Owner and sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa helped spearhead the popularity of sushi in Los Angeles more than 20 years ago and eventually became known as one of LA’s biggest masters of the craft at his restaurant Sushi Nozawa. In 2008, he opened the first Sugarfish as a more casual and more approachable "fine casual" place for sushi lovers. It’s been a hit from the beginning, with hour-long lines for Nozawa’s omakases. The Los Angeles area now has ten locations.
The team’s been searching for spaces in New York for more than four years, and as part of the expansion, Nozawa’s son Tom and front-of-house manager Lele Massimini are living here for a while. They looked to completely replicate the popular LA locations here in New York, though the prices are higher here to account for rent and labor costs. The basic "trust me," which includes a toro hand roll, tuna sashimi, and yellowtail sushi, costs about $32 in LA and $39 in New York, tipping included. The rice comes warm, a signature of the restaurant.
It’s a full-service, no reservations restaurant that seats 43 people in the dining room and eight at a counter. Even though Sugarfish is the Nozawa family’s most casual restaurant, don’t ask for extra rice, salt, or sauces. Nozawa’s known for the ethos that the chef knows best. Sugarfish opens on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Take a look at the space and menu below.