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Daisuke Nakazawa, Chef Featured in ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi,’ to Open Second Restaurant, Without Sushi


The upcoming restaurant on Grove Street will not serve sushi and will accept walk-ins, unlike Sushi Nakazawa

The ‘Jiro’ chef’s new restaurant will serve a wide array of fresh seafood but no sushi, which will remain the focus of his flagship, Sushi Nakazawa.

Daisuke Nakazawa, a chef whom you may recognize from the renowned Sushi Nakazawa in New York City and the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, will open a second restaurant on Grove Street in Manhattan, reports DNA Info.

The yet-unnamed restaurant is headed for 55 Grove Street and will serve Japanese cuisine and fresh seafood, but no sushi. The menu is expected to utilize both Japanese and American ingredients and methods of preparation, according to DNA Info.

The proposed $125 tasting menu includes items like fluke carpaccio with white sturgeon caviar, Meyer lemon, seaweed, and karashi mustard; Akamutsu bluefish with Bordeaux spinach and poached citrus jam; Dungeness crab with roasted pistachio, broccoli, and a citrus-seasoned ponzu; and live Maine scallop with creamed butter and blackened chives.

In contrast to Sushi Nakazawa's strict reservation-only policy, the upcoming restaurant will accept walk-ins as well as reservations.

During a recent meeting with Community Board 2's liquor license committee, restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone reportedly told members, "We wanted to do something a little different, something where people can actually walk in without a reservation. It’s a little bit more of a casual setting, but once again at a high level."

UPDATE: Early reports surrounding the newest restaurant from Daisuke Nakazawa and his partner Alessandro Borgognone may have gotten some of the details wrong. Daisuke Nakazawa may not even be the new restaurant’s head chef. Read on for more details.


The 20 Best New NYC Restaurants of 2013

Opening restaurants in New York City is a crazy, crazy game. Between the ebb and flow of trends, insane real-estate competition, and the fickle appetites of diners, the food scene in constant flux. You can either spend your time (and cash) chasing the next great meal, or you can say screw it and stick with the solid chicken sandwich at the dependable bistro down the block. Either move is a totally reasonable.

Just look at our favorite restaurants from last year: For all the places that are still thriving and raising the bar (Perla, Pok Pok NY, Mission Chinese), there are a handful that have lost their way (The Pines, Neta)—often, but not always, because they lost the chefs who gave them their creative edge. Even some places that were looking strong midway through 2013 have either fallen off, or been trumped by new kids on the block.

But hey—not all great restaurants in NYC were meant to be timeless. A good run at a young restaurant can be a great thing to witness, as can the makings of the next New York classic. Realistically, some of the places on this list may be on a hot streak that won’t last other are destined to become stalwarts you’ll return to five, 10, and 15 years from now. But one thing’s certain: These are the 20 best new restaurants in NYC that you should be eating at right now.

Written by Chris Schonberger (@cschonberger), Erin Mosbaugh (@JayBlague), Khushbu Shah (@KhushAndOJ), Alia Akkam (@aliaakkam), Nick Schonberger (@nschon), Elyse Inamine (@elyseinamine), and Regan Hofmann (@regan_hofmann)


Bellevue

Quick Bites Soul Food

Just the faintest whiff of fried chicken is generally enough to get that fried-food craving going. If it hits you while you’re hanging out in B-town (aka Bellevue), you’ll want to head to Quick Bites Soul Food on Mission Avenue (which opened in 2016). Go for the homemade fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, and fried okra, but don’t leave without a little something sweet from the candy shop.

Roma Italian Restaurant

Delicious Italian food came to this Bellevue location via—Texas? You read that right. Gresa and Albert Govori met in Brownwood, Texas, where Albert already owned an Italian restaurant. They eventually decided to move back to Gresa’s hometown of Lincoln, but couldn’t find the right space there. Turns out, the right space was on Fort Crook Road in Bellevue. Roma opened in spring of 2016.

The Special Restaurant

Amarillo BBQ was a big-time favorite. When it closed in 2010, many wondered what would happen to the beloved space left behind. Whatever went in there would have to be something special. Enter Bellevue native and Navy veteran Laura Scott and her husband, Ed. They serve authentic, home-cooked diner-style food at a great price.

Umami Asian Cuisine

Sushi in Nebraska is something visitors may find questionable. Is the fish fresh? Do the chefs really know what they’re doing when it comes to sushi? These are fair questions in an area known for serving mostly steak. But the food landscape has changed a lot over the past few years, and Bellevue is a good example of this. At Umami, there is no question that sushi chef Keen Zheng is making great strides in helping with that change. For the last 13 years, Zheng studied with New York City’s greatest sushi chefs. This meant working at not just one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants in the process—Kanoyama and 15 East. He later worked at Sushi Nakazawa, a New York Times four-star restaurant, under Daisuke Nakazawa, who has trained with chef Jiro Ono. Ono is featured in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi , and is considered by many to be the best sushi chef in the world. All this experience is evidenced in Zheng’s preparation, cut, presentation, and taste. While the sushi is clearly exceptional, there are plenty of other delectable dishes on the menu. Curry, bento boxes, and kung pao are all options here, and all are equally tasty. The chicken curry udon with its mild, red Thai curry flavor is one of those comforting dishes that you will look forward to, especially if you’re not feeling well. For anyone looking to fill that fried-food craving, the rock shrimp tempura appetizer is where it’s at. But the main draw, the sushi, is exceptional. The “mango tango” seems to get a lot of action, and the “1504 Bellevue” is not to be missed, especially for those looking for a spicy little kick.


