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Submitted on
March 1, 2012
Submitted with Writer


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Chef Nozawa Retires

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 1, 2012, 7:58 PM

140324404mk006 by spyed
Credit: Michael Kovac ( ) 

My favorite Sushi Chef and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Nozawa are retiring as of yesterday. I was able to deliver this letter to them last night, along with a bottle of champagne. And I was honored to deliver a last toast, and incredibly beyond belief honored to eat the last piece of sushi served by the restaurant. A new restaurant for the sushi chain called "Sugar Fish" (a partnership between Nozawa, and his sun plus another partner) will replace the original Nozawa which has operated from Ventura Blvd in Studio City for the past 25 years.  Sugar Fish at this location is scheduled to open in May. 

The New York Times covered the closing of Nozawa, known as "The Sushi Nazi" in the following story; "Putting Away His Knife and Those Cutting Words

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mr. & Mrs. Chef Nozawa,

There is no establishment in the city of Los Angeles that I enjoy more than that of your restaurant, Sushi Nozawa. It is the culture, consistency, service and overall quality that I have come to love over my past 11 years of patronage.

I was 20 years old when I first had your sushi. I was just starting my current business and I had very little money. When I would save a little, I would bring a friend, a date, a business associate, a co-worker, or anyone who I wanted to inspire or treat to something special.

Through the years as my business grew, Nozawa became a tradition and a place that I would bring only the people I cared about most.

But first, I would scold them in the car.

“Now listen, I need you to leave your phone here. And when you walk in to this place you must put your best foot forward. Bring only positive energy through those doors! If he tells you not to dip, you don’t dip in to the soy sauce. We’ll sit at a table and not the sushi bar, so he doesn’t watch you as closely. But if you get me kicked out of here, I’m telling you I’m not sure if we can be friends anymore!”

Of course I’d have a sense of humor in my voice, but I meant it.

Alongside every respectable business owner are very human motivations. Perhaps with Nozawa you have wanted to uphold a tradition set forth by your mentors or your parents. Or perhaps the motivations are deeper. Anything done so well for so long speaks to a different standard and conviction and determination inside of a person, (or a husband & wife!) than is typical.

Part of why I love your establishment is because I share this conviction in my own business. I know how rare it is. And even more important to me than the fish is the aura of discipline and perfection that is present for any visitor who can see it.

Alongside the deeper motivations for a business owner are more superficial ones that help you to celebrate the small and big victories along the way.

For me and for many of my employees it has become tradition to celebrate these moments in my business with you at Nozawa.

People will speak often of the trends you set in Los Angeles to hold sushi to its traditional roots. And how you’ve defended the art & culture of sushi by scolding rude visitors. But it was important to me that you know how clearly your discipline and hard work shines through Nozawa, and has been an inspiration to other entrepreneurs such as myself in the city.

So you can understand how much I respect your work. How much we will all miss it. And what an impact it has made in the local community.


Angelo Sotira

Co-Founder & CEO

P.S. My girlfriend and I happened to be at the restaurant when the NYTimes photographer was taking photos for your feature. We were lucky enough to be in the photos, and we view it as an honor to be sitting at the sushi bar where we have been so happy for many years!

Png-4 by spyed

And this is her hand holding my favorite dish, the crab hand roll!!    

Screen Shot 2012-02-29 at 3.51.45 PM by spyed

spyed sense:

i really need to change my signature.
it's been simmering in lame for way too long.

Ninja image created by AndyFairhurst
Cheers to one heck of a culinary artist in Los Angeles!
Add a Comment:
mhalpert Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012
I am going to sincerely miss this place. After staying away from fish for almost 20 years, it turned me back on to Sushi and eating seafood in general when you took me there for the first time about 5 years ago. Salmon and other fish are now a normal part of my diet thanks to Nozawa. Cheers to Nozawa and his legacy.
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
just saw this post...

yah man! the guy had one hell of an impact on the city... it's been a few months already, i totally miss the hell out of that place.
KyzerKech Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2012   General Artist
<3 tha lady's beautiful 8U and aww to the place closing. all the best to them~
TheWanderer2030 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
Great little story, wish i could have eaten there!
ekud Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah man, I remember the dinner we had there - easily best sushi I ever had. Glad I got to have it (and share it with you!) before he retired. Amazing.
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
just saw this... good times!!!

how ya been?
ekud Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Good man. Miss ya. Would love to talk.
CHOTTAPRIDE Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012
so have you ever cooked a carb roll before
spyed Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
myself? no i haven't... i took some sushi classes once and i made sushi on a beach from fresh fish another time... but that's about the extent of my sushi chefing.
Chad Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
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