SeaFood Business

MAY 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 32 of 42

28 SeaFood Business May 2014 Visit us online at Photo courtesy of Sushi Dojo Accessible sushi Sushi Dojo brings laid-back atmosphere to Big Apple sushi scene BY LAUREN KRAMER C hef David Bou- hadana is trying hard to take the stufness and se- riousness out of sushi, which is no easy feat for a 27-year-old French- Moroccan Sephardic Jew. He's the co-owner of Sushi Dojo, a 32-seat restaurant that's booked solid nightly as diners come to pepper him with questions and learn about authentic Japa- nese sushi in an environ- ment akin to an improvised cocktail party. Many customers learned of the restaurant, which opened in June 2013 in New York's East Village, after reading a review in the New York Times, one wherein Sushi Dojo was given two stars and a signifcant busi- ness boost, putting Bouha- dana on the culinary map. "We have nice music and we all enjoy a good drink," Bouhadana says of Sushi Dojo. "But we don't sacrifce anything when it comes to the food. We ofer a casual approach to high-end sushi." Most of his ingredients are fown in daily from To- kyo's Tsukiji Market and two other Japanese fsh mar- kets. Bouhadana meets his four fshmongers each week and they place orders, sourc- ing horse mackerel, golden eye snapper and spotted sar- dine, among other species. Tuna is fown in from Spain, sea trout from Tasmania or New Zealand and scallops and orange clams from Long Island or Massachusetts. Bouhadana came to the United States as a toddler, grew up in Florida and start- ed out in 2004 as a server at Yokohama Sushi restaurant in Palm Beach County. "On my frst night, when I walked into the restaurant the sushi chef looked at me and declared, 'Tonight, you chef,'" he recalls. "I countered, 'No, I server,' but he was adamant. He needed me and from that moment on, I became his stu- dent. I didn't fnd sushi — su- shi found me." Sushi is the only food Bouhadana makes, and that's the way he likes it. "I love what I do every minute of the day, the discipline, the instant gratifcation it brings and the learning involved as you begin to understand how to do it right," he says. "Learning how to make su- shi isn't something you can rush — it takes time, and I'm still on the learning curve, even after 10 years in the business." After he left Yokohama, Bouhadana did an apprenticeship in Japan for three years and helped design and open three other restaurants in Los Angeles and New York. Until the New York Times review, though, no one knew his name. "When I opened Sushi Dojo I didn't expect the respect and recognition I've received over the past nine months," he says. "Now, when I prepare sushi in my restaurant there are 32 peo- ple looking at me and they all know my name!" Tere are some items that are never served at the res- taurant, including avocado rolls, spicy rolls and teriya- ki. Tose items are excluded from the menu because "that's not what sushi is — that's the Japanese equiva- lent of pizza in America," he says. Bouhadana has made a name for himself by trying to show the true essence of sushi, and when someone asks for avocado rolls, he instead suggests a piece of handcrafted sushi. "Cus- tomer education is a lot of what I do and it's why we named the restaurant dojo — a place of study and prac- tice," he says. "We ofer seri- ous yet accessible sushi, for not-serious people." In saying accessible, Bou- hadana means his price points. His 10-piece omak- ase (chef 's selection), for Behind the Line Sushi Dojo keeps its prices down, but still fashes some fair with its fsh. Continued on page 32 26_WIS_28BTL_30SF_32Jump_36Networking.indd 28 4/16/14 9:29 AM

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