Top Noms of 2014

Every year, we compile our favorite meals of the previous 12 months. (For previous years, check here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009). It is always hard to choose the best, and this year especially so when 2013 ended with our number one meal of all time at Alinea in Chicago, and then 2014 started with the previous #1 (and still #1 in NYC), Eleven Madison Park for the second time. But enough about previous tops, and onto the tops of 2014:

As for great food that weren’t specific restaurants, I had an incredible experience at the New York Magazine Taste Event, getting to sample a bite from some of the best restaurants around the city. My favorite recipe that I shared (and have now baked over and over again) was the Nutella Stuffed Salted Chocolate Cookies (note: I have since removed the caramels and find the recipe is perfect even without this extra indulgence). And then my favorite day of the year is the day we went on a veritable treasure hunt around NYC to #followtherabbit to get free cronuts and cookie shots from Dominique Ansel in honor of his cookbook launch. What an amazing time!

As for our top 10 Restaurants of 2014…

We had a great meal at The NoMad (#5 on the Top Noms of 2013) and we were excited to see that they launched a slightly more casual (and very sexy) “Bar” version. We have since been back a few times and each time we enjoy the food and the cocktails, which are very expensive but some of the best in the city. It’s hard to beat as a place to impress guests or a date.

We had heard the rumbling about the new restaurant from Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, Carbone. The buzz about the Veal Parm was especially loud, referencing the ridiculous price ($54) and the equally ridiculous deliciousness. The veal was certainly delicious, but it was actually the amazing pasta dishes that pushed this into the top 10.

We were surprised at how much we enjoyed brunch at DBGB, though I really shouldn’t have been since I have always been a big fan of David Boulud restaurants. We have enjoyed ourselves at many including Boulud Sud (#6 on the 2012 Top Noms List) Daniel (#3 on the 2011 Top Noms List), Cafe Boulud (#5 on the Top Restaurant Week list), and Bar Boulud (a favorite brunch spot). Our brunch at DBGB was with a big group and everyone left raving about the food, and the French Toast was the best I’ve ever had.

We had a great time at the pop-up preview of Root & Bone in 2013 and then visited the new permanent location in the East Village during the first few weeks of opening. It was opened by Top Chef alums Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth and brought us the fried chicken that no one can stop talking about. I loved the corn dish (which combined “Grilled Sweet Corn Cob… Husk and All” with cornbread butter, giant hominy, and popped corn) though I’ve heard that it’s not as consistent from other reviewers. I also adored the short rib meat loaf. I loved that the menu had a lot of memorable dishes that were a little bit different.

Another surprising meal was at Bodega Negra in Chelsea. Perhaps it’s because I don’t get to eat Mexican food very often due to my allergy, so this was novel. But the dessert alone put this squarely in the top 10 and it was an incredibly memorable meal. (Video of the dessert’s metamorphosis here)

I love a Peking Duck dinner. Something about that crispy duck with all the fixins wrapped in the little pancakes just make me happy. But this dinner was pretty epic in that not only was the duck dinner included, but also 4 small plates, 2 main dishes, and 1 fried rice or side dish. The grilled wagyu beef pieces are still a taste memory stuck on repeat in my brain and it’s a great meal to share with food loving friends.

A restaurant I have recommended again and again is all’onda. Eater called it the biggest restaurant opening of 2014 and we could not disagree. Each dish was very unique and had a special flare to it that everyone really enjoyed. We loved the sea urchin pasta (which I think has gone off and on the menu a few times depending on availability) and I still think of the arancini balls with beautiful squid ink rice.

What a surprise! Mike made an impressive choice for my surprise birthday dinner and our meal was fantastic from start to finish. A whole lot of chef chosen sushi in the Omikase, with the uni that will forever leave me chasing that uni dragon. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation, be sure to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi before you go, and then visit this restaurant to taste what Chef Daisuke Nakazawa learned after a 10-year apprenticeship at one of the best sushi restaurants in Japan.

After quite the exciting meal at The French Laundry during out honeymoon, it was hard to resist trying Per Se on our first wedding anniversary. I was excited just to be in this NYC institution, and I could not wait to wrap my tongue around the Oysters and Pearls dish again, a tiny bowl of heaven that is famous in both locations. While still not as great as other restaurants we have loved, it was undeniable why this is commonly referred to as one of the best (and most special) restaurants in New York City. The meal was perfect (just like our French Laundry meal) but not quite as creative as some of our favorites. Still #2 for the year!

The surprise of the year. I went to Boston on business but was able to spend my first night in the city with a good friend. A quick search of top restaurants in the city near the Boston Back Bay station led me to Liquid Art House. The space opened in May of this year and it was incredible and impressive with art hung like a gallery. The food is also a work of art on each plate. Usually you expect food that beautiful to be more aesthetic than substance, but the food absolutely, 100% delivered. Each flavor was incredible and the ingredients were so fresh. I was actually suffering extensively from morning sickness during this meal, but I managed to enjoy every single bite. I wish I had room for dessert, because I can only imagine what creations they came up with, but I left this meal in awe of how much I enjoyed it. I also just found out that Chef Stacy Cogswell from the current season of Top Chef (the Boston native) just came into the kitchen under Executive Chef Rachel Klein. Since we do love our Top Cheftestant restaurants, I look forward even more to bringing Mike back to try this place as soon as we can make a trip back to Boston.

Another incredible year of eats! I cannot help but reflect back on how fortunate we are that we get to live this life. We joke that our biggest fear for our baby is that he will not love food. But I have to think that can’t possibly be feasible with us as parents. We just love this way too much.


The Pick of the Zip

It’s time to break the cycle and explore outside our daily routines. Whether you’re looking to find a new lunch place near your work, or if you’re planning date night logistics around soccer games and play rehearsals, we’ve developed a list of must-try dish picks for every zip code in the Omaha area (one dish per zip).

Along with zip codes in Omaha city limits, we expanded coverage to incorporate outlying areas (with the Platte River as our western and southern boundary). We also included three Iowa zip codes for a more complete presentation of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro. Zip codes are arranged numerically in order.

We couldn’t do this on our own, so we reached out to some of Omaha’s leading food Instagrammers. These foodies know a thing or two about a beautiful meal. We sent them a list of the Omaha metro’s zip codes, and they replied with their dish picks. I curated excerpts from their contributed lists—supplemented by a few picks of my own—to complete this guide.

Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area Zip Codes

Meet Our Instagram Foodie Consultants

I started @OOOOmaha_Eats because when I lived in Austin, Texas, I always kept up-to-date with hip, new food joints through foodies’ Instagram accounts. When I moved to Omaha, I wanted to try new places and explore Omaha. I thought, ‘What better way to do so than through food?’ I already was taking pictures of all the new places I was trying, so I started my own foodie account.

@EatOurWorld (Margaret Davenport and Levi Campbell)

Our Instagram account, @EatOurWorld, is a shared endeavor. It began a few years ago when Levi had to design a website for a class and asked Margaret for help. We knew we wanted to do something food-related, so we decided to focus on local dishes, farmers, and products that make any region that we are visiting really stand out. There’s so much good food in Nebraska that has been made or produced here some of our local dishes are just as good, if not better, than dishes you may find in the world’s leading food tourism destinations. Although we are primarily focused on Lincoln, we also frequent Omaha for dinner excursions.

@TheWalkingTourists (Tim and Lisa Trudell)

Our goal with @TheWalkingTourists Instagram account is to highlight and showcase the sights, eats, and fascinating activities from explorations of our backyard in Omaha and beyond. We hope to inspire people to get out and find new adventures. Together we wrote the book 100 Things to do in Omaha Before You Die, which is available for sale online and in local bookstores. We are also working on another book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha, scheduled for spring 2019 release.

@OmahaEat (Yuko Dobashi)

I started my Instagram account to practice food photography and share my recipes and restaurant reviews in Omaha. Posting photos and interacting with other foodies gives me motivation to keep learning about my camera and Photoshop. My goal is to have more photos and recipes published.

@Omaha.Feast (Meredith George)

Instagram has been such a fun way to continue exploring Omaha and connect with friends and family—people love to talk about food and what their favorite places are. Running a “foodstagram” has helped me expand my tastes and push me outside my comfort zone. It’s also encouraged me to #eatlocal and continue to prioritize our awesome local restaurants and chefs.

@FoodOmaha402 (Neal Bierman)

I have loved going out to eat at local restaurants in Omaha ever since my parents started taking me out with them in the ’90s. I want to show Omahans, people in town for business, or folks vacationing in the Big O that there are so many amazing restaurants here. I truly admire and respect all the local restaurant owners, the risk and hard work they put in to start a restaurant, and the staff who make the dining experience so enjoyable. People in Omaha love going out to eat for entertainment, and I want to showcase that through Instagram.

Zip: 51501

  • Dish pick: carp dinner at Mo Fish
  • Price: $11.95
  • Website:mofishcafe.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 51503

  • Dish pick: Chicken Hawk Sandwich at Barley’s
  • Price: $9
  • Website:barleysbar.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 51510

  • Dish pick: tacos at Jonesy’s Taco House Carter Lake
  • Price: $3 (beef or chicken), $3.25 (fish), $3.75 (steak tacos), $2 (beef and chicken) during weekly Taco Tuesdays
  • Facebook:Jonesys Taco House Carter Lake
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 51526

  • Dish pick: prime rib at Pink Poodle Steakhouse
  • Price: $25 (12-oz. regular cut), $35 (cut-and-a-half), $48 (Diamond Jim cut)
  • Website:pinkpoodlesteakhouse.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Zip: 68005

  • Dish pick: omakase at Umami
  • Price: $75-$100 per person
  • Website:umamiasianne.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68007

  • Dish pick: wings with mango habanero sauce at The Warehouse
  • Price: $6.95 (six wings), $13.25 (12 wings), $24.75 (24 wings)
  • Website:benningtonwarehouse.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68010

  • Dish pick: western omelet at Boys Town Visitor’s Center Café
  • Price: $4.19
  • Website:boystown.org
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68022

  • Dish pick: tortellini di manzo at Bella Vita Ristorante
  • Price: $19 (served dinner only)
  • Website:bellavitane.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68028

  • Dish pick: crispy mushroom sandwich at Local Beer & Patio
  • Price: $11.50
  • Website:localbeer.co
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68046

  • Dish pick: pan-seared salmon at Ollie & Hobbes Craft Kitchen
  • Price: $19 ($24 with crab)
  • Website:ollieandhobbes.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68059

  • Dish pick: crispy Buffalo chicken sandwich at Trojan Tavern
  • Price: $9.95
  • Website:thetrojantavern.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68064

  • Dish pick: pan-fried chicken at Simply Delicious
  • Price: $14.95
  • Website:simplydeliciousrestaurant.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68069

  • Dish pick: fried ice cream at El Bee’s
  • Price: $5.90 (cash only)
  • Facebook:El Bees
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68102

  • Dish pick: Croque Garcon Burger at Block 16
  • Price: $8.25
  • Website:block16omaha.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast and @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68104

  • Dish pick: tonkotsu ramen at Ika Ramen and Izakaya
  • Price: $12
  • Website:ikaramenandizakaya.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68105

  • Dish pick: flaming saganaki at Greek Islands
  • Price: $8.25
  • Website:greekislandsomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68106

  • Dish pick: barbacoa short ribs at J.Coco
  • Price: $27 (served dinner only)
  • Website:jcocoomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

Zip: 68107

  • Dish pick: menudo at Taqueria Tijuana
  • Price: $7 (served weekends only)
  • Facebook:@TaqueriaTijuana402
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68108

  • Dish pick: egg yolk raviolo at Via Farina
  • Price: $14
  • Website:goviafarina.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

Zip: 68110

  • Dish pick: whole catfish dinner at Get-N-Go Fish
  • Price: $12
  • Website:getngofish.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Zip: 68111

  • Dish pick: oven-fried chicken at Big Mama’s Kitchen
  • Price: $9.29 (two pieces with one side), $10.89 (three pieces with one side) $11.99 (two pieces with two sides), $12.99 (three pieces with two sides)
  • Website:bigmamaskitchen.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 68112

