Kazunori Nozawa

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Kazunori Nozawa (born c. 1945) is a Japanese sushi chef and restaurant owner. In 1963, he apprenticed with a master sushi chef in Tokyo at the age of 18 before eventually opening his own restaurant in Japan. After emigrating to the United States as a sushi consultant, he opened Sushi Nozawa in 1987 in Studio City, California, with the goal of educating Americans on Edo-style sushi.[1]

Sushi Nozawa[edit]

Sushi Nozawa, which operated until his retirement in 2012, helped popularise omakase-style sushi in Southern California.[2] Nozawa's gruff demeanour and reputation for adhering strictly to omakase principles earned him both fans and critics, with customers nicknaming him the "Sushi Nazi", in reference to Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" character.[3][4] His strict list of rules (no mobile phones, text messaging, loud talking or switching seats with patrons) did not dissuade customers, who could expect waits of hours for a seat at table.[2] Sushi Nozawa inspired adoration — musician Trent Reznor lamented the loss of his "very favorite place to eat" upon the restaurant's closing[5] — and vitriol — Los Angeles Times food critic S. Irene Virbila lambasted it as "one of the most overrated restaurants in Southern California", criticizing the "curt and ungracious" service.[6] Nozawa ejected actress Charlize Theron from his restaurant after the two disagreed on what type of sushi would be served for her meal.[2]

Sushi Nozawa, LLC[edit]

Kazunori Nozawa serves as President of Sushi Nozawa, LLC, a Los Angeles-based restaurant group that was founded by Nozawa, Jerry A. Greenberg, and four other partners.[7] Sushi Nozawa, LLC owns and operates SUGARFISH, Nozawa Bar, and KazuNori.


  1. ^ Bartholomew, Dana (29 February 2012). "Final roll call at Sushi Nozawa in Studio City". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Nagourney, Adam (28 February 2012). "Putting Away His Knife and Those Cutting Words". New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Yoon, Joy (10 November 2010). "Kazunori Nozawa: "Sushi Nazi"". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Katy (24 October 2008). "Sushi Bullies". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Tomicki, Hadley (29 February 2012). "Did Sushi Nozawa Bring Trent Reznor Closer to God?". Grub Street Los Angeles. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Virbila, S. Irene (18 August 2004). "Sit. Eat. Pay.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Chef Nozawa". SUGARFISH. Retrieved 18 September 2013.