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A ‘Raw’ deal: Changes, a bright future for Sushi In The Raw

Sushi In the Raw Chef Dallon Vose (right) has been training under Kaoru Suzuki for the past four years. Vose will take over as head chef at the restaurant’s new location at California Organics in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

Many Nevada County diners and tourists alike were disappointed to hear that Sushi In The Raw in downtown Nevada City would be closing its doors.

The sushi spot—which was opened 20 years ago by Kaoru Suzuki and his wife Susan Frizzle—has garnered a legion of fans throughout the years mainly due to their traditional approach to sushi and the way it is served, as well as its reputation for fresh and uncompromising ingredients.

When Suzuki (more commonly known as “Ru”) and Frizzle recently decided to sell their business it wasn’t a decision that came to them lightly.

Friends and family enjoy a special sneak peak at Sushi in The Raw’s new digs at California Organics off of Argall Way in Nevada City last week. The restaurant’s new location is now open to the public.
Photo: Elias Funez

“Because my parents started getting old and I am first son, so supposed to be taking care of my parents,” Ru said before adding, “(We’re) going back to Japan.”

That’s where Erik Dutillieul comes into the picture.

An experienced business operator with experience in the wholesale and retail food business, Dutillieul had purchased California Organics market and was putting in seven-day weeks in order to ensure the success of his newly acquired store.

One night he ordered from Sushi In The Raw, having been a regular customer, for his dinner. He was greeted by Ru.

“Ru comes out and says hello and we catch up,” Dutillieul explained. “And I said, ‘I hear there’s rumors you are going to sell or are closing.’”

A potential buyer of the sushi restaurant had been lined up, but things fell through, Ru explained to him.

“I suggested he bring it over to Cal Org,” said Dutillieul. “Fast forward to now. The most amazing part of the story is that Ru was kind of robbed of his last week (on Spring Street) because of heat and smoke. From (September) 11 we closed (the previous location) and by the 20th we were serving dinner.”

All employees from the former Spring Street sushi location were retained and have continued on to the new outpost at 135 Argall Way in Nevada City.

“I think the Seven Hills business area is a big part of our community and it’s exciting to be a business owner here and put some energy in here.”

Sushi In the Raw is now located at 125 Argall Way in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

Dutillieul added that patrons won’t be asked to leave after two hours and are invited to take their meal at a leisurely pace. He also asked that customers be patient as the chefs and staff are getting acclimated to their new space.

There is also the benefit of having the organic grocery and Sushi In The Raw in the same location, he said.

“I know a lot of people don’t get to town and I think having stuff under one roof is important. That’s exciting.”


Chef Dallon Vose trained under Ru at Sushi In The Raw for four years, but has extensive experience in sushi and Japanese food stemming from the 12 years he spent at Kaido in Grass Valley. He will be taking over as head chef, with Ru passing the baton.

Sushi In the Raw Chef Dallon Vose has been training under Kaoru Suzuki for the past four years. He is now ready to take over as the head chef at Sushi In the Raw at their new location at California Organics.
Photo: Elias Funez

Vose voices praise for Ru’s leadership as well as his attention to detail, saying that the restaurant’s success boils down to: “Quality of ingredients and meticulously tasting things. All fresh, nothing frozen. One thing Ru encouraged very much was to taste everything all the time; tasting nigiri daily and that’s basically what it all comes down to. Every day we are tasting everything.”


Kaoru Suzuki said that his 20 years owning and running Sushi In The Raw have been most rewarding, and he wishes Dutillieul and his staff all the best.

“Of course it’s sad and now (the former space) looks all empty and a weird feeling but it’s something started, something finishing. Time to let it go and move to the next chapter.

Susan and Kaoru Suzuki enjoy dinner at Sushi in the Raw now at the California Organics store off of Argall Way in Nevada City, during a friends and family soft opening at the new location.
Photo: Elias Funez

“So much story we have,” Ru continued. “So many people came here and had a great time here and I am so glad I did it here. I am living in U.S. for 30 years and making sushi in the U.S. And a lot of people came here and started having more sashimi so I am so glad I did it.”

Sushi In The Raw is at 135 Argall Way in Nevada City. They can be reached at (530) 478-9503.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com.

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