  • Dish pick: The Shack Attack at Fat BBQ Shack
  • Price: $8.99, add $1.49 for extra meat
  • Website:fatbbqshack.biz
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

Zip: 68113

  • Dish pick: Resa’s Famous Spaghetti at Peacekeeper Lanes (for those with base access) house special at Korean House Restaurant (for those without base access)
  • Price: $6.25 full portion, $5 half portion (Resa’s Famous Spaghetti at Peacekeeper Lanes, served Wednesdays during lunch) $9.75 (bulgogi, chicken, kalbee, and drink at Korean House)
  • Facebook:@Offutt55fss & Korean House
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke (Peacekeeper Lanes) and @OmahaEat (Korean House Restaurant)

Zip: 68114

  • Dish pick: hummus with beef shawarma at El Basha
  • Price: $7.50
  • Website:elbashagrill.com
  • Chosen by: @OOOOmaha_Eats

Zip: 68116

  • Dish pick: shrimp roll with firecracker sauce at Wave Bistro
  • Price: $8.95 (served dinner only)
  • Website:wavebistrorestaurant.com
  • Chosen by: @Omaha.Feast

Zip: 68117

  • Dish pick: Moctezuma Molcajete at Puerto Vallarta
  • Price: $19.75
  • Website:puertovallartamexicanrestaurant.net
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68118

  • Dish pick: The Mia at Pitch
  • Price: $20
  • Website:pitchpizzeria.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld and @Omaha.Feast

Zip: 68122

  • Dish pick: pizza rosso (whole milk mozzarella, asiago, romano, parmesan, and provolone) at Mangia Italiana
  • Price: $13.99 (10-inch), $16.99 (13-inch), $19.99 (16-inch)
  • Website:mangiaitaliana.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68123

  • Dish pick: Lust at Sinful Burger
  • Price: $8.99
  • Website:sinfulburger.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68124

  • Dish pick: whiskey steak sirloin at Drover (served dinner only)
  • Price: $26.95, add $8.50 for a bowl of mushrooms (enough for two or three people)
  • Website:droverrestaurant.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68127

  • Dish pick: beef bulgogi at the Korean Garden Restaurant
  • Price: $10.95
  • Website:koreangardenomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Zip: 68128

  • Dish pick: Omaha Potato Casserole at Summer Kitchen Café
  • Price: $9.99 (junior), $11.99 (regular), $13.00 (king), add $1.39 for an egg on top
  • Website:summerkitchen.net
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68130

  • Dish pick: the classic gyro at Legacy Gyros
  • Price: $6.99
  • Website:legacygyros.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68131

  • Dish pick: Diavolo at Dante Pizzeria Napoletana
  • Price: $13
  • Website:dantepizzeria.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402 and @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68132

  • Dish pick: Bolognese bianco (now simply called “rigatoni” on the menu) at Avoli Osteria
  • Price: $18
  • Website:avoliosteria.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 68133

  • Dish pick: sampler platter at The Hop House Bar & Grill
  • Price: $12.99
  • Website:hophousebar.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68134

  • Dish pick: stuffed eggplant papoutsakia at Jim and Jennie’s Greek Village
  • Price: $11 (served Saturdays only)
  • Website:jimandjennies.com
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68135

  • Dish pick: Pop Tarts at Over Easy
  • Price: $3.99
  • Website:overeasyomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402 and @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68136

  • Dish pick: vermicelli rice noodle bowl at Ling’s Asian Cuisine
  • Price: $10
  • Website:lingsasiancuisine.com
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68137

  • Dish pick: Country Sunrise at Shirley’s Diner
  • Price: $9.99
  • Website:shirleysdiner.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68138

  • Dish pick: Azteca Burrito Supreme at Azteca Mexican Restaurant
  • Price: $9.95
  • Website:aztecaomaha.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68142

  • Dish pick: steak lafa wrap at Ryan’s Food & Spirits
  • Price: $11.95
  • Website:rgcateringevents.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 68144

  • Dish pick: chicken tikka madras at Jaipur Indian Restaurant and Brewing Co.
  • Price: $18.95
  • Website:jaipurindianfood.com
  • Chosen by: @FoodOmaha402

Zip: 68147

  • Dish pick: huevos con chorizo at Nettie’s
  • Price: $14.95
  • Facebook:@NettiesFineMexicanFood
  • Chosen by: @TheWalkingTourists

Zip: 68152

  • Dish pick: Triple Decker Reuben
  • Price: $9.99
  • Website:thecabinbarandgrill.com
  • Chosen by: @EatOurWorld

Zip: 68154

  • Dish pick: Thai salmon salad at Greenbelly
  • Price: $9.99 (baby), $10.99 (regular)
  • Website:thegreenbelly.com
  • Chosen by: @OOOOmaha_Eats

Zip: 68157

  • Dish pick: pork tamales with two street tacos at 80’s Snack Shack
  • Price: $6
  • Facebook:@80sMunchies
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Zip: 68164

  • Dish pick: negi hamachi roll at Hiro 88
  • Price: $7.50
  • Website:hiro88.com
  • Chosen by: @OmahaEat

Zip: 68178

  • Dish pick: Steamed dumplings at China Taste (next to campus) coffee and donuts at St. John’s Church (on campus)
  • Price: $4.65 (for six steamed dumplings) free (coffee and donuts)
  • Website:chinatasteomaha.com and stjohns-creighton.org
  • Chosen by: Sara Locke

Do you have a local food Instagram account we should be following? Drop us a comment, and be sure to follow us back @OmahaMagazine.

This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.


Are These the 21 Best Sushi Spots in America?

Sushi. It’s what for dinner. And lunch, especially if you’re in a rush at Whole Foods. But who in this great land of ours makes the best sushi? The freshest & most mouthwatering maki? The heaven-approved hand rolls? Well, in order to find out, we spent a lot of time dipping and eating everywhere from strange strip malls in Pasadena to the stranger side roads of downtown Boston, plus many spots in between. We paid particular attention to the places closest to the water, and those that care more about giving you seasonal, changing menus of fish you can get locally than just giving you the same thing over and over. Not that we’re really complaining, Whole Foods.

