Sushi Nakazawa – How Does It Compare To Jiro? I Don’t Know Or Care, But This Is Some Of The Best Sushi In NY

Sushi Nakazawa was recently opened by Daisuke Nakazawa who is famous for being the apprentice in “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi” who made tamagoyaki two thousand times before Jiro finally said it was good enough quality to be served to customers.  Naturally before he even opened up there was a lot of buzz about him, how he compares to Jiro, how his experience in Seattle might have shaped him and many other permutations of that conversation.  Well I’ve never been to Jiro (and neither have 99.9% of the people asking how it will compare), but I can tell you this he’s making some of the best sushi in NY right now and is solidly in the top tier sushi level with places like Sushi Yasuda and 15 East.

The restaurant is located in the West Village.  The space is a long narrow space with a sushi bar upfront and tables in the back.  The window facing the sidewalk is floor to ceiling and gives the restaurant a more open feel versus most sushi restaurants which feel enclosed.  It is a beautiful space and I really like how it feels more casual than other sushi restaurants.  The service was excellent and attentive.  Daisuke Nakazawa is a very nice guy. While his English is not great he’s always smiling, laughing and is engaging with customers which is rare in NY.

We got the sushi omakase which is $150 for 21 pieces (a lot of people asked me about that).

I’m going to comment on the sushi rice here since it is a commonality amongst all the sushi.  It was excellent and on par with Yasuda which has the best sushi rice in NY.  The texture was great, perfectly al dente and the flavor of the vinegar was nice and not overpowering or too weak.  The flavoring is a bit different than Yasuda, but it’s a tossup as to whose rice is better.

Another thing I’ll comment on is he uses way more locally caught seafood than other places and I’ve heard some complaints about that because of the price of the meal.  My view is that the seafood was excellent and I don’t care where it’s from if it’s really good although I understand the price vs where the food is from argument, but I’ll let other argue over that.

Here’s what we had:

Wild King Salmon

This was from Alaska and was served with sea salt and yuzu.  The meat was very light colored and quite delicate tasting.  I thought the sea salt and yuzu really complimented it nicely.  8.5/10

Alaskan Sockeye Salmon

This had a slightly stronger salmon taste although again it was excellent.   8.25/10


This was from Maine and was live.  They brought the whole shell out to show us before serving it to us.  It was sweet and bit briny, a really standout scallop.  8.5/10

Seared Geoduck

The searing gave the geoduck a very smoky flavor and the soy sauce complimented it nicely with some saltiness.  While it was not super tender it also wasn’t tough like some geoduck.  I thought it was good although not amazing.  7.75/10

Steamed Abalone

This was from California and was steamed for 4 hours.  This was good for abalone although abalone is not my favorite sushi as I find it a bit hard and not that flavorful.  That said this was better than most abalone you get in the US as it wasn’t that tough.  7.75/10

Pike Mackerel

This was from Japan.  It was really great and was the best piece I’ve had in the US.  8.75/10

Pickled Mackerel

This was from Japan and pickled for 5 days.  The pickling killed any fishy flavor and I thought it was a really nice tasting piece of mackerel.  8.25/10

Trigger Fish

This was from Long Island and served with liver.  The fish was quite light tasting with a good firm texture.  The liver was a nice touch as it gave the fish an extra bit slight liver flavor which made it a much fuller taste overall.  8/10


This was from Long Island and served with yuzu.  This was a standard, but good piece of fluke.  8/10

Spear Squid

This was from Long Island and it was quite tender actually.  Squid itself does not have a ton of flavor, so the soy sauce is definitely necessary.  7.75/10


This was from New Caledonia and while I normally don’t like ebi all that much this was definitely the best piece I’ve had in the US.  It had been recently cooked, so it was slightly warm.  8.25/10

Shima Aji

This was from Japan and it was a really great piece of fish.  Tender and just had great flavor.  8.5/10

Skip Jack

This was from Japan and was smoked.  It was nice with a very slight smokiness to it.  8.25/10

