New York Times’ Pete Wells Reviews Sugarfish

The LA sushi import walks away without any stars

Pete Wells visits the LA import Sugarfish.

There is the moment when reading a Pete Wells review that you know you should get the popcorn. In his review this week, that moment comes when he attempts to answer what comes next for the sushi fan who can’t afford a multi-hundred-dollar omakase menu but is “beyond tuna rolls from Duane Reade.”

Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa would like to be the answer. It’s not, but enough people believe it is, or want to believe, that getting inside this four-month-old restaurant on East 20th Street can be a test of patience.

This LA import doesn’t take reservations and has been extremely popular in the four months since it opened. Wells couldn’t even get in on his first attempt. Wells doesn’t uniformly dismiss Sugarfish the way he took down Guy Fieri, and in fact appreciates the rice — but that’s about it.

The fish is uniformly soft and pretty, but none of it tastes much like fish. Sweet shrimp and sea scallops were both exactly as they should be. But there was no heft to the tuna, no depth to the salmon, and anybody who happens to like shiny-skinned, fishy-tasting species like mackerel or sardines is in the wrong restaurant.

Sugarfish walks away without any stars, just a “fair” rating, but this place was crowded before and it will probably be crowded after. But I’ll just leave this here:


Where sushi is concerned, wasabi isn’t just a condiment. It’s the air in the tires. Sugarfish lets you apply your own from some concentric bloops of stuff that tastes like watery horseradish and looks like a green version of the poop emoji, without the smile.