So pick up your chopsticks, tuck in your napkin, and slurp down our picks for the best sushi spots across America.

Chicago, IL
Arami was an instant hit when it opened in Chicago in 2010, drawing patrons in with its tranquil skylit back room and, more importantly, well-executed, traditionally rooted sushi that could swim (figuratively speaking, the fish is generally no longer alive) with anyone’s. Since then chefs have changed, but the level of excellence hasn’t. Like many elite places, reserving yourself the omakase is most likely to lead you to a transcendent experience, but going a la carte will still leave you quite pleased with specialty sashimi options like hamachi with mushroom and truffle oil. Pro tip: if you have any annoying vegan friends, their yasai (that means vegetable!) creations like eggplant with peanut red miso dressing will likely keep them quiet. You may even find yourself wanting to steal some.

Santa Barbara, CA
Located on Santa Barbara’s bustling State St., Arigato’s all about sushi as art. This is a place where something as simple as sashimi looks like it was plated at the Louvre, where even things as simple as salmon are adorned with gorgonzola sauce and dill. That’s to say nothing of the not-sushi dishes like a plate of broiled scallops, shiitakes, and crab piled on sushi rice and lit on fire. Everything here’s a gorgeous spectacle. But spectacle’s worthless if the fish isn’t perfect. Lucky for you, it is.

Portland, OR
This Northeast sushi spot melds Portlandia style with traditional sushi, tapping local beers with Asian influences and hosting pairing dinners with local breweries. While their menu doesn’t stick strictly to what sushi purists would like, even their funkier rolls, like a spicy tuna & tempura shishito pepper number, don’t go overboard. They also boast an omasake that’s a bargain compared to options in larger cities on this list.

San Francisco, CA
First off, they have a really cool mural which tells you how to eat sushi. Second off, it’s somewhat crazy that, for all the amazing Asian food, sushi has long been a weakness in SF’s culinarily fortified defenses. Well, ICHI, from Tim and Erin Archuleta, solves that. It keeps the SF ethos in mind with the sustainable, seasonal menu, but doesn’t skimp on anything delicious. If you are smart, you’ll start by heading to the NI Bar in the back for izakaya and cocktails, and then get the omakase chef’s choice (one of the best omakase deals in town). Be smart.

New York, NY
Separated by a glass wall from David Bouley’s TriBeCa restaurant, Ichimura at Brushstroke boasts two Michelin stars — only two others NYC spots have that — and a trio of stars from The Times. Chef Eiji Ichimura, who helms the tiny omakase counter, prepares his fish edomae-style, meaning they’re cured and aged, the way sushi always was until the early 1800s, so every bite has an extra bite of umami than what you’re used to. But, then again, you’re probably not used to anything quite as tasty as this.

Chicago, IL
Proving he has quite the track record in place, long before he left Arami, B.K. Park, the sushi-wizard who used to be at Arami, also departed this Wicker Park spot that’s been a Chicago staple for over a decade. Mirai is a dimly lit, sexy spot with a menu of traditional sushi mingling with unique picks, and chef Jun Ishikawa wields a light touch to delicate dishes like Ika Uni Ae, tender, thin squid slices served in a sweet, creamy sea urchin sauce.

Portland, ME
After working the NYC restaurant scene, Masa Miyake moved with his family to Portland and its far cheaper start-up costs. The Japan-born chef turned his expertise to local bounty, creating an uniquely Maine experience with options like the truffle oil-touched lobster, crab & scallop hamayaki that’s all from nearby waters. The chef has even taken it so far as to open Miyake Farms, so diners know exactly from where that yolky spot in the the Golden Egg dish of uni, roe, and egg came.

Boston, MA
In 2008, Tim Cushman shocked the food world when his small 40-seat sushi restaurant in a random part of Boston by South Station was named Best New Restaurant in the country by the NY Times. That same year, I went there on my birthday, and was totally out of my league, especially when they brought out the foie gras nigiri with cocoa pulp and sake at the end of the meal. I actually nearly fainted, because I wasn’t used to the flavor combination. And yet — whenever I could afford to — I kept coming back. Cushman — who famously has no formal training, but acted as a restaurant consultant for many years before hatching this masterpiece — can and still does bring it with nearly everything he serves, from the tea-brined chicken thighs to the spiced chile oil-drizzled hamachi tartare. If you don’t opt for the 17-course tasting menu, and go a la carte, you still have to get the nigiri. I DARE YOU.

Los Angeles, CA
After 2011’s devastating tsunami slowed business at his six-seat spot in Japan, chef Hiro Naruke was brought to America by a trio of LA lawyers who’d started obsessing over the itamae’s sushi-touch years before during their visits to Tokyo. A seat at Hiro’s downtown spot is a 20-course, intimate omakase experience that starts with small appetizers and dives into edomae-style sushi with delicately vinegared rice and aged or cured delicate fish cuts.

Los Angeles, CA
Imagine you’re one of the most beloved sushi chefs in LA: you’ve had a restaurant for two decades, you helped bring raw fish to a city that’s embraced it, and, now that you’ve hit retirement age, you want to slow down. You pass your restaurant, Sushi Ike, on to your disciples, and take a deserved break… until everyone realizes that your disciples just aren’t making mouth-orgasms the way you were, and convince you to open this tiny, hole-in-the-wall, absolutely incredible omakase joint, where you can once again serve up your signature seared salmon (“Do not put the rice down! Put it right in your mouth! Now!”), your unbelievably textured octopus, and the freshest… uh… everything from the sea that you can get your hands on. You’ve imagined Sushi Kamagure Ike aka mecca. Yes, it’s that good.

