A Tokyo-trained traditionalist who refined his craft serving a clientele of discerning Japanese expats in Manhattan. A French-born, Florida-raised, Kansai-schooled chef whose watchword is “Serious sushi, but not serious people.” A longtime master’s apprentice who graduated from omelet guy to top knife at a four-star destination where his name’s on the door. These are some of the diverse personalities who are making news at an extraordinarily newsworthy time for New York City’s sushi scene. Their restaurants, which have been the talk of Chowhound, are listed here in alphabetical order.
ICHIMURA AT BRUSHSTROKE
Over some three decades after arriving in New York from Tokyo, Chef Eiji Ichimura built a cultlike following among the Midtown Japanese business set. For his next act he moved downtown, taking command of a tiny sushi bar in partnership with Tribeca restaurant pioneer David Bouley. Chowhounds are savoring his traditional edo-mae sushi, showcasing seafood expertly aged and cured by a master at the top of his game.
30 Hudson Street (at Duane Street), Manhattan
Don’t be deceived by the party vibe at this hot East Village restaurant: Chef David Bouhadana isn’t fooling around. As one Chowhound puts it, “The attitude is relaxed but the sushi prep is serious.” Expect deft knifework and creative seasoning, savvy sake pairings and generous tastes from the sommelier, and a story behind every piece of fish served by the ebullient Bouhadana.
110 First Avenue (between E. Sixth and Seventh streets), Manhattan
Almost as noteworthy as Katsuei’s food is its address, in a Brooklyn neighborhood known to Chowhounds for plentiful but undistinguished sushi. So naturally Park Slopers have been all over the place, getting to know a trio of Manhattan-seasoned chefs who elevate first-rate seafood with house-made dressings of citrus, ginger, marinated seaweed, and other smartly chosen flavors.
210 Seventh Avenue (at Third Street), Brooklyn
Daisuke Nakazawa has come a long way since his apprentice days, when he struggled to perfect a humble omelet in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the documentary about Tokyo master Jiro Ono. He worked under an Ono disciple in Seattle and finally opened his namesake restaurant in the West Village last summer. Gorgeous seafood, much of it local, with spot-on accents like Japanese mustard has earned the affable Nakazawa four New York Times stars and a growing school of Chowhound fans.
23 Commerce Street (between Bedford Street and Seventh Avenue S.), Manhattan
TANOSHI SUSHI SAKE BAR
This tiny, easily overlooked uptown spot has been filling its three nightly seatings on the strength of high-quality, moderately priced omakase service. Chef Toshio Oguma, a Morimoto veteran, favors loosely packed, slightly warm rice and dresses his fish judiciously with wasabi, lightly sweetened shoyu, and citrusy, peppery yuzu kosho. Never mind the “sake bar” in Tanoshi’s name: Lacking a liquor license, the place is still BYO.
1372 York Avenue (between E. 73rd and 74th streets), Manhattan
Photo of Chef Eiji Ichimura by Flickr member T.Tseng; Dojo photo by Flickr member Stephanie; Katsuei photo from Sushi Katsuei / Facebook; Nakazawa photo by Flickr member Edsel Little; Tanoshi photo by Flickr member stu_spivack. All Flickr photos are under Creative Commons.