Tonight marks chef Kazunori Nozawa’s final session of slicing behind the bar at Sushi Nozawa; the last day before this 66-year-old retires after 47 years in the raw fish game and shutters up his Studio City shop. Not that this has gone unnoticed or anything. The New York Times pens a love letter to the so-called “Sushi Nazi,” offering a glimpse into the current two-and-a-half hour wait for a last seat before Nozawa becomes a location of the chef’s chain, Sugarfish. The paper also gets Nozawa to discuss his dictatorial moniker (“For those people who don’t have great manners and etiquette, I am the sushi Nazi,” he confirms) and admit that he secretly holds certain cuts of fish for certain regulars. And speaking of his stable clientele, what does Nine Inch Nails have to do with Nozawa?
While Nozawa may have booted Charlize Theron from the restaurant when she couldn’t shut her pie-hole, the supposedly “celebrity-blind” chef sure has a lot of celebrity admirers. In a press release from Jannis Swerman & Company regarding Nozawa’s closure, the company features a short list of stars offering eulogies, from actor Jason Biggs, who claims to have eaten eight meals there in one week, to comedian Ray Romano, who had his first L.A. sushi here and has come once a week for nine years.
But our favorite gushing quote of devotion comes from Nine Inch Nails frontman and The Social Network composer, Trent Reznor, who offers, “Sushi Nozawa is quite simply my very favorite place in the world to eat. Chef Nozawa is truly a great artist and has lifted the spirits of many an evening with the simplicity and perfection of what he serves. I will miss seeing Nozawa-san behind the bar.”
Someone please tell us this means a sushi-themed musical meditation on love and loss is next up Reznor’s sleeves. After all, Dead Sushi could surely benefit from a better soundtrack.
Nozawa, for his part, is marching on with grand plans for Sugarfish and is even planning a pop-up test kitchen of sorts on March 14th at The Santa Monica Farmers Market. Take a look at the menu here, if your eyes are still dry.