Seattle, WA
Seattle’s super buzzy Shiro’s has been just than for over twenty years now and, despite the namesake chef retiring last fall, the edomae-style sushi is as impressive as it managed to be for two decades. The skilled team offers omakase and by-the-piece throughout the spot, but go at the beginning of the week for a 14-piece tasting at the bar under the attentive eye of the sushi chef. He limits it to four customers at a time.

Los Angeles, CA
Located in downtown’s busy Little Tokyo, this inconspicuous joint, tucked away in a strip mall, stands tall among LA’s incredible sushi joints, and the constant line full of regulars just goes to show that this is sushi worth returning for… and waiting in line for. The trick to beating that line? Show up alone or with one other person, then ask to sit at the sushi bar. There, order omakase and watch the chef work his magic on ultra-fresh fish, which will hopefully include their buttery toro and ika squid that tastes like it was chilling with Spongebob about an hour ago.

Houston, TX
This spot in Houston’s Chinatown looks like a discount strip mall store that mistakenly got “sushi” boldly slapped onto its facade. Miyagi, the man behind the sushi knife, and his wife are the sole owners and employees, and they boast that their mom-and-pop shop is one of the few Japanese-helmed sushi restaurants in Houston. The not totally authentic menu demonstrates the city’s tastes so crazy rolls do take up some space on the menu, but Miyagi’s way with painstakingly thin usuzukuri more than makes up for it.

New York, NY
The nearly impossible to get into, four NYT-starred restaurant (only six restos can claim that) is only slightly more famous than the story behind how it all began: after watchingJiro Dreams of Sushi, Bronx restauranteur Alessandro Borgognone tracked down Jiro-trained Daisuke Nakazawa in Seattle and brought the chef to the East Coast. His 22-course omakase blends exquisite fish plates with showy entertainment for a two-hour experience.

San Diego, CA
Like so many of San Diego’s hidden gems, Sushi Ota is tucked in an unassuming strip mall between a 7-11 and a car dealership. But while the exterior looks like a place where you could score a payday loan, the interior’s a constantly packed oasis popping out incredible sashimi and some of the most reliably delicious uni in town. Even better, the prices are reasonable, so you won’t need that payday loan after all.

Sausalito, CA
Strangely enough, lots of people might argue that the best sushi in SF is actually a ferry ride away. From Yoshi Tome (with executive chef Scott Whitman and sushi chef Taka Toshi), Sushi Ran has been dominating for years in Marin, mixing in local fresh fish from right outside with fish handpicked and flown in daily from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Both the salmon skin and the live Dungeness crab maki are must orders, along with the sashimi and their incredible scallop-chive dumplings. Plus, if you’re coming from the city, you get to ride a ferry. It’s kind of a win-win-win.

Boulder, CO
Yes, Boulder is, well, in Colorado, and yes, that’s a landlocked state. But this Japanese spot has become a haven thanks to beautiful fish flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, and all that mild smoked white tuna and bold unagi are still loaded with enough flavor that you might forget for a second that the ski slopes are nearby.

Honolulu, HI
It used to be housed in a decently bleak strip mall on Kapahulu, with a menu that featured very little English and newspapers covering the windows. Entering for the first time was an act of faith, because you had no idea what you were getting from the outside, and maybe when you were inside it was just an elaborate kidnapping plot by an evil genius wearing a black mock turtleneck. Well, luckily for the thousands of true believers who now obsess over Tokkuri-Tei, it was actually a delicious sushi restaurant. And though it has since moved on to fancier digs without papers covering the windows, they still make food your mouth will want to slow dance with, from a ridiculous spider roll and sake gyoza to their own Kurobuta bacon.

Atlanta, GA
Tomohiro Naito opened his Buckhead-based restaurant after years training at Nobu’s Vegas spot, even manning the omakase station. In ATL, he prepares beautiful, traditional slivers of fluke, spotted with hot sauce and ponzu jelly alongside decadently rich live lobster & uni, all in an expansive space, but don’t ignore the specials, which always feature Tomo’s shipments from famed Tsukiji.

Sushi traditionalists might scoff at some of the things that happen under the roofs at Uchi and Uchiko. The sister restaurants consistently top Austin’s critics lists of best restaurants in the city, not just for the razor sharp cuts of Tsukiji sashimi, but for off-the-wall touches like splashes of carbonated celery on oysters or goat cheese paired with big eye maguro. But as much as they stress a unique menu, technique always trumps creativity, and they’ve got the Beard Award to prove it.

Miami, FL
The American outpost of a London spot with a handful of European and Asian locations, Zuma is modeled after Japanese izakayas, but styled to fit into the city there’s plenty of Miami glitz, nestled up against the city’s river. The sushi bar follows the same methodology: the sushi is prepared traditionally, but twists that make it ever-so-slightly local, like their ponzu sauce that may or may not have a dab of truffle oil in the mix.


5. ARAMI

Photo Credit: http://www.aramichicago.com/ Chicagoans rejoiced twice in 2016: the Cubs won World Series, and Arami came back from a temporary closing due to a kitchen fire. Arami is the rare Japanese restaurant that offers a wide ranging menu, yet somehow, expertly maintains the quality of their food. There are sushi, ramen and even robata (charcoal) grilled items on the menu. Their sushi is prepared in the traditional style for the most part, but you’ll taste the chefs’ creativity within the small details like the sweet potato in the salmon hotate sashimi, or that hint of lime in the yellowtail, salmon and tuna roll.

Recommended Menu Items:

  • We recommend ordering one thing from each category to explore. You can start with hamachi truffle to whet your appetite, then add a couple of your favorite rolls and some robata. Shishito is always a good idea and so is tsukune (chicken meatballs) with their original spiced tare.

Restaurant Info of ARAMI:

Reservation: YES
Navigation: 1829 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL60622
Ring: 312-243-1535
Surf: www.aramichicago.com


Chapter 7

y walk to the therapist’s office is a straight shot up Court Street and goes right into the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. I like the walk. It’s great for people watching, but more importantly, there is a Popeye’s in Downtown Brooklyn. I make it a point to visit the Popeye’s before each of my therapy sessions for two strategic purposes.