Blue Fin Tuna

This was wild caught from Boston.  It was interesting because all of the tuna was from one fish from Boston which I’d never had tuna from Boston.  I thought it was surprisingly good, nice tuna flavor with pretty good texture.  It’s not like the best stuff I’ve had in Japan, but it was actually very nice.  8.25/10

Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna)

This was wild caught from Boston.  It was nicely marbled and buttery.   8/10

Otoro (Tuna Belly)

This was wild caught from Boston.  It was also nicely marbled and buttery.  8/10

Uni (Sea Urchin)

This was from Santa Barbara.  I was a little worried because it looked bit weird, but once I took a bit it turned out to be excellent.  It was sweet, briny and creamy.  It was definitely a respectable piece of uni.  8.25/10

Salmon Roe

This was from Alaska.  Wow this was a standout; this was by far the best ikura I’ve had in the US.  It wasn’t fishy at all, nicely salty with just generally good flavor.  8.75/10

Anago (Conger Eel)

This was from Japan.  It was a nice piece of anago with good texture not too mushy and the sweet sauce was not overwhelming.  8/10

Tuna Handroll

This was a tuna handroll that had a bit of liver in it.  While tuna handrolls are not my favorite, this was very good for a tuna handroll with a good ratio of fish to rice to nori8.25/10


Here is the infamous tamago from Jiro Dream’s Of Sushi.  This was different than most as it’s the kind that is more of a cake as opposed to an omelette, so the texture is more spongy.  It was fairly sweet and delicate tasting.  I thought it was good although I think I prefer the traditional tamagoyaki more.  8/10

Overall, I really liked Nakazawa across the board.  I thought the food was some of the best I’ve had in NY this year, the service and setting were great and Nakazawa was a really nice guy.  I highly recommend coming here as soon as possible.

23 Commerce St (between S 7th Ave & Bedford St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-2212

Shifu Chio (CHML H.K. Inc.) – Solid Cantonese wonton noodle soup specialist

Shifu Chio (literally means “Master Chio”) is a place I’ve been meaning to come to for a long time.  Shifu Chio specializes in Cantonese wonton noodle soup. Wonton noodle soup in Hong Kong is sort of like the equivalent to ramen in Japan.  I think most people in the US don’t think of it that way because what you find here is usually a poorly made version that just happens to be some after-thought on the menu of a Cantonese BBQ joint, but in Hong Kong you’ll find shops that specialize in it and make really wonderful renditions of it.  I’ve been searching around New York for a good wonton noodle soup place for a long time to no avail.  When I really want it, I’ve gone to NY Noodletown, which has an okay version, but its better than the other places which have anywhere from bad to awful versions.  Recently, I was finally able to stop by for lunch.

The restaurant is very bare bones with plain wooden tables with menus that have pictures on them and an open kitchen and counter; not much more décor to speak of other than that.  The service is pretty gruff, but it is quick.  The menu is translated into English, I’m not sure how well they speak English, but the menu has pictures and English, so you should be fine.

Onto the food:

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup (with noodles on the side):

While I like both versions, I prefer this version slightly.  The preparation is the same except the noodles are put on the side as opposed to in the soup.  Also, the noodles are lightly tossed in oyster sauce giving them an extra flavor that I really like.  As far as the noodles go, these were quite good.  Cantonese wonton noodle soup uses thin egg noodles, the noodles should be al dente and have a good amount of “chew” to them and these definitely did.  The oyster sauce really kicked up the flavor.  The wontons were quite big; they were filled with shrimp and pork.  The filling was quite good, the pork was well minced and the shrimps were fresh.  The skins were good as well, they were definitely made there and were not overly thick or thin and importantly were not overcooked (most places overcook them and they get soggy).  The disappointing part was the broth.  The broth is usually made with some mixture of seafood (dried fish and / or shrimp) and pork bone.  The broth here was lacking depth of flavor that you get from a great broth that has been simmered for a long time and it was a bit on the salty side.  It wasn’t terrible, but was just okay.  However, overall I thought it was tasty and is definitely the best wonton noodle soup I’ve had in NY although the competition is basically non-existent. 7.75/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup:

Same thing except the noodles are in the soup with no oyster sauce.  I think we all preferred the version with the soup on the side. 7.5/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

I’d definitely recommend coming here to check out a pretty decent wonton noodle soup.  If they got a better broth going, this place would be excellent as the wontons and the noodles are quite good.


