Alessandro Borgognone, a former proprietor of a New York pizzeria, made a bold career switch when he decided to open a sushi restaurant. The idea sparked after watching a documentary about sushi master Jiro Ono, which led Borgognone to approach Daisuke Nakazawa, a former apprentice of Ono. Nakazawa agreed to partner with Borgognone, and Sushi Nakazawa was born.

Located in the West Village, the restaurant offers a 20-course omakase menu, with each piece of sushi prepared by Nakazawa himself. The restaurant’s success was immediate, attracting a full house on its opening night and earning a four-star review from The New York Times within months.

Despite the success, the journey was not without challenges. Borgognone had no experience in Japanese cuisine and faced skepticism from his family and the industry. Moreover, the restaurant faced backlash over its no-tipping policy, which was later reversed.

Borgognone’s story is a testament to the power of risk-taking and passion. His decision to venture into an unfamiliar culinary world led to the creation of a successful and highly acclaimed restaurant. Despite the hurdles, Sushi Nakazawa has become a standout in New York’s competitive dining scene.

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