  1. It’s the closest thing in New York to my nostalgic, Southern, fast food, comfort food known as Bojangles.
  2. It makes me feel like I’m postponing my unproductive therapy sessions for a few delicious moments

They call me “Atlanta” when I walk in, a nickname inspired by the Braves hat I constantly wear. They already know what I’m going to order. I simultaneously have immense pride and shame that I’m a regular at a Popeye’s.

“Gonna be a minute. Ya boy is taking forever with the biscuits today.” He motions to his co-worker in the back, who quickly responds.

Talking with the people working at Popeye’s is a welcome distraction that feels like more psychological relief than what happens in my actual therapy sessions.

It took me a while to navigate the bowels of the Empire Blue Cross website and find a therapist. Perhaps I was just using their shitty digital user experience as an excuse to postpone reaching out and setting up an appointment. It’s hard to admit you need help. It’s hard to ask for help, when asking itself feels like an admission of weakness. It’s hard to talk to someone about your fear, anger and sadness. It’s even harder if that person is a complete stranger. But I’m quickly realizing there is only so much I can say to Dad, my brother and my friends about the cancer. I feel myself projecting the same façade of positivity towards them that I do towards Seema to avoid them worrying about me. Beneath the surface I can feel a fierce emotional undertow that is dragging me downward.

I’ve also seen how helpful Seema’s therapy sessions have been for her. She seems more mindful and can clearly communicate how she’s feeling. These results seem far superior to my approach of just internalizing my emotions until they get so pent up that I become catatonic in the shower. So I put aside any pre-conceived notions I have about therapy and decide to randomly cold call a number on the Empire database list that is walking distance for our apartment.

Dr. Gottlieb is the therapist who has won the Empire Blue Cross lottery. Every week we meet in his small, barren office. I sit on a blue couch as he sits across from me in a leather armchair. There is one window behind him that serves as opportunity to be distracted. There is one framed piece of art in the room, an illustration done by one of his former patients. It’s surrealist artwork the creator must have been studying Dali that week in Art History.

Gottlieb is a small man with thick glasses who wears oversized shirts and oversized ties. His outfits are so consistent it becomes clear he must have gone overboard during the swing craze in the mid 90’s and now his entire wardrobe is comprised only of zoot suits.

Besides possibly being a founding member of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies who moonlights as a therapist, Gottlieb is somewhat aloof. He is nice and well intentioned, but when I talk to him, his eyes wander. He fidgets in his chair. He sighs. I eventually get the strong sense that neither of us wants to be there. Unfortunately this realization doesn’t happen until our fourth appointment, at which point the thought of finding a new therapist and recounting the entire timeline of our cancer battle again just seems mentally exhausting. I wonder if his other patients are in the same predicament. So by default it’s just Gottlieb and myself, battling the inner demons unleashed by my wife’s cancer.

During one of our first sessions Gottlieb and I talk about my recent efforts to find movies and books with themes of perseverance for Seema and myself. Gottlieb thinks this a worthwhile endeavor. He even says he will think of a list of suggestions. I feel good about Gottlieb being proactive and engaged. Maybe we’ve reached a turning point. The next week he kicks off our discussion.

“Oh! I thought of a movie for you to watch!”

“It’s called Life Itself. It’s about Roger Ebert.”

There is an awkward silence for about twelve seconds as we stare at each other. I wonder if there are any other recommendations on his list. I can only assume they are such uplifting suggestions as watching Shoah, the 17 hour Holocaust documentary, while listening to “Tears in Heaven” on repeat.

So no, I don’t like him, but I can’t deny that it’s helpful to talk. When I’m with Seema, I have to constantly emit positive energy even during my sadder episodes. At least with Gottlieb I can just vent. I can be negative without fearing it might hurt Seema. I can spew my dark thoughts so they won’t fester. I begin looking past Dr. Gottlieb’s strange mannerisms. I don’t care. We just talk. My anger and sadness are released. It’s a deep well to pull from and I’m frightened when I realize how deep the well is.

When I speak to my family and try to articulate the sense of loss cancer has brought into our lives, I stop myself from over sharing. I don’t want them to be concerned about me. So I just add another brick to my façade of positivity. Instead of talking about this seismic shift of our dreams and our life to them, I oversimplify and tell them cancer is just a curveball life has thrown us. But I know a curveball is not the right analogy. When you’re in the batter’s box you can actually see a curveball coming towards you and try to make adjustments. The surprise and shock of cancer is different. A more accurate analogy would be standing in the batter’s box, waiting for a pitch, then Drew Carey appears out of nowhere and stabs you in the neck with a screwdriver.

I talk to Gottlieb about the curveball. I talk to him about Drew Carey and screwdrivers. Gottlieb doesn’t blink. He doesn’t judge. He just listens.

I tell Gottlieb I can feel my personality changing. My once natural state of being carefree now seems so naive. I constantly worry when the other shoe will drop and what form it will take. The lack of control and uncertainty is overwhelming. Will Drew Carey return? He could be anywhere at anytime. I hate The Price is Right.

I talk about how hard it is to see so many friends with their new families. They all seem so happy and content. It feels as if everyone on the planet is having healthy, beautiful babies. I see an incessant perfectly curated social feed of perfect photos of perfect families and perfect lives. My jealousy leads to shame.

Gottlieb nods calmly, then unexpectedly drops a knowledge bomb on me. He tells me it’s horrible what Seema and I are going through. But I don’t know what other people have gone through. I don’t know what struggles they’ve faced in their own pregnancies. Or in their own lives.

The scenery on my walk back to our apartment is the same, but the characters are now different. I pass my Popeye’s. I pass the halal stands. I pass the Barnes & Noble, Trader Joe’s and all our favorite bars and restaurants on Court Street. But when I pass my fellow Brooklyners a wave of empathy overcomes me. I wonder what struggles they’re going through. I wonder what battles they are fighting. Every face now seems like another façade plastered on that is hiding some trauma in their lives. I vow to be nicer to everyone. I vow to add more small acts of kindness into the world, the same that others have shown us that have helped Seema and I through this trauma.

