296 Grand Street
(between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts.)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Cuisine: Izakaya, Sushi, Japanese Tapas
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All Major
Hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 6 pm – 12 am
Fri-Sat 6 pm – 1 am
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L to Bedford Ave., L to Lorimer Ave.
NY Mag says:
Bozu chef-owner Makoto Suzuki has expanded the definition of Japanese tapas (if there is one) to include deep-fried kataifi-crusted shrimp, pumpkin risotto croquettes stuffed with mozzarella, and an unconventional version of sushi. Suzuki’s “bombs” are the shape of things to come—small mounds of rice tinted red from cabbage or pink from codfish roe, and topped either traditionally (salmon, tuna, eel) or not (sun-dried tomato, olive, and caper). These light bites can be eaten at the bar, on epoxy tables ringed with Eames chairs, or on the back deck.
The Village Voice says:
Bozu (“bald-headed”) thrives on taking culinary chances. Tuna tataki ($7), for example, develops a voice and sings via an elfin scoop of strawberry sorbet that melts as the pinwheeled formation is ferried to the table. It brings a welcome pucker to the lips. Against all odds, I liked the “Italian” onigiri (two for $4.50), a newfangled take on the rice ball, Japan’s favorite snack. Mixed with chopped green olives and slivers of sun-dried tomato, it remained more Japanese than Italian.
Bozu eschews normal sushi. Among the seaweed-wrapped maki, find the “salmon stinky roll” ($5), which applies garlic to the bored-stiff orange fish. Another roll, called U.S.A., cryptically incorporates eel, shiso, and asparagus into the compressed pipe of rice. But the predominant form of sushi at Bozu—and the restaurant’s most arresting invention—is the “bomb.” Standing in for normal, finger-shaped sushi are round buttons of vinegared rice topped with raw fish, further extended skyward by ingredients like avocado, cucumber, green-tomato sauce, and frizzled deep-fried noodles of miniature circumference. What is the bomb’s significance? Well, individual pieces are smaller in volume than normal sushi, hence you never have to wonder whether to bite a piece in half or swallow it whole. Individual bombs (there are nine of them) vary in price from $4.50 to $6, but the most impressive way to experience them is via the “party bomb,” a 12-piece selection of four types.
Bozu has been called a Japanese tapas bar, and that’s fair enough. The smaller dishes are certainly the best, including a plethora of composed vegetarian salads featuring grains, tofu, tomatoes, seaweed, and grapefruit, generally dressed with soy and miso. The tofu salad ($6.50)—creamy tofu with avocado and plum tomatoes—is probably the best thing on the menu. The bigger dishes, like seafood stew and sake-marinated skirt steak, don’t fare as well. But who needs them when you’ve got the bomb?