A ‘Jiro Dreams Of Sushi’ Chef Pops Up At The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The king of New York City sushi is coming to Los Angeles—or at least his famous fish is. Sushi Nakazawa is dropping anchor at The Peninsula Beverly Hills from May 12 through June 11 in an exclusive pop-up up at the hotel’s Belvedere Terrace. Connoisseurs of the impossible-to-book West Village restaurant will recognize the signature quality and raw artistry of chef Daisuke Nakazawa, though the L.A. run is overseen by Nakazawa’s executive chef Wei Chen. Regardless, it’s a local opportunity for deliciousness and bragging rights with a menu that will cost a serious chunk of caviar.

Aside from the starry-eyed reviews in The New York Times and elsewhere, Nakazawa is probably best known for his appearance as the dutiful apprentice in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the 2011 Japanese-American documentary about a Tokyo chef on a quest for perfect sushi.

Sushi Nakazawa has topped numerous lists as America’s number one sushi restaurant. One reviewer singled out the chef’s wild yellowtail from Hokkaido, “with fatty tails that tantalizingly overhang rice so tenderly packed, it would fall to pieces if you looked at it askew.” Another, in hailing the Nakazawa experience as “the best fish you’ll have outside of Tokyo,” said of the master behind the sushi blade: “The man must daydream in texture and temperature, because whether mackerel, smoked skipjack, or shrimp are on his menu, they are seasoned lightly, brought to a very precise warmth, and served to transcendent effect.”

After New York Times critic Pete Wells gave the restaurant a rare four-star review in 2013, the tables were so hard to book, you needed to game the system. Food & Wine ran a story on how “slots become available each night at 12:05 a.m., for a date 30 days ahead, through the online reservation service Seatme,” adding, however, that, “If you plan to visit the site and try your luck, you’ll be clicking in line with a city of sushi obsessives. The odds aren’t great.”

Since then, Nakazawa has thin-sliced his way into the hearts and wallets of Manhattan’s fish-counter culturatis, with an omakase offering of 20 pieces of nigiri, sourced from as far as Japan. More recently, Sushi Nakazawa popped up in Washington, D.C., Aspen and Miami. Sushi Nakazawa’s West Village location served as a backdrop in an episode of the TV series “Billions,” and the brand drew some jeers when it opened at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

L.A.’s month-long fishscapade runs Monday through Saturday with two limited seatings per night, bookable via Resy.

Among the pop-up menu highlights: king crab with Persian cucumber, mitsuba and tosazu; yellowtail with thickened ponzu, daikon, crispy potato and hanaho; toro with uni, caviar and milk bread; wagyu with maitake puree and truffle; and nigiri including king salmon, uni, and anago.

Wei Chen’s Aspen stint got standout attention. The chef’s 18-course omakase menu at Nakazawa Aspen, one reviewer said, “is full of surprise—the very definition of the Japanese style of dining that entrusts the fate of a meal to the whims of the chef preparing it, using the freshest seasonal ingredients.”

Hold on tight, though, because tickets for the Los Angeles dinner are $325 per person. But maybe re-frame it like this: At least you don’t have to spring for the transcontinental airfare.


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