Opening tonight on the Upper East Side, Sushi Noz is a luxe new omakase in town, offering edomae-style sushi made using old-school preservation and aging techniques. Debuting at a whopping $300 per person, it’s now one of the priciest omakase options in town.
The restaurant, at 181 East 78th St. between Third and Lexington avenues, comes from former Sushiden chef Abe Nozomu (“Noz”) and owners David Foulquier, who runs the popular Fooq’s in Miami and attended Tokyo Sushi Academy in Japan, and brother Josh Foulquier, a first-time restaurateur. The trio has put a lot of detail and money into making Sushi Noz channel Japan, including a refrigerator cooled by massive blocks of ice instead of electricity.
The strict focus on edomae-style sushi means some of the fish is aged, like a fish called gizzard shad that’s aged for more than a week. Edomae-style sushi originated in Tokyo’s Edo bay when refrigeration didn’t exist, so fish was preserved in rice that turned sour after a while (modern technique now adds rice vinegar for the sour flavor).
To that end, Sushi Noz brings in most of its fish from Tokyo Bay and preserves it in those aforementioned ice chests. The unfussy style deliberately centers on the fish and rice instead of distracting with additional toppings and flavors, as has become increasingly common at sushi bars in the U.S.
That’s not to say, though, that Noz doesn’t take liberties with his nigiri — one includes a smoked and aged cherry blossom trout served with a chive, ginger, and scallion puree, reminiscent of a lox and scallion cream cheese bagel. Small courses, including charcoal grilled items and an abalone with liver sauce, are served at the outset of the meal.
Decor is minimal in the small space, with warm, light wood at the core of the restaurant’s design. Eight seats line the counter of the main dining room, and a private dining room features six seats around an L-shaped bar. The team behind Sushi Noz had 1,000 pieces of wood shipped in from Japan, including 200-year-old wood for the bar. According to Josh, everything in the restaurant, from the floor tiles to the chop sticks, has been brought over from Japan. There are even centuries-old ceramics presented throughout the meal.
The $300 price includes gratuity, and compared to other omakases it’s on the higher end. Amane and Satsuki both charge $250, and Nakazawa, which similarly focuses on edomae-style sushi, charges $150. Sushi Noz opens tonight at 6 p.m. and will be open every day except Sunday for two seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.