Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Known locally as "the pregnant oyster," this center for the arts was a gift from the US to Berlin in 1957.
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Should you find yourself turning the corner from the bustle of 3rd Avenue, onto to the well-manicured, tree-lined 78th Street, slow your roll! Otherwise, you’ll rush by the unassuming door of Sushi Noz’s white-walled, minimalist façade. To do so is to miss out on a portal into another place and time—one immaculately curated to look, feel, and taste of refined Japanese tradition…just waiting to envelop you the moment you cross its threshold.
Over 1000 pieces of Hinoki, or Japanese cedar, were shipped from their roots of origin to help elevate the patron’s experience within Sushi Noz. The wood’s potent smell immediately invokes the serenity one might experience in solitude, walking through a quiet forest. That rich cedar, featured throughout, employs the Sukiya style of architecture, which dates from the mid 14th century and features a joining of slabs in such a fine, delicate manner that not a single nail is required.
Sushi Noz is an Omakase-style restaurant, meaning patrons don’t presume to order but rather they “entrust” the chef to offer the finest culinary experience, through tasting menus which consists of 5 or 6 small plates and a selection of seasonal nigiri. Trust us: trust him. It’s well-earned.
From a very young age, Chef Nozomu-Abe was inspired by the fresh fish and seafood offered to him by his grandfather, who owned and operated a seafood company. With his passion and purpose established, he spent his younger years as an apprentice in Sapporo, the largest city on his native Hokkaido. He took his skills to the next level in Tokyo, spending years perfecting the techniques of Edomae sushi from master chefs of the style. He moved to New York in 2007, and—after a handful of years running the legendary Sushi Den—realized his vision, opening a namesake restaurant that serves as a dining experience for the senses (for this reason, diners are discouraged from wearing strong perfume, so as not to interfere with the curated experience).
After your nose has traveled through a harmonious forest, your eyes will behold the restaurant’s centerpiece: a 200-year-old Hinoki counter, which serves as a cutting board, a culinary easel, and the illustrious stage upon which Chef Nozomu Abe performs nightly feats of breathtaking knifework and creativity. With each slice, he highlights the nuanced flavors and precise texture of fish flown in directly from Tokyo’s famous Toyosu market. The cedar and fish aren’t the only things that come right from Abe’s homeland. The team behind Sushi Noz shipped everything from Japan: the floor tiles; the chop sticks; oh yes, and those centuries-old ceramics (which look like they belong at the nearby Frick museum) presented throughout the meal. If you’re still doubting just how authentic the restaurant is, take note that (instead of crude electricity), they use a refrigerator cooled by massive blocks of ice.
Sushi Noz has earned a Michelin star for excellence, and while it’s obviously deserving of this prestigious honor, it’s clear that such accolades are not the reason why Chef Noz devotes himself to his craft, nor is it what motivates his expert wielding. For all its hushed elegance, there is something wholesome at the heart of this transporting restaurant. Chef Noz’s extraordinary creations conjure a faraway land; a different pace of living. And yet, the deliberate care that he applies to every dish also somehow recalls a young boy and his grandfather, delighting in sharing uni and king crab together. It’s that love, transparent to every diner, that makes it so very easy to entrust your evening, your meal, and all your senses, to Chef Noz.
Looking to read more about this area of the world? This location exists in a guide:Explore the Food-Venture Guide
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