Authors: Victor and Monty
Chef: Daisuke Nakazawa
Date: November 10, 2013
Sushi Nakazawa has been getting a lot of rave reviews lately, and it’s probably the most hyped sushi restaurant in NYC at the moment. Daisuke Nakazawa is famous for being “that tamago guy” in the Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary, and you probably know more than I do about him!
We had to make our reservations a month in advance, so our anticipation of this meal just grew and grew as the weeks passed. A lot of people said it belonged up there with 15 East, Ichimura, and Yasuda, and I wanted to see just how accurate that was. They were similar in price tier, so I was hoping that Nakazawa would be another worthy rival to those places. (15 East and Ichimura are my favorite places outside of Masa, which is just ridiculously expensive, so I was looking forward to having another sushiya to eat at!)
Unfortunately, our experience wasn’t the best. We’ll go through our meal first before delving into what we liked or disliked. (Note: Most of you know, from Yelp and Chowhound reviews, that Chef Nakazawa is a cheerful and talkative guy. I can vouch that that’s correct, and I’ll mostly be talking about the food and meal itself.)
My initial thoughts coming into this place was holy frick frack this is going to be a fantastic meal. I had watched the Jiro documentary and thought it was a cool albeit self-indulgent movie, but I didn’t know who Nakazawa was. I gradually learned of him as Victor and a dozen other friends excitedly talked to me about how Jiro’s apprentice was opening up a shop in New York. “Omg!” they squealed, “Jiro’s apprentice in New York is going to be amazing! All these other critics confirm! You have to go, there’s no way it’s not going to blow your mind!” And so with a smile and wink they all encouraged me to go and so I went, with a sense of wonderment and curiosity.
Chef Nakazawa is preparing his famous tamago for us here.
Monte: It’s a very sleek and well-designed dining space. It’s very elegant and makes you feel like you’re in a classy sophisticated establishment. I thought it was a bit too quiet/stuffy, but I can’t say I wasn’t impressed.
Exec Chef: Jeremiah Stone & Fabian von Hauske
October 31, 2013
There was no better way to celebrate halloween than to eat at one of the most exciting new restaurants in New York. Reservations aren’t hard to get as of now, but then again, the restaurant is still only a few weeks old. Exec Chefs Jeremiah and Fabian both trained at very well-regarded restaurants, including Noma, Isa, and Jean Georges. In a recent interview with Eater, they described their restaurant as being heavily influenced by Parisian neo bistros, but quintessentially New York. The vibe of the place is very casual but also nice. At 5 courses for $55 with supplemental options, your money goes a long way and you get food that’s been prepared excellently. I’m a bit worried the kitchen won’t be able to keep up when they have full nights – our night was maybe at 75% capacity but there were still long breaks in the meal and the kitchen just looked swamped. Hopefully they figure out pacing and they see a lot of future success!
Exec Chef: Thomas Keller
Chef de Cuisine: Eli Kaimeh
Date: April 28, 2013
Victor: My friend Simon has wanted to try Per Se for a long time now, and he finally got the chance to try it back in April! I’ve been lazy about posting this; sorry about that! The meal was pretty great, and I finally got to try the famous cauliflower panna cotta and caviar dish, which took the place of the traditional oysters and pearls that people see so often at Per Se.