Last week Rocky and I made our way down to the West Village to see what Chef Daisuke Nakazawa is cooking up (and serving raw) at Alessandro Borgognone’s new spot on Commerce Street, Sushi Nakazawa. I wasn’t actively chasing a reservation, more looking through popular restaurants’ availability out of curiosity, when a table popped up in the Nakazawa dining room. So I figured we should go check it out.
We showed up super excited, took our seats, and delved into the beverage list. The range of sake on offer is impressive, but we opted to go for bubbles along with our Omakase. I got a really excited and went a little over budget when I saw Vouette & Sorbée Blanc d’Argile… amazing juice.
I’m not incredibly experienced when it comes to high end sushi, nor am I very educated about Japanese cuisine in general. So I don’t have a good base of comparison, but I thought our meal here was pretty solid. Clean, intentional, and at times very precise flavors.
I apologize ahead: I’ll do my best to name all the pieces appropriately, though some I’m not sure about and others I’m completely clueless on. Twice I was told that someone would be happy to write a menu of the fish we were served, though when it was time to pack up and go a guy asked for my email and said he would send me the list instead. Now, a week later, I’m assuming it’s not coming. Anyways..here’s how it went down.(The descriptors will go from the right side of the plate to the left.)
Alaskan King Salmon. Rich, full flavor.
Maybe Sea trout? Smoked with some very special wood.
Scallop. Yuzu pepper, sake sauce. Cool, meaty slices of scallop beautifully complimented by the sake. The pepper finish was long and spicy.
Washington Geoduck. Seared. Fantastic texture. Subtle but defined taste. The gentle sear was nice.
Cusk. Yuzu pepper, ponzu.
Sable. Nikiri(sweet soy sauce), a little bonito. A superb bite. One of the best of the meal. Rocky’s favorite.
Porgy. Yuzu zest. Slightly metallic tasting.
Aji(Horse Mackerel). Ginger, nikiri. Fantastic.
Silver Stripe Herring. Nikiri. Strongly flavored, a little fishy.
Herring. Very nice with a subtle wasabi type spice and an almost pickle-ish taste.
Madagascar Tiger Prawn. Nikiri. Good texture with a rewarding shrimpy sweetness.
Spearhead Squid. Japanese pepper leaf. I thought it was a great bite, but the smooth kind of gummy feel on one side didn’t work for Rocky.
Something that sounded like ‘Kawati’ ? A little stronger sauce was well suited on the stronger fish.
Spanish Mackerel. Cured black pepper. Soft, fleshy, buttery.
Blue Fin Tuna. An elegant, pure flavored lean cut subtly enhanced by the Japanese mustard spice.
Blue Fin Tuna. A fatty cut, marinated and seared, with a bit of the same mustard. Biting this was like an immediate fat explosion that coated the whole mouth. Rocky said: ‘That’s something special. Better than a cheeseburger.’
Maine Uni. Just wonderful. And I got to eat two since Rocky has some type of uni-phobia.
Alaskan Chum Salmon Roe. Soy marinated. Superb combination of tastes and textures between the roe, seaweed, and rice. Bordering on mind blowing.
Eel. With eel sauce. Pretty straight forward eel.
Tamago. The piece that made Chef Nakazawa famous in the Jiro documentary. A delightfully light, sweet and savory egg custard.
From here we were asked if we wanted to repeat any pieces or try some others. We opted for a little of both.
Jackknife Something. From Japan. Dense and almost tangy.
Some silvery fish.
A red-edged piece of fish of some kind with a super intense fatty and salty flavor.
Santa Barbara Uni. Velvety and supple sea urchin. I got to eat two again. Score.
Madagascar Tiger Prawn.
Yuzu. Sorbet with berries.
Pineapple. Fresh and intensely sweet.
An apparently very happy Chef Daisuke Nakazawa.
Date of meal: March 24, 2014
Sushi Nakazawa. 23 Commerce St. NYC 212.924.2212 www.sushinakazawa.com