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Sugarfish Adds Another Dining Option to a Growing Restaurant Row

By Jenni Simcoe
Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at 05:24PM
Sugarfish Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Lele Massimini and Tom Nozawa inside the new SugarFish on 7th

Sugarfish may be opening in an enviable location next door to Bottega Louie at 7th and Grand, but overflow crowds weren't the reason that the partners chose its location on 7th Street's Restaurant Row.

“We chose Downtown because it’s a growing community and the demographic is very similar to that of our other locations,” said partner and front of house operations manager Lele Massimini.

The Downtown outpost of the popular sushi restaurant joins sister locations in Brentwood and Marina del Rey and is soon to be followed by a fourth location in Santa Monica at the beginning of the year. All four restaurants are owned and run by the same team, which includes Kazunori Nozawa, Jerry Greenberg, Tom Nozawa, Cameron Broumand, Lele Massimini and Clement Mok.

“Ninety percent of our business has been word of mouth by our regular customers,” Massimini added. He also pointed to the distance from the Staples Center as a plus. “We aren’t the type of restaurant that caters to an event-based crowd.”

Those familiar with Sugarfish already know the differences between it and other sushi restaurants. “Our rice goes out warm and has a 20-minute life. Nozawa’s style is loosely packed so that the fish melts in your mouth and the rice temperature and texture marry well with the fish,” said Massimini. The founder of Sugarfish, Kazunori Nozawa, is so particular about his style that diners are instructed which pieces of sushi are not to be dipped in soy sauce and he doesn’t allow diners any extra ponzu sauce.

Nozawa is also very selective about what fish the restaurant serves, so much so that seven days a week he is at the fish market at 5am, looking through the purveyors' catches and deciding which fish he will buy. He spends two-and-a-half hours each morning choosing the fish.

That care doesn't translate into high prices. At lunch, the "Trust Me Lite" chef's menu is just $13.50, with sushi pieces starting at $4.50 for a pair. At dinner, "The Nozawa" includes a generous sampling for $35 to $38.

Sugarfish opens Thursday for lunch and dinner.

Sugarfish / 600 W. 7th / sugarfishsushi.com / Mon - Sat: 11:30am - 10pm; Sunday: 12 - 9pm

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