The well-regarded, long-time Times Square Japanese restaurant Sushi Zen will close after service tonight. Part of the city’s old guard of sushi temples, the restaurant is known as a mainstay of the city’s sushi scene since it opened its doors in 1983, seven years after Hatsuhana, at a time when most New Yorkers couldn’t tell their nigiri from their makizushi.
Since opening, the restaurant has been presided over by Toshio Suzuki, an adherent of the traditional Edomae style who trained celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto and has notable fans in chefs like Michael Anthony. The restaurant maintained a following, even as it flew somewhat under the radar when more and more high-quality sushi restaurants opened around town. Sushi Zen’s closing is nonetheless unexpected, especially given that the owners said last March that they would be relocating the restaurant to a larger space just three blocks north.