Sushi Zo NYC is considered one of the best omakase only sushi restaurants in LA. I went to the West LA location and it changed my palate. Chef Keizo has opened another location in Downtown Los Angeles and expanded to the East Coast now.
Sushi Zo held a Michelin star in 2009 and the Michelin guide has yet to come back to LA. I have a feeling Chef Keizo moved to New York to regain the coveted Michelin star.
According to David Chang, “For pure sushi experience: sushi zo and chef masa offer one of the the best (if not the best) in Nyc my opinion. Rice is damn near perfect.”
The interior is modern Japanese and very similar to every top sushi restaurant I’ve been to in the world. The minimum 10 bar seating. The bar’s table has a simple, clean and classic wood finish. It’s really made me miss Japan for the simplicity of its decor and cuisine.
Sushi Zo NYC is run by executive Chef Masa and he definitely knows what he is doing. Chef Masa at Sushi Zo is not the same chef associated with Michelin 3 star restaurant Masa. Each piece of decadent fish with the ideal rice temperature was perfection. Chef Masa was a lot of fun and interacted with his guest. We discussed the quality of food in LA versus NY. What NYC was good at and what LA is good at. It was a fun foodie conversation.
I’ve been to the three Michelin star Masa and New York’s favorite Sushi Yasuda. I thought Masa’s Kaiseki portion of the meal was great but the nigiri portion was disappointing and lackluster. Sushi Yasuda has been New York’s favorite sushi restaurant without a Michelin star. Sushi Yasuda was another big disappointment and it made me realized New York sushi restaurants are far behind the West Coast. FAR BEHIND.
Now, the food. It’s a traditional edo omakase only sushi restaurant. Sushi Zo keeps to its bread and butter. The same concept that made them the undisputed sushi king in LA. Zo is definitely in a class of its own. The 24 course meal wasn’t overwhelming or didn’t drag, which I thought was the key of the night. I personally get really restless if I have to sit in a restaurant for more than 2 hours. Chef Masa made the experience fun and it was the right amount of food. The overstuffed feeling wasn’t there after the meal. I’m going to mention the main courses I judge a sushi restaurant on.
- Oyster – The fresh oyster had a bit of ponzu sauce on it. Sushi Zo substitutes your typical lime or lemon with ponzu sauce. The vibrant ponzu added some zest to the dish and didn’t distract your palate. In addition, the ponzu sauce added a layer of depth to the dish compared to adding lime or lemon. The focus was still on the natural flavors of the oyster.
- Spanish Mackerel – This dish is very hard to get right. Most sushi restaurants never get it right. When I say most, I mean about 99% of the industry. Sushi Zo is in the 1% of the population that does it right. Chef’s expertise made the fishy taste and smell non-existent. The scentless Mackerel and the buttery rice was a perfect blend of yin and yang.
- Tomago – Chef Masa gently placed the tomago on the sushi dish. The texture was soft, fluffy, and evaporated on your palate. The tomago is usually the sign for the end of the omakase. It’s the last dish before dessert and it’s the perfect transition like a triangle choke into an arm bar. The semi-sweet flavor was perfect and wasn’t overpowering like when a man or woman puts on too much cologne or perfume.
Overall, Sushi Zo distinguishes itself from the mediocre and other high-end sushi restaurants. Zo’s quality and expertise sets it above the rest of the restaurants in its class. It’s setting the standard for quality sushi restaurants in New York. According to David Chang, “For pure sushi experience: sushi zo and chef masa offer one of the the best (if not the best) in Nyc my opinion. Rice is damn near perfect.” I think he knows what he’s talking about.
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- Service - 8/108/10
- Presentation - 8/108/10
- Flavor - 9/109/10
- Ambiance - 8.5/108.5/10
- Decor - 8.5/108.5/10
Sushi Zo is going to be considered the best omakase sushi restaurant in New York. It’s only a matter of time after they get situated and word starts spreading around Manhattan like cocaine in the 80s.