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Michelin-starred sushi restaurant accused of giving women ‘smaller portions’ by NYC influencer: ‘We won’t be back’

Luis Carlos Alvarez Zaragoza, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and influencer, claimed that Michelin-starred Sushi Noz serves smaller portions for women than men.
Luis Carlos Alvarez Zaragoza, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and influencer, claimed that Michelin-starred Sushi Noz serves smaller portions for women than men.

Luis Carlos Alvarez Zaragoza, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and food influencer, recently claimed that two-star Michelin restaurant Sushi Noz serves smaller portions for women than men.

Sushi Noz is facing an allegation about serving women smaller food portions when compared to men’s. TikTok/luiscarloszara
Sushi Noz is facing an allegation about serving women smaller food portions when compared to men’s. TikTok/luiscarloszara

In a one-minute and 34-second TikTok clip, Zaragoza, who goes by @luiscarloszara on social media, posted his grievances over his sixth visit to Sushi Noz — his first since the Upper East Side restaurant received its second Michelin star last fall — on Feb. 20.

“Sushi Noz in NYC, unfortunately not worth a special trip anymore!!” Zaragoza captioned the viral clip, which has over 7 million views, adding that it was “actually the most negative” visit so far.

He alleged that his dining experience with the seasonal omakase menu, curated by Chef Nozomu Abe, started off badly — explaining that wine pairings were “disjointed” and delivered at “awkward” at times, leaving him disgruntled at the $700 per person meal.

But according to his viral clip, the New York transplant’s dining experience only got worse.

“Another aspect we didn’t enjoy was our friend who was the only woman in our group who was told she would be getting smaller portions,” Zaragoza claimed.

Although taken aback, the food lover explained, “We know this is a common practice in some places for omakase” — a decision reportedly based on hand sizes — “but she didn’t ask for it.”

And while food portions allegedly were larger for the men, Zaragoza stated that the meal price remained the same for all, even though one person’s portions were not as large.

“If the price also hasn’t been adjusted to account for the smaller portions, then everyone should receive the same amount,” he demanded.

When contacted by The Post, the restaurant’s publicist, Steven Hall, provided the following statement:

“The meal begins with five or six otsumami (small plates), which can be quite filling on their own. Before the sushi section of the menu begins, the chef will often ask first-time guests if they prefer smaller rice portions, an offer which they are more than welcome to decline. This is done out of consideration for the guest, to make sure they are able to enjoy the full progression of the omakase menu without becoming too full.

“In a traditional Japanese restaurant like ours, cultural and language barriers naturally lead to misunderstandings from time to time — that being said, this is the first time in six years that we’ve heard of these actions interpreted this way, which couldn’t have been further from the chef’s intentions,” he concluded.

The restaurant declined further comment.

Luis Carlos Alvarez Zaragoza complained about allegedly poor, sexist service at Sushi Noz. Instagram/luiscarloszara
Luis Carlos Alvarez Zaragoza complained about allegedly poor, sexist service at Sushi Noz. Instagram/luiscarloszara

When reached by The Post, Zaragoza backed up his assertions, saying he felt that “tradition” and “perpetuating negative attitudes towards gender” came into play during their visit.

“It’s a nuanced issue because tradition is often viewed as something to be preserved and respected, but we had to draw the line when someone in our group, the only woman, was given less,” he wrote, in part, in an email to The Post.

“We did our own research into this and experienced it in Japan as well, it is a common practice in omakase to serve woman patrons smaller portions. We then thought back to how we’ve never dined with a woman chef at the helm of an omakase. So when traditions seek to exclude, then it’s not really about preservation nor respect, but rather about keeping things the way they are, which often only benefits one group.”

Sushi Noz reps say the dining experience can be “quite filling.” Praepat Giraldo/Facebook
Sushi Noz reps say the dining experience can be “quite filling.” Praepat Giraldo/Facebook

“And this next part is really why we won’t be back,” Zaragoza stated.

Zaragoza also found fault with one more move by the restaurant. He claimed that when a male friend “politely” let the chef know the chuto Nigiri would be his last piece,

Thiago’s Chuto Nigiri was thrown out before he got to grab it.

The food influencer dined at Sushi Noz several times but claimed this was his most negative experience. TikTok/luiscarloszara
The food influencer dined at Sushi Noz several times but claimed this was his most negative experience. TikTok/luiscarloszara

He claimed his friend “politely” let the chef know that he didn’t want a final piece of nigiri sushi, expecting that his last piece would be passed to Zaragoza.

However, before Zaragoza could reach for the piece, the chef “snatched it up before he could and threw it in the trash right in front of us,” he claimed.

“They told us this was done because a piece of Nigiri can’t sit out for more than a few seconds or it goes bad,” he said of their explanation.

“Of course, that’s just a really bad excuse. No piece of food is going to spoil in a matter of seconds.”

The Michelin-starred two-star Japanese restaurant disagreed with the influencer’s experience. Haleigh Crider Harrison/Facebook
The Michelin-starred two-star Japanese restaurant disagreed with the influencer’s experience. Haleigh Crider Harrison/Facebook

Zaragoza said his experience at Sushi Noz was his “first negative review in a long time,” and now he wants to bring awareness to food waste in society.

“The mindfulness of how we consume food and what we waste is really important, and to see food being snatched up like this and thrown in the trash was pretty shocking, so unfortunately Sushi Noz is definitely not worth the special trip it once was,” Zaragoza concluded.

The food influencer’s review also startled many TikTokers online, who vowed not to dine at the establishment.

“Sushi noz- you do not exist in my mind,” wrote one person. “They will never see me.”

“How incredibly unprofessional and sexist. For $700 per person, that’s WILD,” added another.

“I’ve been on Michelin tok for a week and all I’ve learned is that I don’t want to go to a Michelin star restaurant anymore,” revealed a watcher.

Meanwhile, some viewers were skeptical of Zaragoza’s review.

“Honestly, paying $700 each for a meal is going against ‘mindfulness’ just a bit don’t ya think?” commented one jokester.

“[I] have a feeling we’re not getting the whole story here,” wrote a dissenter. “I’ve been to Noz many times, and this is wildly inconsistent with my experience (and that of many others I know). So I have a feeling he is not being straightforward about what really happened.”