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Sushi Nakazawa, a New York-Based, Upscale Sushi House in the Trump Hotel in Federal Triangle


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Let's just say the ownership isn't exactly worried about endearing themselves to DC diners:  

"Why NYC's Most Acclaimed Sushi Bar Is Opening in Donald Trump's DC Hotel" by Richard Morgan on grubstreet.com

Yet another NYC view of "DC is a fine dining desert".  The Olive Garden comment and the "can you name any amazing sushi in DC?"...well, he might have jumped the line ahead of Shaw Bijou for most potential flames. 

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35 minutes ago, MODWOP said:

Let's just say the ownership isn't exactly worried about endearing themselves to DC diners:  

"Why NYC's Most Acclaimed Sushi Bar Is Opening in Donald Trump's DC Hotel" by Richard Morgan on grubstreet.com

Yet another NYC view of "DC is a fine dining desert".  The Olive Garden comment and the "can you name any amazing sushi in DC?"...well, he might have jumped the line ahead of Shaw Bijou for most potential flames. 

>:(. unbelievable. manages to diss Sushi Taro (w/ a Star), Sushi Ozawa, and Sushi Capitol at the same time as offering a view of DC restaurants that was last accurate about 10 years ago.

Nakazawa is welcome (and amazing), but DC doesn't have a lack of good expensive omakase places. it has a lack of quality cheap sushi in the 3-rolls-for-15 vein that is such an essential NYC staple.

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3 minutes ago, lion said:

Politics aside, if the DC location of Nakazawa has the quality the NYC location (by reputation), then it should help the overall sushi scene in DC by providing another high end restaurant. 

Issue always is the quality of the fish. 

My guess is that whatever fish they get in NYC, they'll be bringing in here - at least to start out with; the true story will be told after about six months.

Also remember that at this level, we're going to need at least one master sushi rice maker based full-time in DC. Knowledgeable diners will know the difference if this doesn't occur, and will be happy to chime in. :)

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6 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

My guess is that whatever fish they get in NYC, they'll be bringing in here - at least to start out with; the true story will be told after about six months.

Also remember that at this level, we're going to need at least one master sushi rice maker based full-time in DC. Knowledgeable diners will know the difference if this doesn't occur, and will be happy to chime in. :)

That is historical problem that I've seen with the high end sushi restaurants in DC. NYC has many more direct flights from Tokyo so the transportation issues are not the same. If they are bringing down fish everyday from NYC in a van that just adds to the cost. 

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4 hours ago, lion said:

 NYC has many more direct flights from Tokyo so the transportation issues are not the same. If they are bringing down fish everyday from NYC in a van that just adds to the cost. 

ANA has a daily non-stop flight to Tokyo from Dulles and from Dulles to Tokyo.  My family's good friend Yoshiki Hidaka and his wife Masano convinced ANA to add the route in the early 80's.  ANA was hesitant at first because they thought DC was dangerous.  It is now a very profitable route and is sold out almost every day.  Although this post is a total aside, we once hosted the CEO of ANA at our house for crabs in the back yard.  I was very young, but remember that it was a very fun evening.  

Masano and Yoshiki introduced our family to Sushi.  They would only take us out when they thought that a restaurant was of a high enough quality.  Most frequently it was Japan Inn.  My mom first tried sushi in 1977 while she was pregnant with me.  My mom claims that this is why I am such an adventurous eater.  I could go on and on with stories about our adventures!

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4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

My guess is that whatever fish they get in NYC, they'll be bringing in here - at least to start out with; the true story will be told after about six months.

Also remember that at this level, we're going to need at least one master sushi rice maker based full-time in DC. Knowledgeable diners will know the difference if this doesn't occur, and will be happy to chime in. :)

Poach Koji Terano. He was by far the best I had the pleasure of meeting. His execution of omakase at Sushi Ko was the most memorable birthday dinner I ever had to date.

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18 hours ago, lion said:

That is historical problem that I've seen with the high end sushi restaurants in DC. NYC has many more direct flights from Tokyo so the transportation issues are not the same. If they are bringing down fish everyday from NYC in a van that just adds to the cost. 

Daily fresh fish is overrated. Any good sushi place knows how to care for the fish so it will last a couple days. When I worked at a place in Columbus, in one of our late night drinking sessions with the owner, he explained that all the places in Columbus got their fish from the same supplier. The difference was in what each place did with the fish once it was in the door. There are some things that need to be used immediately, but most will keep. That said, it was flown in from NY typically three days a week. 