I get home. Seema is asleep. I lay in bed next to her, but the knowledge bomb continues its aftershock. I wonder if I’ve been wrong about Gottlieb. Perhaps he’s more than oversized ties and horrible movie recommendations. Perhaps Gottlieb’s suggestions have value that I don’t see. Perhaps I’ll take a nap, get up and watch Life Itself.


Beyoglu

Beyoglu (1431 3rd Ave @ 81st Street) serves perhaps my favorite meal of all time. It’s cheap, and simple, but fresh, flavorful, and amazing Turkish food, which is similar to Greek or Mediterranean cuisine.

The Yalanci Dolma stuffed grape leaves are my favorite. They just have the best mixture spices–definitely cinnamon and something a bit sweet, but also savory. I could eat these every day.

I also thoroughly enjoy the small vegetarian Meze platter, which includes Kisir Taboule cracked wheat bulgur salad, Zeytinyagli Ispanak sauteed fresh spinach, shallots and dill with homemade yogurt, Cacik thick homemade yogurt with cucumber and garlic, Hummus chick peas and tahini seasoned with cumin and garlic, Patlican Salatasi mashed eggplant salad, and I believe Ezme mixture of spicy chopped vegetables. It also comes with a giant, warm, crusty yet soft bread. Ahhhh… the bread!

Sitting at a mosaic-tiled tables along the sidewalk and people watching while eating this meal is one of my favorite things. I love it so much that I’ll travel to the Upper East Side, all the way from the Financial District, where I live and work, to dine by myself. It’s so relaxing and delicious. And cheap! When I’m old and retired and wealthy enough to not work, yet still young and fun, I will sit here every day with a glass of rose and feast on this meal. And it will always be a cool, crisp, summertime weather. Yes, this is my idea of heaven.


It’s the Willamette, damn it!

A sure fire way to tell if someone is new to Portland is hear them pronounce the name of the river that runs through the center of town. Newbies mistakenly call it the /wil-la-MET/, instead of the proper /wil-LAM-it/. I can still remember being corrected in 1991 by a native Oregonian who explained, “It’s called the Willamette, damn it!”

For much of the twentieth century the Willamette River was a dumping ground for sewage and industrial pollutants. It was considered by many to be one of the countries dirtiest rivers. That started to change in the late sixties with more stringent environmental protection laws and with the twenty year $1.4 billion Big Pipe project which redirected sewage away from instead of into the river.

Despite the fact the river is as clean as it’s been in a long time and perfectly safe for recreational activity, it continues to be scorned by locals. This is something that the Human Access Project is hoping to change. Their mission is to transform Portland’s relationship with the Willamette. This is from their website:

The Willamette River is our home. We live on or near its banks and cross it every day. Yet, for generations we humans have mistreated, neglected, and scorned it. Well, the tide is turning. Together with others, the Human Access Project (HAP) is helping people “get into” this natural treasure – to enjoy it, preserve it, and cherish it for generations to come. Join the Riverlution!

To help change public perspiration of the Willamette, HAP has initiated many events and projects, probably the best known of which is The Big Float. Now in its fifth year, The Big Float is a huge downtown beach party where thousands of people play in and float on the Willamette. This event has done wonders to sway public opinion.

Another thing HAP does is organize regular swims in the Willamette during the summer. The River Huggers Swim Team meets three times a week and with the support of safety kayakers swims under the Hawthorne Bridge, tags the other side and then swims back.

Since I broke my foot last month I’ve been swimming nearly everyday at this great outdoor pool at Grant High School. I hooked up with my old coach for some brushup lessons and dug out a training plan from three years ago. My swimming skills are still in the beginning stages, but I’m surprised how much I enjoy these after-work swimming sessions. Last week a woman in the next lane said to me, “This is so much better than happy hour!” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve been having so much fun I decided to join the River Huggers for a swim of the Willamette.

It’s surprising how warm the river is in the morning and with so little rain this year there’s hardly any current at all. I was definitely nervous beforehand, but everyone on the team was really supportive, even the guy who said, “Yeah, we’ve hardly lost anyone to shark attacks this summer.” We all left our flip flops and towels at a dock on the east bank and at 7am unceremoniously hopped in the river and took off.

I had never swam in open water before, so it was a bit unnerving to not be able to touch or even see the bottom. In a pool, you’re in a narrow lane, so it’s easy to swim in a straight line, but here in the open water, I was zigging and zagging and would have to stop frequently to recorrect.

It was pretty cool to swim under the Hawthorne Bridge and look up through the grates at all the cars on their way to work. But at around the halfway point I started to panic, realizing there was still a long way to go. If you’re running and get tired, you can always take a break, but if you stop swimming, you to start to sink. Luckily I remembered some survival strokes from high school swim class and was able to recover enough to start free-styling again.

After about 20 minutes the whole group was already across, waiting for the new guy who was holding up the whole operation. I must have looked bad when I finally arrived because several of them asked if I was doing alright. It was a huge relief to finally be able to touch the bottom again, but I barely had a chance to catch my breath before they all took off again. I then looked at the safety kayaker, shook my head, and told him that I’d be making the return trip on foot. Though he didn’t say anything, I could tell he agreed with my decision.

Hundreds of cyclists commute across the Hawthorne Bridge every morning and many of them were surprised to see this waterlogged, half-naked, barefooted dude stumbling over the bridge. I must have looked like a homeless person who got drunk and fell in the river.

It was a bit embarrassing to do the walk of shame back to the other side, but then again, I was proud to have made it at least one way across the river. It’s only been four weeks since I started swimming again and this experience has motivated me to train even harder. One day I’ll do the full round trip of the Willamette and become a real River Hugger.


Watch the video: IBUKI TV Interview with Chef Daisuke Nakazawa from Shiros sushi restaurant (December 2021).