the modern samurai
Two Sushi Shokunins* in Times Square Underground
On a random weekend in my relentless NYC food hunt. I found this discreet Japanese sign imprinted on a glass window on 47th st. I was immediately intrigued because one thing you know about great sushi restaurants: they don’t have big neon signs. Me and my DP/Director friend Eric Chang decided to dive in.
Several steps down the financial building, we were greeted by an almost foreign hospitality. When I say foreign, it was refreshingly calming and welcoming (huge contrast from New Yorker hospitality). “We just opened 2 months ago”, the Maitre D said. We then proceed to the sushi bar where there are only 10 seats and 2 sushi chefs in crisp white aprons cutting some fish and ingredients.
No menus. No questions asked. We began our Omakase journey. Long story short — we had a great conversation with Toshio Suzuki (senior chef and father of the restaurant owner). We were so impacted spiritually and soulfully by his food that we wanted to film him. This was the first time someone asked him. With minimal English, he nod his head with a gentle smile.
Months after that we found ourselves shooting his protege Kentaro Sawada cutting tuna, filming Toshio meditating in Central Park, and documenting a full Tea Ceremony in his Midtown apartment.
Stay tuned for the full film.
*The term shokunin simply means ‘mastery of one’s profession’