You want the short version of this review? The cheapest meal at Sushi Noz costs $250, and it’s worth the price.
If you were hoping for more than one sentence to convince you to spend hundreds of dollars on one of the most deluxe omakase options in NYC (or if you'd rather read about scallops than answer emails), let us explain.
Great sushi restaurants serve fish that tastes so distractingly delicious you might forget your own phone number–but the best ones account for all of your senses. Forgive us for sounding like we’re leading a breathing exercise, but a night at Sushi Noz is as much about the room’s cypress smoke filling your nostrils as it is about the nigiri parading into your stomach.
After being invited through a locked sliding door on East 78th Street, you’ll sit with six fellow spectators at a sushi bar in a wooden room that smells like a candle named The Grove of Ecstasy. The room will be silent, aside from the murmurs of an M&A lawyer talking about his new one bedroom in the West Village and a few parents discussing whether a teenager named Zoe got into Bowdoin early decision. Seat neighbors make a big impact on your experience here, especially if you’re dining solo. Also, FYI, Zoe got into Bowdoin.
About one arms-length away from where you’re sitting, a chef will carve smoked wild yellowtail into thin sheets before placing them onto a landing zone. Scallops get semi-flattened by a palm after being cross-hatched in the same way a YouTube vlogger might tell you to dice an onion. Sides of chutoro are inspected then trimmed. The chef’s cuts are precise, adjusted for the exact curvature of each fish that’s taken out of the big wooden box sitting on the counter. Twenty-five minutes in, you still won’t have eaten anything, but, strangely, you’ll feel more satisfied than when you arrived.
After you’ve ordered a drink from a sake and wine menu that has its own table of contents, you’ll get three delicious appetizers. They might include smoked baby blue fin tuna with tuna horseradish sauce and chives or Hokkaido uni delivered in a box of seawater that keeps the uni sweet and mild. By the time you’ve eaten the starter courses, the sliced fish in the landing zone will have reached the perfect temperature. That’s when you’ll be handed your first piece of sushi. It’ll be just a teeny bit colder than the room itself and accessorized with nothing but a thumbprint of wasabi and a brush of dark soy sauce. The only piece that gets heavily dressed is some incredible eel that's smoked over bamboo leaves then dabbed with a mixture of braising liquid made with eel, sugar, and apples. The result is something that tastes like sweet chocolate mole over caramelized, salty fish.
We probably don’t have to tell you that fish flown in from Japan is going to taste like a million bucks. But Noz’s sushi sticks out because of how they obsess over each lump of kombu-flavored rice. (During a meal here, the chef told us that the rice is more important than the fish itself.) Sushi Noz serves their rice noticeably hotter than what we’ve found at most other sushi omakase restaurants. The less time you wait to eat each piece, the better. So lunge at your piece of goldeneye snapper as soon as the chef places it in front of you.
We’d spend our own money here for any special occasion or even just as a reward for making it through a terrible part of the year. We know it’s quite a bit of money, but dinner here is worth the cost if you’re interested in trying one of the city’s best sushi omakase meals. Just watch out if you ask for some sake without looking at the menu. You might accidentally drop $48 on a single glass. That cost, unlike the price of the immaculate sushi, might sting.
Sushi Noz offers two tastings. The first is a nigiri-dominated meal in the so-called Ash Room that costs $250 and comes with three appetizers, 15 pieces, and miso soup. The Hinoki Room version, a more deluxe meal that can only be administered by Chef Noz himself, is $400 per person and comes with five or six composed dishes in addition to sushi. Generally, the selection of sushi runs traditional, which means the experience is less about trying uncommon fish and more about the careful preparation. A couple pieces that we've especially loved here: baby bluefin tuna that’s only caught in the winter, salmon roe served in a 200-year-old bowl, and the aforementioned wood-smoked eel.