From a successful Miami restaurateur comes new Upper East Side restaurant Sushi Noz, focusing on strict edomae-style sushi in a $300 omakase that will use old-school preservation and aging techniques. Former Sushiden chef Abe Nozomu (“Noz”) will run the kitchen in the space at 181 East 78th St., between Third and Lexington avenues, which previously housed Monte-Carlo (and Cucina Ciano before that).
Co-owner David Foulquier, who runs the popular Fooq’s in Miami and attended Tokyo Sushi Academy in Japan, and brother (and first-time restaurateur) Josh Foulquier are going hard on a no-expense-spared space to channel Japan. Despite restaurants like Satsuki and Uogashi already focusing on edomae-style sushi, the brothers aren’t satisfied with NYC’s edomae options and want a place that does not veer at all from the very traditional style popular in Japan.
Edomae-style sushi originated in Tokyo’s Edo bay. When it was created, refrigeration didn’t exist so fish was preserved in rice that turned sour after a while — which led to the vinegared rice used today. To honor that, Sushi Noz will only preserve the fish in ice chests and bring in most of the seafood from Tokyo Bay. True to edomae, some of the fish will be aged. It’s a very austere style that puts the focus solely on the fish and the rice, without the accoutrements popular in NYC sushi houses today.
“Some people feel that tuna, like steak, tastes better [aged], and our goal is to make it obvious to you that fish should be aged, too,” Josh says. “Most operators aren’t willing to take the risk, because it’s much easier to sell someone fish caught the same day than fish that is aged.’’
For instance, a fish called gizzard shad will be on the menu, aged for more than a week. In addition to sushi, there will be small courses including charcoal grilled items.
Absolutely everything in the space has been shipped in from Japan — the guys went to “extreme lengths” to source 1,000 pieces of wood shipped here in 40-foot containers, they say. The bar is made from 400-year-old wood. “There is not one nail in the entire restaurant — only sand, stone, and wood. From the moment you walk into the restaurant until the second you step out, everything you interact with, from floor tiles, which came from a temple, to chop sticks” is from Japan, Josh adds.
There will only be eight seats in the restaurant when it opens mid March, and another six for private dining. The omakase will run $300 including gratuity. Compared to other top omakases around town — $250 at Amane, $150 at Nakazawa, and $250 at Satsuki — it’s a high entry point.