I had no plans on going here until I was watching season 2 of Billions and one of the traders on there asked another guy to go out to dinner or play golf or something and the guy said, “No.” Then he goes, “How about reservations at Sushi N..a…k…a..z…a…w…aaaa?” The other guy then goes, “Now you’re talking my language.” And then they go to the restaurant. And look at what I just found on Google. Anyway, after watching it, I decided I wanted to go. One problem – there were no RSVP’s at the chef’s counter left, especially over a holiday weekend.
AMEX Platinum concierge
I of course turned to the concierge at AMEX Platinum. I told them I wanted chef counter seats on either Friday, Sunday, or Monday on July 4 weekend. The person told me they were fully booked, but if anything pops up, they’d contact me. This was within 2 weeks of my trip by the way. A few days later, they called and told me they had found seats on Saturday night. I told them that was the only night I couldn’t go. It was a good thing I couldn’t make it either because a Twitter user told me that the chef isn’t there on weekends. Then on Saturday, AMEX emailed me saying they had secured a Monday reservation at 7:15PM. Talk about a prime slot. I then had AMEX confirm if the chef would be working that day (since Tuesday was July 4th) and if I could get seats in front of the chef. They replied and said that he should be there and that it’s first come first served seating.
My wife and I arrived at 6:45PM. When we walked in, we saw 2 other couples there already. CRAP! Luckily, one couple was served food right in the lounge, which I thought was very odd, and the other couple was eventually seated at a table. Hence we were the first in line for the counter. We then asked to be seated in front of the chef, and the waitress said that they would try their best. While waiting, another couple came in with a man wearing shorts and sandals. The waiter mentioned a dress code to him, but they eventually seated them at a table as well.
Around 7:10PM, there were 3 other couples who had come in to wait in the lobby. The waitress then escorted us first to the chef’s counter and seated us directly in front of the chef…although he wasn’t there. Eventually the other 4 couples were seated as well (10 total seats at the bar.) By 7:15PM, we were a bit worried that the chef wasn’t there since the station in front of us was empty. We joked that he would come in WWE style with music blaring. I think it was by 7:20PM or so, the chef came out and greeted each couple by asking how they were. Then the man got down to business!
I of course brought up Jiro and how I had gone to him a few years back. He gave me a smile and “oh you went?” but I’m sure he gets that all the time. Eventually I mentioned to him that my friend in Japan says Jiro wasn’t working anymore due to his health. He responded, “No, I don’t think so. I think he only comes in at night now.” Eventually at the end, I wanted to show him the picture I took with Jiro and he sarcastically joked, “Oh, I know him better than you.” And at the very end when the tomago was brought out, I joked with him, “Did you make this?” He quipped, “NO! These guys made it. Does Jiro make the tomago at his shop?” Hahaha, well played. I’m sure he gets a lot of people asking him about his experience at Jiro’s, but I wasn’t NOT going to ask him about it. My overall impression was that a) he was tired of hearing about Jiro and b) he didn’t really enjoy his time there. I had asked him if he was going to stay in NY and he had mentioned his family was here and that he didn’t want them to have to work as hard as him.
The most memorable course was the live prawn course. He basically yanked off their tails live and served us the sashimi. I thought he was going to flash boil them like Jiro, but he served it live. It was delicious too. Also, there were 10 people at the bar and he single-handedly served all of us. He’d cut 6 pieces and then serve it to 6 people. Then he’d cut 4 more and serve the other 4 people. I respected this since Masa doesn’t serve the entire chef’s table, but it does extend out the length of dinner. Dinner was just shy of 2 hours.
I didn’t post all the pictures of the sushi by the way. If you go, show up early so you can get seats across from him so you can talk to him. Was it worth it? Yeah, in the YOLO sense. Would I go back? Probably not (will prob try cheaper omakase places in the future.)