You know you've become a regular (and probably live too close to a restaurant) when the host runs your credit card over to your front door when you have forgotten it at the table. Kenichi is one of my favorite sushi eateries - and not just because of its close proximity to my house. The quality of food is exceptional and the service is reliable, whether you're being served at a table by a waiter or at the bar by the sushi chefs themselves.
With dimmed lights and dramatic accents, Kenichi has much more of a chic city-bar feel than one would expect in a small mountain town. The floor-to-ceiling neon-blue glass wine storage unit is the restaurant's centerpiece, dividing the lively bar from the slightly quieter restaurant. Despite its stylish, upmarket decor, Kenichi's atmosphere remains relaxed and welcoming, perfect for date night or family night. The Rock Star booths and private Tatami room are ideal for larger parties.
One of my go-to items on the Kenichi menu is the Austin Roll, in which asparagus tempura and masago aioli are wrapped in paper-thin edamame paper and topped with eel sauce in an ideal balance of sweetness and crunch. Another delicious roll, the Blake, consists of shrimp tempura, cucumber, and avocado, topped with spicy tuna and drizzled with eel sauce. I'm not usually a fan of the flame, but this spicy tuna delivers the perfect punch.
For the salad lovers, I highly suggest the Kenichi Mixed Greens. It is amply sized for one person and includes heirloom tomatoes and ginger vinaigrette - one of my all time favorite dressings. - sweet, tart, and will leave you trying to lick the bowl when your dinner companions aren't looking.
If you are a sashimi lover (or simply one who avoids carbs at all cost), you can't go wrong with the Yellowtail Serrano. The four relatively skimpy slices of tuna are amazingly fresh and delectable with the jalapenos and tangy Thai basil vinaigrette. My family likes the vinaigrette so much that we ask for it as a side with our sushi rolls. Delicious!
Dynamite Shrimp, while not unique to Kenichi, is another popular dish. For those who have not had the pleasure of tasting it, the "dynamite" comes from the spicy mayo that douses the two shrimp tempuras. Not the most dietetic of options, but so worth the calories!
For dessert, I almost always order Mochi ice cream, the classic frozen treat wrapped in soft, sweet sticky rice paper and dusted with a powdery coating. Kenichi offers this classic Japanese confection in a variety of flavors, including mango, strawberry, red bean, vanilla, chocolate, and green tea (my personal favorite).
Despite the short life span of many restaurants in our highly seasonal community, it is no surprise that Kenichi has experienced success for more than twenty years.
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