40-09 Prince St

Flushing, NY 11354

(718) 888-9295

You also need to be aware of transaction costs, it gets expensive to trade alot.

Cheeky Sandwiches – Amazing New Orleans style sandwiches in the LES

Cheeky is a small sandwich place that I noticed walking to Chinatown and decided I should try it.  It turned out to be one of the better places I’ve been to in NY in a long time.   It’s one of the many new restaurants that have opened up in the Lower Eastside that is really making the neighborhood’s food scene markedly better.  The owner is a really nice guy from New Orleans and he opened up the place in December 2009.

The place is small and the kitchen takes up a good amount of the place with benches along the sides where you can eat.  Most of the clientele is pretty local and I think are mainly regulars as everyone seems to know the owner and vice versa.  The menu is fairly small and consists of 5 or 6 New Orleans style sandwiches and some sides like chips and beignets.  I love specialist type places and this is a very good one.

Here’s what we got:

Chicken Sandwich:

This is fried chicken on a house-made buttermilk biscuit with coleslaw and gravy.  This is delicious albeit very unhealthy.  The buttermilk biscuit is really good, very flavorful and buttery, not overly salty and just generally good.  The chicken is fried to order, nice and crispy, not overly oily.  It all goes well with the thick white gravy and the coleslaw which is actually mainly just red cabbage (different than normal cole slaw, which I’m not a big fan of).  Really great sandwich. 8.25/10

½ Fried Oyster and ½ Fried Shrimp Po’boy:

This sandwich is unbelievable.  The oysters and shrimp are high quality and fried fresh when you order.  The batter he uses is so good.  It’s dressed with a little mayo, lettuce and tomatoes.  The bread he uses is really good too.  It’s pretty self-explanatory, but definitely one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in NY. 8.25/10

Beef Sandwich:

This is braised short-ribs with wild arugula, cherry tomatoes, & horseradish sauce on challa bread.  The bread is really good, semi sweet and grilled similar to a grilled cheese sandwich.  The beef is quite tender and tasty, I would like it to be slightly more together as it’s completely braised until its strands of beef, but nonetheless quite good.  The cherry tomatoes and horseradish sauce go very well with the beef, another winner. 7.5/10


These are similar to doughnut holes, but the batter is a bit heavier than a regular doughnut.  They are fresh fried to order and then dusted with confectioner’s sugar.  I really liked these a lot. 8/10

Big Shot Grape Soda:

They’ve got a brand of New Orleans soda called Big Shot, my GF loves grape soda, its pretty good, not too sweet. 7.5/10

Overall, this is a great restaurant.  I highly recommend going there ASAP.

35 Orchard St (Between Canal and Hester)
Manhattan, NY 10002

Overseas Asian – Authentic Malaysian food in Chinatown


I’ve been to Overseas several years ago, but I don’t really remember it being anything special.  However, I walk by there all the time and noticed it’s consistently crowded with a local crowd (i.e. Chinese from Chinatown).  I decided that I should give it another try as I’ve been looking for a decent Malaysian restaurant in the city for a while after Happy Joy closed down.  I went there last weekend with my gf and another friend.  It turned out to be a surprisingly good meal, far better than other Malaysian restaurants I’ve been to in Chinatown lately.