19 hours ago, franch said:

>:(. unbelievable. manages to diss Sushi Taro (w/ a Star), Sushi Ozawa, and Sushi Capitol at the same time as offering a view of DC restaurants that was last accurate about 10 years ago.

Nakazawa is welcome (and amazing), but DC doesn't have a lack of good expensive omakase places. it has a lack of quality cheap sushi in the 3-rolls-for-15 vein that is such an essential NYC staple.

Yeah, just posted this other article on my FB page and noted that I'm perfectly happy getting my sushi fix taken care of at Ogawa and Taro, probably will be close to if not as good, and likely for much less price too. 

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5 hours ago, pras said:

ANA has a daily non-stop flight to Tokyo from Dulles and from Dulles to Tokyo.  My family's good friend Yoshiki Hidaka and his wife Masano convinced ANA to add the route in the early 80's.  ANA was hesitant at first because they thought DC was dangerous.  It is now a very profitable route and is sold out almost every day.  Although this post is a total aside, we once hosted the CEO of ANA at our house for crabs in the back yard.  I was very young, but remember that it was a very fun evening.  

Masano and Yoshiki introduced our family to Sushi.  They would only take us out when they thought that a restaurant was of a high enough quality.  Most frequently it was Japan Inn.  My mom first tried sushi in 1977 while she was pregnant with me.  My mom claims that this is why I am such an adventurous eater.  I could go on and on with stories about our adventures!

I don't know the economics of the situation but my assumption was that multiple flights would mean slightly lower shipping cost per pound. Japan Inn was one of the better Japanese/Sushi restaurants in the area. 

1 hour ago, dinoue said:

Daily fresh fish is overrated. Any good sushi place knows how to care for the fish so it will last a couple days. When I worked at a place in Columbus, in one of our late night drinking sessions with the owner, he explained that all the places in Columbus got their fish from the same supplier. The difference was in what each place did with the fish once it was in the door. There are some things that need to be used immediately, but most will keep. That said, it was flown in from NY typically three days a week. 

As long as the fish in never unfrozen from being caught to usage that gives more leeway. Hopefully transportation doesn't result in varying temperatures which causes changes in the quality. 

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20 hours ago, franch said:

>:(. unbelievable. manages to diss Sushi Taro (w/ a Star), Sushi Ozawa, and Sushi Capitol at the same time as offering a view of DC restaurants that was last accurate about 10 years ago.

Nakazawa is welcome (and amazing), but DC doesn't have a lack of good expensive omakase places. it has a lack of quality cheap sushi in the 3-rolls-for-15 vein that is such an essential NYC staple.

Oof. I have enjoyed my meals at Nakazawa immensely. That said, I do agree with one part of Alessandro's comment - while we have one amazing sushi spot in DC proper, and several expensive omakase options, I do see a wide gulf between the quality sushi that can be had in DC vs. NY. Whether it makes any sense to compare a city of 650k with a city of >8M inhabitants is another matter.

Edited by Keithstg
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12 hours ago, Keithstg said:

Oof. I have enjoyed my meals at Nakazawa immensely. That said, I do agree with one part of Alessandro's comment - while we have one amazing sushi spot in DC proper, and several expensive omakase options, I do see a wide gulf between the quality sushi that can be had in DC vs. NY. Whether it makes any sense to compare a city of 650k with a city of >8M inhabitants is another matter.

Geographic context does make a difference in relation to quality and cost. Still I'm curious to read the reviews as they come in and if that quality can be maintained. 

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4 hours ago, pras said:

Does anyone believe this apology?

No, I think he's probably "sorry he got caught," but I choose to accept his apology and move on because what's the downside in doing so? I personally give everyone a mulligan; others will, of course, feel differently. We could discuss this ad nauseum, with everyone chiming in and giving their opinion; I hope we don't - maybe we can just say that "x percent" of people accept his apology, "y percent" of people don't, and leave it at that? It shouldn't really matter what the values of x and y are, especially if he doesn't do it again.

As long as we're sort-of, kind-of going off-topic, in another thread I said this:

On 11/30/2016 at 4:47 PM, DonRocks said:

[Even something as innocuous as this is discouraged here - I would never have let this statement stand if it was about Obama. Please don't make my life any more difficult than it is.]

I read my comment again this morning, and it seemed to me like I was singling someone out; I wasn't, or at least I didn't mean to - I was just trying to point out that even the most innocuous of comments can come across as off-putting to "the other side" when they involve partisan politics - there was really nothing wrong with what the member said. Anyway, I apologize if I came across as overly harsh (I deleted my post).

