2 Years Later: Sushi Nakazawa and Cosme, Still Good

It’s always nice to see that a restaurant you really love but haven’t been to in awhile is still killing it several years later. I did a recent status check on two of my 2014 favorites, Sushi Nakazawa and Cosme, and I’m happy to report that both of these places are just as good as ever.

Sushi Nakazawa
23 Commerce St, New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-2212

chef daisuke nakazawa
chef daisuke nakazawa

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Favorite Foods of 2014

2014 was a good year for food. It was a year that involved an unprecedented amount of travel, due to the record number of friends getting married this year, and many of their ceremonies took place internationally. As a result, this created many opportunities for interesting meals–breakfast sushi at Tsukiji market or unripe strawberries in Copenhagen are not experiences that can be easily had back at home.

While the international meals were memorable, the majority of my favorite meals took place in New York, and Kansas City and New Orleans weren’t too shabby, either. Honestly, with so many chefs training at the same restaurants and then setting shop elsewhere, you can find really good cooking anywhere. But that also means that many of the meals and food trends seem all too similar. It’s amazing how many small plates, Brooklyn-esque farm-to-table restaurants exist in the world.

I personally preferred those meals that still retained their regional traits to the ambiguous New World Global cuisine that proliferated everywhere else. So my favorite food moments in 2014 crosses many borders and price points, a reflection of the glamorous and janky meals that were unique to the cities I ate them in. In no particular order, here is a round up of my favorite foods in 2014.

1. the z-man sandwich from oklahoma joe’s in kansas city

oklahoma joe's - the z-man sandwich

2. the melt-in-your-mouth sea eel from nakamura in tokyo

nakamura - 18 sea eel

3. the epic peking duck dinner at decoy in new york

peking duck

4. the ricotta gnocchi from the eddy in new york

ricotta gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, squash, rosemary and hazelnuts

5. the husk meringue with corn mousse dessert from cosme in new york

husk meringue and corn mousse

6. the duck carnitas from cosme in new york

duck carnitas with white onions, radish and salsa verde

7. the duck fat rice with kale and chinese sausage from tuome in new york

rice with kale, chinese sausage and duck fat

8. the beef tartare from manfreds in copenhagen

beef tartare with watercress

9. the breakfast sushi from tsukiji market in tokyo


10. the omakase at sushi nakazawa in new york

nakazawa hamming it up with shrimp

11. the whitefish donburi bowl from ivan ramen slurp shop in new york

ivan ramen slurp shop - smoked whitefish donburi

12. the kale and wild mushroom risotto from gato in new york

kale and wild mushroom paella with crispy artichokes and egg

13. the lobster ravioli from cherche midi in new york

homemade lobster ravioli

14. the #1 bagel sandwich from black seed bagels in new york

black seed - sandwich 1

15. the butcher’s steak at st. anselm in new york (my pictures were so crappy and not post-worthy, but i would highly recommend that you brave the no reservation policy and make the trek out to brooklyn for this amazing piece of meat)

I Dream of Sushi Nakazawa

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.

nakazawa hamming it up with shrimp
nakazawa hamming it up with shrimp

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.

chef prepping his egg custard masterpeice
chef prepping his egg custard masterpiece

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.

[portfolio_slideshow id=6495]

Sushi Nakazawa
23 Commerce St (between Bedford and 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-2212
$150 per person at the bar, $120 in the main dining room
Make reservations here