The Sushi Despot…His way or the Higway, what did think this was burger king?

A famously strict sushi bar which seems to be a rite of passage for studio execs and TV stars is firmly situated in a non-descript mini-mall. Chef and owner Kazunori Nozawa of the eponymous Sushi Nozawa on Ventura Blvd, near Universal Studios, in Studio City has been serving up sushi his way or the highway since the 1980s. Many now successful sushi chefs are acolytes of Nozawa’s now almost patented “Chef’s Choice: Trust Me” sytle of sushi. Urban legend goes that Nozawa will throw you out on your bum if you so as happen to mention a predilection for California or spicy tuna rolls. Some sashimi (almost always baby tuna), nigiri-zushi, and some simple rolls such as his to-die-for blue crab hand rolls are served up here. There is no tempura nor other cooked foods here. You’d be hard pressed to find a bowl of miso soup. A cartoonist of The Simpson’s even has a piece of cell animation depicting a traditional sushi chef (possibly Nozawa himself?) admonishing Homer for reaching over the counter and snatching a whole fish. The décor at Sushi Nozawa can be summed up as pedestrian at best. One conjures up images of a cheap Americanized Chinese takeout joint, not the epitome of fresh sushi where the bill can run upwards of a C-note person with a beer or two.

What you’ll get here is tuna over rice along with yellowtail, red snapper, scallop, shrimp, halibut, albacore, and maybe a hand roll or two from a monkfish liver roll to the famous blue crab one. All are of the utmost freshness from a chef obsessed with scouring the local fish market downtown for the only the freshest in the early morning hours. Sometimes he will allow you a couple extras that you can specifically ask for once he has finished his set omakase (literally translated as to entrust or to protect, more readily identified as chef’s choice). Sometimes there can be an arduous wait while at other times a seat opens up quickly. As a side note, Sushi Nozawa closes on the weekends. Nozawa has a pressing golf game to attend to on those days so you’ll have to make do until the business week commences anew.


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