PS - Note the comment in the article by @Doctor_Glasses - now who might that be? :)

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On December 2, 2016 at 1:32 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Nakazawa trained 11 years under Jiro.  I wonder how many years (or months) will DC's chefs have under Nakazawa?

Nakazawa reportedly doesn't cut his own fish, so I wonder how much these chefs will have learned from essentially a figurehead?  

Anyway, while I haven't been, at these prices and based on Tom's report, I can't imagine Nakazawa in DC even beginning to rival Sushi Taro's omakase counter at this price point.

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2 hours ago, Simon said:

Anyway, while I haven't been, at these prices and based on Tom's report, I can't imagine Nakazawa in DC even beginning to rival Sushi Taro's omakase counter at this price point.

Why not?  They’re about the same price.  It’s cool that you pick your seafood at Taro but that could cost you too.

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On 6/16/2018 at 3:07 PM, Keithstg said:

I give it 12 months, tops. Which is kind of unfortunate as my meals at Nakazawa in NY have been superlative- far, far exceeding any omakase I have had in DC.

A glowing review and your reaction is a condemnation to closing in 12 months?

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I offer another perspective, courtesy of two of my friends. While they wouldn't declare themselves sushi experts, they have eaten at many outstanding restaurants, and they have eaten sushi numerous times, so I trust their opinions without question.

They reported Sushi Nakazawa to be outstanding. 21 courses, and most of the fish was sliced to order. The restaurant is not inexpensive, but my friends deemed it worth the expense. 

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10 minutes ago, reedm said:

I offer another perspective, courtesy of two of my friends. While they wouldn't declare themselves sushi experts, they have eaten at many outstanding restaurants, and they have eaten sushi numerous times, so I trust their opinions without question.

They reported Sushi Nakazawa to be outstanding. 21 courses, and most of the fish was sliced to order. The restaurant is not inexpensive, but my friends deemed it worth the expense. 

[I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this (culinary-based) post. Thank you.]

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On 6/22/2018 at 9:47 AM, Bob Wells said:

I would agree. It's rare to see a restaurant that so brazenly alienates a large percentage of its potential client base.

...Or Not....

I was speaking with an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years.  She has been managing restaurants for over a decade, including a name downtown restaurant (that gets mention here) that significantly caters to the DC downtown (near the WH) business world.   It is very political, govt officials, members of Congress, significantly lobbyists with their corporate clients.  The various local diners lean Dem or Repub, and the staff knows who is who and which side of the fence they sit on. 

Per her words, since the election, and more prominently since the 2017 inauguration, the GOP side of these business oriented diners has migrated in mass to restaurant(s) at the Trump hotel.  Her restaurant and others like hers have felt the impact. 

While I used to do many business lunches and dinners, I had virtually zero connection to the very large scale in DC politically oriented world of business dining.   Maybe others here are familiar with it. 

Its possible that the mere address of this restaurant will attract so much corporate CC dining that the restaurateur could have said anything and it might not matter.

I have zero sense of this....but its possible.

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This is a horrible generalization. But. The Republican lobbying crowd/GOPers/out-of-towners is much more of a steak house scene.  Raw fish not so much (not saying there aren't sushi fans of course).

Plus the goal of going to the Trump hotel is to be seen, make it look like you are a player.  My understanding is Nakazawa is tucked away in the hotel, off the beaten path (correct me if I'm wrong on that). It's not really a place you hangout to press the flesh.

I'm sure Nakazawa will get expense account business, but I'm dubious it will be on the circuit for the DC Trump hotel denizens. 

Although from what I have read/heard the Trump Hotel has been raking it in when it comes to political events, fundraisers, happy hours etc. 

I won't step foot in the place now, which is sad because I use to go to the Old Post Office food court all the time for falafel and the veg Indian place.

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The NYC location only accepted reservations for 2 at the counter when it opened, but maybe they've softened that now. If you were to walk in or arrive on a dining room booking and there were open seats at the counter (more likely in DC?), would they really turn you away? (in the USA; I could totally see this happening in Japan)

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On a cold and rainy early Friday evening, we arrived at the Trump International hotel lobby.  After scanning around for signs to Nakazawa, we asked a staff where it is.  You have to exit the lobby to the east, walk around the hotel to the north, and go to the back of the hotel.  And there it is, next to Starbucks.  Why they don't have access through the hotel is beyond me.

