Restaurant Review: Sushi Nakazawa in the West Village. In the movie, Mr. Nakazawa was the young apprentice who cried when Mr. Ono conceded that he had finally made an acceptable egg custard.
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With his shaved scalp, bowed head, downturned eyes and meek acceptance of Mr. Ono’s criticisms, he gave the impression of a novice Zen monk who was accustomed to abuse in the name of enlightenment. He also gave you the idea that Jiro could be kind of a pill.)Mr. Nakazawa must have learned something, because his fish often tastes as if it has been coaxed along until it’s as delicious as it’s ever going to get. Each slice has a slightly different temperature, affecting flavor and texture, whether it spreads on your tongue or stays firm and chewy. All good sushi chefs do this, but Mr. Nakazawa seems to be able to hit any point on the thermometer with an assassin’s aim, locating a temperature for yellowtail belly that makes its buttery richness into a time- release pleasure bomb.
He gets other effects by skipping the standard wasabi smear. He dabs Japanese mustard under medium- fatty tuna and the hay- smoked skipjack, bringing out its bloody- lip tang.
Yuzukosho, a paste of bright yuzu peel and burning chiles, bites playfully into the cool sweetness of a sea scallop lopped from its shell just a minute before it’s served, its edges still fluttering. Watch Joyful Noise Online Forbes here. That scallop dish is distinctively his, and once you’ve had it you’d know it anywhere. Not everything I ate was in that category, and not everything is the best in town. The eel and octopus at 1. East are still undefeated, and possibly the rice, too, although Mr. Nakazawa’s has a wonderfully rich, rounded flavor.
The $4. 50 menu at Masa may glide to a higher pitch of pleasure, but the most striking dishes arrive before the sushi starts. No restaurant in town does as much with sushi, and sushi alone, as Nakazawa. Behind the counter of Sushi Nakazawa, the chef is nothing like the movie’s humble stepchild. He laughs, he jokes, he handles live animals. One evening he held out a tray of sea urchins, their spikes groping the air, and asked each of us to choose one.
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Sushi definition, cold boiled rice moistened with rice vinegar, usually shaped into bite-size pieces and topped with raw seafood (nigiri-zushi) or formed into a long.
The tiger shrimp he set down on white plates another night had more energy. With a flick of its tail one jumped up in front of a woman at the counter’s end.
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She jumped even higher. Another customer, more game, picked up the shrimp just above its wriggling legs, pointed toward his mouth in pantomime (Mr. Watch Species: The Awakening Online Facebook.
Nakazawa is learning English), and asked the chef, “What is the best way?”Photo. The final, transporting piece of sushi: the egg custard Mr. Nakazawa cried over in “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” It glides along the border of pudding and cake, and it tastes like an ending.
Credit. Daniel Krieger for The New York Times The best way is to wait until Mr. Nakazawa yanks off its head, strips its shell and drapes the raw shrimp over a cushion of rice. Everything is gently pressed over rice, in the two- century- old Edo style of sushi that Mr. Nakazawa respects and refines.
Sashimi is not served, and there are no hot dishes from the kitchen. Sushi Nakazawa operates more like a tasting- menu restaurant than most Japanese sushi places.
Mr. Nakazawa does not take requests until the very end, when he offers to sell you a second taste of anything. He does work around dietary restrictions, though. He also notices who’s left- handed, and sets their sushi down with the ends pointing at 8 o’clock and 2 o’clock so it’s easier to pick up with the fingers.)There are three seatings a night at the counter. Reservations there can be made only for parties of two, which is needlessly unaccommodating; sushi counter dining is one of Japan’s great gifts to solo diners, and I can’t imagine Sushi Nakazawa would have trouble filling the slots. Reservations for the 2.
You can’t see the show from the cheap seats, and the room, while perfectly comfortable, will not be appearing in any interior- design magazines. But the sushi is rushed to the tables while the rice is still warm, which is crucial, and the dining room is the place to sit if you want to have a conversation without interruptions from jumping shrimp. Interruptions from Rick Zouad, the sommelier, are welcome, though. I am skeptical of pairings with tasting menus, but Mr. Zouad’s choices flattered each style of sake, and the price, $4. There are some very tempting half- bottles of Champagne from Chartogne- Taillet and other small producers or, for $1.
Champagnes, a 1. 7- ounce Japanese lager brewed by Echigo from sushi rice that hits the reset button as effectively as pickled ginger. Sushi Nakazawa is owned by Alessandro Borgognone, whose other restaurant is Patricia’s, his family’s place in the Bronx. At home one night, Mr. Borgognone watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and announced that he was going to bring one of the chefs to New York. His wife, reasonably, said no, you’re not.
Luckily, he ignored her, and eventually found Mr. Nakazawa working in Seattle for another former apprentice of Mr. Ono’s. The trip from the Bronx to the West Village is probably easier to make than the trip from “spaghetti Frank Sinatra” to raw triggerfish under a squiggle of its own liver. Every once in a while, the distance tells. Mr. Borgognone has been bringing in sorbets made by his father at Patricia’s.
The gesture is lovely, but superfluous. The egg custard Mr.
Nakazawa cried over, made with mountain yam and shrimp, is the final, transporting piece of sushi. It hovers over the border between pudding and cake, and it tastes like an ending. Welcome to New York, Mr.
Nakazawa. It’s a nice town for a great sushi chef. Please read those parking signs carefully, though. Atmosphere. A bright, lively, black- and- white stage for the chef’s performance in front; a calmer, less antic dining room in the back. Sound. Instrumental music plays at conversational volumes. Menusinglepage. com/sushi- nakazawa.
Recommended Dishes. No choices, but dietary restrictions are accommodated. Drinks and Wine. With a few exceptions, the drinks are extremely sushi- friendly, from sake to beer to grower Champagnes. Price$$$$ (very expensive)Open. Tuesday to Sunday for dinner. Reservations. Accepted online or by phone for the dining room; online only for the counter.
Wheelchair Access. The dining room and accessible restroom are two steps up from the sidewalk.
What the Stars Mean. Ratings range from zero to four stars. Zero is poor, fair or satisfactory. One star, good. Two stars, very good. Three stars, excellent.
Four stars, extraordinary. This information was last updated: Nov. Continue reading the main story.