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Did Bourdain Try to Dine at Nakazawa After Saying He Wouldn’t?

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Sort of. But also not really

'Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Japan with Masa' Screening Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner

One of America’s most acclaimed sushi chefs, Daisuke Nakazawa, does not care that some people refuse to visit his restaurant because he will be opening another location inside Donald Trump’s D.C. hotel, according to an article in the Washington Post. “I’m sorry I don’t work in an Obama hotel,” he told the Post. “But if you are so angry at the country and at Trump, you can leave. Try being an immigrant somewhere for yourself.”

Nakawaza’s addressing all of his hypothetical diners, but one of particular note is food authority (and former fan) Anthony Bourdain. In December 2016, Bourdain pledged to boycott the restaurants of Alessandro Borgognone, the restaurateur who brought Nakazawa’s concept to the Trump hotel after chef José Andrés pulled out in protest of Trump’s anti-immigrant comments. “I will never eat in his restaurant,” Bourdain said of Borgognone taking over the Trump space. “I have utter contempt for him.”

So it seemed particularly interesting that Borgognone told the Post that Bourdain did indeed try to make a reservation at Nakazawa’s New York City sushi counter. As the Post writes it:

Nine months later, Bourdain seemed to eat his words. In August 2017, Laurie Woolever, his assistant, sent an email to Borgognone’s Sushi Nakazawa: “I am hoping to make a reservation for 2 people at the sushi counter for Sunday August 20, ideally 8 pm. Open Table shows no availability; I’d like to respectfully request that [Bourdain] be given consideration, should there be any cancellations for that night?” (Borgognone’s polite reply was the same one he gave, on separate occasions, to Sen. Ted Cruz and actress Anne Hathaway: Sorry, no dice.)

Reached by email, Bourdain says the reservation request was a misunderstanding between him and his longtime collaborator and assistant Woolever, and reconfirms that he has not and will not eat at Borgognone or Nakazawa’s restaurants:

I couldn’t get in to Masa on short notice. I asked Laurie for another option. Under the gun, she apparently got a res for me at Nakazawa. (I did not ask specifically for that place.) When she told me, I either asked her if the owner was the same guy from Trump Hotel or she belatedly told me — at which point I asked her to cancel right away. She did. That’s the facts.

Woolever confirmed the confusion, and the Post has since amended their story.

So, in review, Anthony Bourdain will not be dining at Nakazawa or Borgognone’s restaurants, now or in the future. He also stands by what he said to Eater in 2016. Regarding his contempt for the men who agreed to open restaurants in Trump’s hotel: “I meant every word.”

Daisuke Nakazawa is opening a sushi restaurant in a Trump hotel. And he’s not apologizing. [WaPo]

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