you probably already know the story: Daisuke Nakazawa is famous from ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’, a documentary about the three michelin star sushi-ya, Sukiyabashi Jiro by Jiro Ono in tokyo. in the movie, nakazawa was the young apprentice who cried when Jiro acknowledged that he had finally made an acceptable tamago after over 200 tries.
after training with Jiro for over 11 years, nakazawa briefly worked with fellow Jiro student, Shiro Kashiba in Seattle, Washington until he was contacted by Alessandro Borgognone from new york. Borgognone facebook messaged nakazawa with the help of google translate after he watched ‘jiro dreams of sushi’ and the rest is now history….
how to get reservations at sushi nakazawa:
nakazawa personally serves omakase ONLY at the sushi bar Monday thru Friday and reservations open up exactly 30 days in advance online. unless you have a lot of money to blow or simply dont care, the bar seats are a must to eat at sushi nakazawa.
to make reservations online:
reservation for the sushi bar is one of the hardest reservation in new york city and it does require some skills. remember the college days when you had to register for the most popular classes online, you have to wait til exactly the time, hit refresh, and snatch the class right away. reservation for the sushi bar is the same way: go to opentable and set the date and time. the sushi bar ONLY books parties of twos and dining room can be booked up to four. there are three seatings a night at the counter: 5PM, 7PM, and 9:30PM (choose 9:30pm for better chances).
i would test it out by hitting the ‘find a table’ because you will run into the security check the 1st time which will slow you down when you make the reservation at midnight. after go thru the security check, go back to the opentable reservation page and wait til 12 am.
have a credit card ready because it requires a credit card number to hold the reservation.
to make reservations by phone:
dining room reservations may also be made by phone at 212.924.2212 between 12:00pm – 4:30pm daily.
to make reservations by your credit card concierge:
if you have an amex platinum or a black card, you can also ask your concierge to book a BAR seat for you.
similar to Jiro, Nakazawa serves an omakase that consists of only 21 pieces of sushi. no appetizers, no sashimi. if you are still not full, you can order more sushi a la carte at the end of the meal. the fish changes daily depending on what’s in season.
unlike Jiro, however, Nakazawa caters to americans. he doesn’t just serve traditional sushi; instead, he focuses on local fish and incorporates flavors that are more catered to the american palate into his sushi. i am usually not a fan of this style, but i have to admit every piece of sushi i had at sushi nakazawa was delicious and all flavors complemented the fish.
as pictured, we had:
scallop (nakazawa was demonstrating the scallop was still moving when served)
cuttlefish with shiso leaf
saw-edged perch with yuzu
torched goldeneye snapper
spotted prawn (nakazawa first posed with the live prawns for everyone to take a picture. then, he yanked off its head, striped its shell and covered the raw shrimp over a cushion of rice.)
snow crab with innards
yellowtail 7 days aged
zuke (lean tuna)
akami (medium fat tuna)
otoro (fatty tuna)
uni from hokkaido
TAMAGO (the texture is between a cake and a pudding)!!!
a note on the rice: very well seasoned and not one rice stuck to my finger when i picked it with my hands. i had rice stuck to my fingers when i eat at sushi Yasuda.
the sake pairing is a bargain at $45 for regular, and $80 for premium (6-7 pours each). we opted for both so we can try a larger variety of sake. i found the premium sakes are smoother than the regular ones. we got to try sake such as: rose sake, sparkling sake, milky sake, and sake made with 2 types of rice.
$150 per person at the sushi counter and $120 pp in dining room. gratitude and taxes are NOT included.
the meal at sushi nakazawa was def my favorite omakase/tasting menu experience by far. i mean how many times do you get to be served by the chef personally? not only does nakazawa personally serve delicious sushi to you, he also tries to entertain you throughout the meal. you can say ‘sayonara’ to the live shrimps before he kills them and make into sushi in couple of seconds and get to eat a scallop that’s still moving. of course, if you want to be served by nakazawa’s apprentices and dont want to be interrupted by jumping shrimps, you are welcomed to sit in the dining room as well.
did i mention the black leather and chrome swivel seats are the most comfortable bar seats i have ever sat in?! besides the nakazawa’s signature tamagos, these chairs were def highlights of my night. i usually hate to sit at the sushi bar because the bar seats are usually very uncomfortable. the seats at sushi nakazawa were so incredibly comfortable, i didnt want to leave them to go to the bathroom or go home.
how to enjoy a great evening at sushi nakazawa:
dont think too hard about who serves the best sushi in new york city or how nakazawa is compared to Jiro. ive never been to Jiro nor have i tried every sushi joint in new york, but i can def tell you this is one of the most delicious sushi meals ive had in my life and def the most memorable. just go, sit back, and enjoy it! all you need to do is pick up the sushi and put in your mouth. although not everything we ate was the best in town, the overall experience was def the most enjoyable. the dinner was so relaxing (maybe its the sake), i even started chatting and made friends with the couple sat next to us. delicious sushi + a lot of sake + incredibly comfortable chairs pretty much guarantees a good time.
video: nakazawa prepares live shrimp:
video: nakazawa makes sushi
video: nakazawa prepares fresh wasabi from wasabi root.
dont be late to your reservation because nakazawa serves the entire group (10 people) together.
arrive early if you want to be seated right in front of nakazawa. we were the 1st couple to arrive among the 10 people for our seating, we got seated first and right in front of nakazawa.
23 Commerce St
New York, NY 10014
b/t S 7th Ave & Bedford St
Phone number (212) 924-2212
BNPB rating: ♥♥♥♥♥