The restaurant is in the far eastern part of Chinatown on Canal almost in the Lower Eastside.  It’s nicer than most Chinatown restaurants, its clean and looks new with a wooden interior and wooden tables.  In the back of the restaurant, they have a small area where they sell various Malaysian / Chinese goods such as instant noodles, white coffee (a famous type of coffee from Ipoh), mooncakes, some Malaysian pastries, chili sauces etc.

The service is fine and the servers are pretty nice.  They do speak English if you don’t have anyone who speaks Chinese (they are Cantonese from Malaysia).

On to the food:

Roti Canai:

Roti canai is a layered pancake that you dip into a spicy curry sauce.  It’s very popular in Singapore and Malaysia (used to eat this all the time when I lived there). This was quite good, nice and crispy and tasted freshly cooked, a bit thicker than it should be, but still good. The curry sauce was much better than most of the restaurants I’ve had in the city as it was spicier, had good flavor and the chicken and potatoes in it were quite good.  Everyone liked this dish a lot. 7.75/10

Kari Mee (Curry Mee):

Kari mee is a simple spicy coconut curry noodle soup with egg noodles, shrimp, pork, fish cakes, fried tofu, crispy fried tofu skins, bean sprouts and green onions.  This version was quite good, much better than the version I had at Taste Good in Elmhurst which was way too coconutty.  The broth was very good, spicy, a little bit coconutty, not overly salty and just generally good.  All of the ingredients tasted fresh, I particularly liked the crispy fried tofu skins (recommend eating them quickly as they get really mushy quickly).  The only real downfall to this dish was the noodles, which were clearly packaged and a bit too mushy.  If they had better noodles, this would be a really good dish.  Everyone liked it. 7.75/10

Beef Rendang:

Beef rendang is a coconut curry dish where you slowly cook beef in a coconut curry broth until it’s very tender.  It’s hard to get right and most places tend to mess it up royally.  The version here is pretty decent although not amazing, but better than most places I’ve had in NY though.  The curry sauce is good, spicy, good flavor and not too salty.  The beef while tender was a bit drier than it should be.  My friend really liked it though.  Overall, it was a pretty decent dish. 7.25/10

Ipoh Bean Sprouts:

Ipoh bean sprouts is a dish that I like quite a lot, its blanched bean sprouts with soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and these really small golden fried onions (you fry them for 45 mins).  Sounds very mundane, but when you have it done correctly it’s really good.  The version here is just okay though.  The bean sprouts were fine as were the other ingredients, but I felt the sauce was lacking and seemed to be a bit bland.  It needed a bit more salt and a lot more sesame oil (it barely had any sesame oil).  6.75/10

Kang Kan Belachan:

This dish was the winner of the night.  Kang kan is kong xin cai in Chinese or water spinach in English.  The dish is cooked in a sauce using belachan, which is a fermented shrimp paste that I really like a lot.   I absolutely love kang kan belchan and this version was outstanding.  The vegetable were cooked perfectly, so they retained a good texture and their flavor.  The sauce was excellent, not being overly salty or using too much belachan.  This tastes pretty close to what you would get in Singapore or Malaysia.  We were all wow’d by this dish.  Highly recommend. 8.25/10

Bak Kut Teh:

Bak kut teh is a soup dish that simmers pork ribs in broth of a whole bunch of herbs and spices like black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, garlic etc for a very long time.  In Chinese it translates to meat bone tea (rou gu cha).  The result is a broth with a deep meaty peppery flavor that isn’t too heavy, most people usually eat it for breakfast with a you tiao (fried crueller).  It’s really good when done right although fairly difficult to find outside of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Besides the pork ribs it usually contains mushrooms, fried tofu puffs and sometimes vegetables.  The version here is okay, nowhere nearly as good as the real version.  It was too sweet (shouldn’t really be sweet) and while it had a decent meaty flavor, it wasn’t as flavorful as it should’ve been.  I meant it tasted good, but if you’ve had the real deal this pales in comparison.  We weren’t expecting much and it was actually probably better than what I was expecting as my expectations were really low. 6.75/10

Hainan Chicken:

