Sushi Nakazawa needs no introduction. Everyone knows the story about how Jiro apprentice Daisuke Nakazawa broke down crying after his 200th attempt at making egg custard was finally met with approval by his boss Jiro Ono. Now Nakazawa runs his own sushi restaurant in the West Village, and he has to cry no longer, because all of the hard work paid off. Sushi Nakazawa lives up to the hype, and the 21-piece omakase is one of the best in the city.
In my opinion, what sets this omakase apart from others is the lighthearted, playful interaction between Nakazawa and his guests. Omakase can be a bit of a serious and intimidating experience, in which the relationship between the chef and guest is one marked by taciturn compliance. Of course, if you are a sushi bar regular, then the relationship can get more personal, but getting to that point takes a bit of work.
Nakazawa, on the other hand, is always cracking jokes, dangling live shrimp in the air, accompanied by the sounds of manufactured screams to dramatize their approaching fate, and then requesting $10 for any guest who takes a picture. These ice breakers created a relaxed environment that also facilitated mingling between the guests, in which recommendations for favorite places in Tokyo were traded freely throughout the 2 hours.
This is only if you are seated at the 12 person bar, which I highly recommend. It’s quite something to have Nakazawa personally serve you a gleaming piece of Santa Barbara uni as soon as he makes it. And really, there’s not much to critique here. Every piece of fish is extremely fresh, and while I enjoyed some pieces more than others, the degree of difference between my favorites and the rest was extremely minute. The creamy, buttery uni is insanely good, the undisputed highlight of the meal, and that famous egg custard doesn’t disappoint. What follows is a slide show of each of the 21 pieces, with stars in the captions for the best ones.
23 Commerce St (between Bedford and 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10014
$150 per person at the bar, $120 in the main dining room
Make reservations here