Keiji Nakazawa of Sushi Sho will be opening in New York this summer, slated for July!
EDIT: “on 5th ave” 3 E 41st St.
Nakazawa-san gave an interview in Japan recently. I’m surprised I haven’t seen much if anything from American media, because the restaurant is opening in New York soon.
- Location: across the library, I believe Andaz 5th Avenue.
- The Andaz New York kept inviting him and he initially refused, but they began a tour of eating sushi in New York and he changed his mind a bit. He noticed the current sushi scene in New York is a luxurious “additive” style, as he points out ika with uni and caviar on top and other “extravagant” and “quirky additions.”
- In contrast, he hopes to offer an essential style of Edomae sushi (literally the term is “subtraction sushi”). He discussed one take on Edomae being treating fish to match the rice, noting kohada as the prime example and also aging tuna. Though, he recognized that there is room for different styles.
- Some okonomi will be offered. I didn’t catch exactly if it’ll be just an okonomi menu or, as at the honten location, about 60% is omakase and then people continue okonomi for the rest of the meal. Nakazawa-san said he wants diners at this location to be able to “enjoy themselves more freely and choose for themselves…in order to break the hard sushi way and make it a little more fun and soft.” (translation). Some reason for this being that young people can keep up with omakase’s pace (and drink pairing), but he wants the sushi experience here to be comfortable enough for people who don’t want to go quite so fast. He is also sensitive to the skyrocketing price of fish, and he wants to accommodate a range of people and appetites.
- Omakase has some advantages, but the main advantages are for the restaurant. It is a challenge to offer high quality okonomi. He sees okonomi as a bit of a return to the old style, before “omakase” became its own type of cuisine as an entertainment event of sorts.
- He says that vegan sushi cannot be ignored in America. He recounts a story at Sushi Sho where 11 people rented the bar and only upon showing up, announced that several were vegan. Being a gracious professional, Nakazawa-san accommodated them with inari, tofu, and rolls. To this end, he is sending an apprentice to train in Los Angeles to learn vegan ways.
- Ingredients - there will be use of some local ingredients. He is working on a version of narezushi, with salmon and other fish being experimented now. (Think of how he transformed moi to be like a form of narezushi in Waikiki.) He will also be using local green apples. But just like at his Hawaii store, there will be some ingredients flown in, such as some fish from Japan, oysters from the West Coast, etc.
- He respects Chinese cuisine for drying seafood. He will be in dialogue with Chinese restaurant Sazenka about drying and rehydrating techniques (!). This is going to be a game-changer with sushi, in my opinion. Seafood with the techniques of Cantonese dried shellfish in particular (abalone, scallop), innards (fish maw) Jinhua-style ham, can you imagine what Nakazawa-san can do with sushi? Personally, I can already imagine something like a dried abalone rehydrated with dashi, fried and served with an ankake dashi with the abalone’s juices and liver as a great otsumami. Or katsuo or magurobushi, made like ham, as a soup base. This dialogue of technique is super exciting.
- For sake, he is working with various brewers, such as Aramasa - he asked for a special NY Sushi Sho production, and of course the Invisible Pink kijoshu. (I had the Invisible Pink Unicorn kijoshu with uni maki at Sushi Shunji and it was incredible. Pairing “Pink” with uni or ankimo will certainly be an incredible match). He’s also working with Hitakami, Hiroki, Hakurakusei, etc.
- He will also promote shochu to pair.
- He will have two Japanese sommeliers (one is training at Aramasa and the other at Hitakami).