We had seats at the counter for the 7 p.m. seating.  The staff was very friendly and they confidently assumed we would love the meal and become regulars.  We did love the meal, but regularly dropping $300+ pp for sushi and sake is not happening.

Here, the sushi rice is served warm.  Many pieces were blow-torched.  Each, except the unpictured handroll, should be consumed in 1 bite.  No soy sauce, no wasabi, only ginger as palate cleanser - not to be eaten with the sushi.  I can't remember every fish but we had salmon, scallop, mackerel, 3 grades of blue fin tuna, Maine and Hokkaido sea urchin, A-5 wagyu.  Almost every bite is fantastic.

ETA - the last pic is conger eel - it actually tastes like canned tuna.  I've never had conger eel before, didn't even think anyone eats them.  Also not pictured is tomago (egg), which I don't like.

It's the best sushi within 200 miles.

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22 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Many pieces were blow-torched. 

It's the best sushi within 200 miles.

You can see how good it is from the pictures. Blowtorched sushi is called "aburi sushi," btw - they're crazy for this style in Vancouver, and there's even a place where you can get an aburi omakase. 

I was just talking with Andy Hayler yesterday - in the top places in Japan, you add neither wasabi nor soy sauce; in most of the top places here, you don't add wasabi, but you're still (usually) encouraged to do a little soy sauce dunk (unless they tell you not to).

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22 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

On a cold and rainy early Friday evening, we arrived at the Trump International hotel lobby. 

...

It's the best sushi within 200 miles.

Lovely progression of (mostly) fish. Thanks for the report! I'm dining here for lunch later this month...they advised they do not accept solo diners at the bar for dinner, which is very odd. I hope there is no difference in quality between lunch and dinner.

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Lunch was delicious and Uchino-san is a very talented, personable chef. Any Trump-related anxiety was assuaged by the magnificent food and service.

It compares favorably to places I've dined at in Ginza -  Tokami, Ryusuke, Arai. Most importantly, the shari is served warm and a healthy vinegar kick.

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On 3/3/2019 at 10:26 AM, cocobinga said:

Lovely progression of (mostly) fish. Thanks for the report! I'm dining here for lunch later this month...they advised they do not accept solo diners at the bar for dinner, which is very odd. I hope there is no difference in quality between lunch and dinner.

On Resy they are now accepting reservation for solo diners at the counter.

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@Sthitch and I went to Nakazawa on Saturday.  We sat at the sushi counter and each party is separated from the other parties by a pane of glass.  The chefs and servers were double masked. 

We did the classic for $150, with booze tasting ($90), some add on for sea urchins (Maine, CA and Japan), and a couple of glasses of champagne.  With tax and tip, I think the bill came to $450 pp.  

The service and food were fantastic.  I'm just not sure I really buy into the pricing of high end sushi.

 

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3 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

@Sthitch and I went to Nakazawa on Saturday.  We sat at the sushi counter and each party is separated from the other parties by a pane of glass.  The chefs and servers were double masked. 

We did the classic for $150, with booze tasting ($90), some add on for sea urchins (Maine, CA and Japan), and a couple of glasses of champagne.  With tax and tip, I think the bill came to $450 pp.  

The service and food were fantastic.  I'm just not sure I really buy into the pricing of high end sushi.

 

That place is certainly expensive. Two of my close friends have been there at least twice, and I think their tabs were in your ballpark. 

What were your highlights?

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16 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

 

The service and food were fantastic.  I'm just not sure I really buy into the pricing of high end sushi.

 

Can you expand on this Eric?  What do you mean?  Are you saying that high end sushi is expensive, but it shouldn't be that expensive?  In other words if the piece of tuna on your plate cost $10 to buy, prepare and serve, they will charge you $20 for it?

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3 hours ago, Bart said:

Can you expand on this Eric?  What do you mean?  Are you saying that high end sushi is expensive, but it shouldn't be that expensive?  In other words if the piece of tuna on your plate cost $10 to buy, prepare and serve, they will charge you $20 for it?

Yes. I think high end sushi is disproportionate to its cost.  That pricing is Michelin 3 star pricing for 19 pieces of sushi and 3 small slices of uni (we didn't get the 2 uni nigiri).  The pours with the pairing were far from generous, which is why we each sucked down 2 more glasses of champagne.  

That said, I do have to say the quality was top notch.  Every bite was delicious.  Especially impressive is just the flavor and temperature of the rice.  I'd be interested to know the profit margin of a top end sushi joint vs. a French Michelin 3 star joint.

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