakazawa would do is to create a pleasant experience for the majority of their customers.  Is it really worth to lose 3 or 4 patrons over that 1 or 2 rude patron?  For this experience alone, I wouldn’t come back to Nakazawa, especially when I can get just as good sushi and maybe better elsewhere in NYC and have my eating environment protected.

You can find Nakazawa here:

23 Commerce St, New York, NY 10014
I do think that every establishment deserves a try though.  It is possible that you may get a seat at the sushi bar and not have ridiculously loud and obnoxious eaters behind and to your side.  Even if they do, maybe your server might be ballsy enough to say something to those social offenders.  Until next time!
This entry was published on September 3, 2016 at 18:12. It’s filed under Japanese, restaurants, series, sushi, The Gastronome and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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