Hainan chicken is a whole chicken boiled in water flavored with garlic and ginger and then dipped in ice water, so the skin separates from the meat.  It’s served either room temperature or slightly chilled.  This is one of the most famous dishes in Singapore and one of my favorite dishes, I used to eat it everyday for lunch literally (Tian Tian Hai Nan Ji Fan is my favorite place).  It’s normally served with a light chili sauce, a very dark thick and sweet soy sauce and this ginger garlic oil.  In the US, the places never seem to give you the soy sauce, which is unfortunate b/c it’s really good.  They give you the chili sauce here, which tasted reasonably authentic.  The chicken however wasn’t that great, the skin was a bit too gelatinous and the meat was sort of difficult to get off the bone.  It was also served too cold.  I didn’t like it that much, so it was a bit disappointing. 6.5/10

Hainan Chicken Rice:

This is rice cooked in a chicken stock, looks just like light yellow rice and while it  sounds bland, its very flavorful and really good when you put the chili sauce and dark soy sauce on it.  It’s unfortunately a difficult dish to get correct, in Singapore it’s usually only specialists who make it.  The version here is okay, although far better than most versions in Chinatown which usually range from bad to awful.  It’s got a decent flavor although it doesn’t has the great deep flavor you’d get at a good place and isn’t as fluffy as it should be.  Decent and will do if you really want Hainan chicken rice. 6.75/10

Sambal Sting Ray:

The waitress recommended this dish.  In Singapore, I used to get this dish at this one hawker center all the time and it was another one of my favorite dishes.  If you’ve never had sting ray it is similar to skate.  The meat is very light tasting white meat that isn’t fishy, it should be very tender if done correctly.  The sting rays they use in the US are quite a bit bigger than the ones they use in Singapore, which I think have a better tasting meat, but they are still pretty decent.  This was another surprise dish that turned out to be quite good.  The meat was very tender and cooked nicely, much better than the version I had at Nyonya and better than the version I had at Taste Good in Elmhurst.  The sambal sauce was pretty good, a bit sweet, spicy and had a good flavor from the belachan that was in it.  Sambal is a chili paste used in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc.  Overall, I’d definitely recommend this dish. 7.75/10

White Coffee:

This type of coffee is from Ipoh in Malaysia, I’ve had it before in Singapore, but I wasn’t actually sure what the difference was aside from flavor until I looked it up on Wikipedia (  It’s got a much lighter flavor than regular coffee, its smoother and much less bitter.  It’s mixed with condensed milk.  This is the instant version, you simply pour boiling water over the ground mixture of coffee and dried condensed milk.  It’s not quite as good as the real version, but tasty nonetheless and I was pretty excited to find them selling it in the back part of the store.  I’d recommend buying a pack. 7.75/10

Foh San Mooncakes:

It happens to be mid-autumn festival right now when you eat mooncakes.   Foh San is a famous dim sum / mooncake bakery in Ipoh, Malaysia.  Ipoh is a mainly Chinese city in Malaysia that is known for having very good food.  Several Malaysian places in NY are selling the Foh San brand.  They have several different flavors, I tried the Imperial Jade and Durian flavored versions.  They are quite good, the lotus paste is also mixed with some coconut milk and pandan leave that I really liked and I liked the flavor better than the traditional version.  They both have one egg yolk, which I prefer.  The durian version tastes like durian, but you obviously have to like Durian, which a lot of people do not.  I’d recommend this brand and this is where I’ve been getting my mooncakes this year. 8.25/10

Overall, an authentic and surprisingly good meal here, much better than other Malaysian restaurants I’ve been to in the Chinatown including my former go to Skyway, which I’ve been pretty disappointed in the last few times I went there.  I’ve read some pretty bad reviews on about this place, but from what the reviewers said I have a feeling people ordered the wrong dishes b/c they don’t know much about Malaysian food (one person talked about ordering Mapo Tofu).  Definitely recommend trying.

49 Canal Street (between Ludlow St & Orchard St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-3233