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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.
Sushi Nozawa, which operated until his retirement in 2012, helped popularise omakase-style sushi in Southern California. 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. 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. Sushi Nozawa inspired adoration — musician Trent Reznor lamented the loss of his "very favorite place to eat" upon the restaurant's closing — 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. Nozawa ejected actress Charlize Theron from his restaurant after the two disagreed on what type of sushi would be served for her meal.
Sushi Nozawa, LLC
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. Sushi Nozawa, LLC owns and operates SUGARFISH, Nozawa Bar, and KazuNori.
- Bartholomew, Dana (29 February 2012). "Final roll call at Sushi Nozawa in Studio City". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Nagourney, Adam (28 February 2012). "Putting Away His Knife and Those Cutting Words". New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Yoon, Joy (10 November 2010). "Kazunori Nozawa: "Sushi Nazi"". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- McLaughlin, Katy (24 October 2008). "Sushi Bullies". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- Tomicki, Hadley (29 February 2012). "Did Sushi Nozawa Bring Trent Reznor Closer to God?". Grub Street Los Angeles. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Virbila, S. Irene (18 August 2004). "Sit. Eat. Pay.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Chef Nozawa". SUGARFISH. Retrieved 18 September 2013.