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Restaurants & Bars 5

Soto, Sushi Nakazawa

willscarlett | Mar 22, 201501:39 PM

A few weeks ago, I ate at Soto and Sushi Nakazawa, two nights apart. Going into Soto, I honestly didn't know much, except that it favors uni, people seem to feel its raw fish is not the highlight, and lastly, about it's two Michelin stars. Likewise with Sushi Nakazawa, I didn't know a whole lot. Aside from seeing Chef Nakazawa in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I knew that Sushi Nakazawa was a definite "hot spot" and bar reservations are tough to come by. I also had a Japanese friend go who highly recommended it.

In the end, I'd say that I much preferred Soto. I had the omakase which was only $125 per person and included 8-12 dishes (raw and cooked) before the sushi-only dishes were served. I can't remember what the specific dishes were, tho I did photograph all of them, but for me, Soto really stood out. I'd never had a sushi meal quite like this one before. As we were nearing the end of the meal, prior to dessert, the chef even asked us if we would like an addition four pieces of sushi per person or eight more. We asked for eight and the price of the omakase did not increase. As for desert, it was mochi, but again, it was exceptional. Definitely better than what is sold at Whole Foods (yes, that's the best mochi I've had so far). Soto has definitely earned their two Michelin stars. Very friendly and pleasant staff as well. If I had to point out anything negative, the dining room isn't anything fancy. There's also one seat near the kitchen that looks a bit dingy, almost like you're seated in Siberia.

As for Sushi Nakazawa, it certainly is a hot spot. Very nice dining room and sushi bar. Friendly and accommodating staff. The other two members of my party, due to subway delays, were 30-60 minutes late. I'd read some reviews where people had noted that the staff seemed more concerned with the guests' punctuality, but I didn't find that to be the case as much. They always remarked how they were happy to have us, but did say that the our table was booked at a later time, so our meal would have to be served a bit faster. However, the quicker timetable did not at all feel rushed.

As for the meal itself, I honestly found it somewhat lackluster. A few pieces of sushi stood out, such as the fatty tuna and the scallop, but in general, I found the meal to be average. It may be hard to say that without sounding as if I'm speaking negatively of Chef Nakazawa's craft, but some of it may be because I ate at Soto a few nights before. Sushi Nakazawa serves sushi omakase only, where Soto served a lot more variety? I also didn't find the sushi at Nakazawa to be as flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth as at Soto. Regarding the egg custard, which we all know Chef Nakazawa spent eight months perfecting, felt out of place at the end of the meal, even if it is the traditional way to end a Japanese meal. Maybe I'm just not traditional enough? Chef Nakazawa does come around to each table at the end of the meal and asks people how they liked it, what their favorites were, and bows to everyone.

In the end, I'd go back to Soto, but not Nakazawa. In addition to having better flavors, Soto also served much more food for $125, whereas Nakazawa's $120 only covers the sushi omakase.

I also look forward to experiencing some of the other upscale sushi that NYC offers.

Sushi Nakazawa
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