KazuNori, the Sugarfish sushi bar spin-off focusing on hand rolls and cut rolls only, is set to open next week in downtown's historic core. The scheduled debut is Monday.
The 24-seat restaurant is located next to the driveway for the Old Bank District Parking Garage (directly on the other side of the same driveway is cupcake bakery Big Man Bakes). In what was formerly a dry cleaner, the intimate space now features a long window with a view of a neon-colored mural inside the parking garage that appropriately depicts swimming fish.
The brainchild of sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa, his son Tom Nozawa and their Sugarfish partners, KazuNori features the hand rolls that are part of the Sugarfish menu. That includes the now-ubiquitous-in-Los-Angeles blue crab hand roll that the elder Nozawa helped pioneer at his original Sushi Nozawa in Studio City.
Like Sugarfish, KazuNori offers set menus: the 3-Hand Rolls with blue crab, bay scallop or cucumber and the daily hand roll; the 4-Hand Rolls that also includes salmon; and the 5-Hand Rolls, with lobster and sashimi. Although nigiri sushi (ingots of sushi rice topped with raw fish) isn't available, an a la carte order of sashimi (sliced raw fish) is. The set menus also will be available to go.
Individual hand rolls include cucumber, bay scallop, salmon, blue crab, yellowtail, toro and lobster and are priced at $4 to $7 each. Cut rolls are available with the same ingredients and are $7.75 to $12.50. Tom Nozawa says that limited tuna is available because of issues of sustainability.
The space designed by Dex Studio features a thick beveled reclaimed oak bar, wood stools, white tiles and paneled ceiling lighting.
The plan is for customers to walk in, grab an order form, fill it out and grab a seat at the bar, manned by two hand-roll chefs with the assistance of expediters and runners. Diners hand their order forms to the bar staff, and the sushi chef prepares and serves them.
Each roll is about the size of a small eclair, made with Nozawa's signature warm rice and crisp sheets of nori (seaweed), best eaten immediately.