Nozawa's KazuNori Hand Rolls Are Headed To Westwood and Santa Monica

L.A. sushi impresario Kazunori Nozawa's omakase Sugarfish chainlet has quickly become an empire, and it looks like KazuNori—Nozawa's downtown hand roll-based counter—will soon be following suit.

Eater LA reports that two westside KazuNori branches are in the works, with a Westwood location slated to open sometime this year, and a newly announced Santa Monica outpost also on the way.

The Westwood location will be located on 1110 Gayley Ave, right by the Hammer Museum, and the Santa Monica lease was just signed for 120 Broadway, between Ocean and 2nd Avenue. Lauded L.A. architecture firm Marmol Radziner will design both restaurants, according to Eater NY, who report that the Nozawa Team are also planning KazuNori and Sugarfish outlets for the Big Apple. As Eater writes:

For those unfamiliar with Los Angeles' Sugarfish chainlet, the concept was born in 2008 as a more casual and approachable iteration of chef Nozawa's famed Studio City restaurant, Sushi Nozawa. There, he earned cred over 20 plus years as one of the city's first and most respected sushi chefs, known for his "Trust Me" omakase-style of dining, a mantra that was displayed as signage behind his iconic, now shuttered Ventura Boulevard sushi bar. (That location flipped into a Sugarfish in 2012.)

Sugarfish, which debuted in Marina del Rey, turned out to be such a hit — attracting hour-long lines for expert $30 omakases — that the city now counts ten locations, with New York slated to be number 11.

For a fuller history of chef Kazunori Nozawa's place in L.A. sushi history and KazuNori's role in his growing empire, see Jonathan Gold's November 2014 L.A. Times review of the downtown KazuNori.