Having just returned from SeaWorld with my grandson, I had a driving desire for sushi. It seems that watching fish jump and frolic makes me want to consume Pisces. Even though there seems to be a sushi bar on every corner, few lure me in the doors as I want my sushi fresh, flavorful, and authentic (if it can’t be authentic, then it must be extraordinary). My dear friends, Will and Lori Barrow told me about a new buzz in the sushi world here in our little paradise called, Kumi-Ko. They had dined at Kumi-Ko and even though they had a pregnant friend joining them, this owner and chef impressed them enough to divulge me to go and take a stab at this new concept in sushi dining. (The chefs made distinct meals for her, as Prego’s are not supposed to eat raw fish).
I instantly loved the décor, open and fresh looking with a low style sushi bar and an open kitchen with four chef’s slicing and creating for all to see. Cat Fish, our chef instantly won me over as a man who knows fish, so I ordered the omakase (which means you let the chef choose your meal). We were first given a small plate of edamame and a trio of small starters including takon, pickled octopus, and a seaweed salad. A large sake appeared and we shared it with the chef toasting to this culinary tour.
Now, gifted as I am with an extraordinarily delicate and precise palate, I was blown away with my first dish. The Ono Tuna Tataki Wrap nearly made my head implode. Fresh, perfectly cut and seared tuna is wrapped around crabmeat, cucumber sticks, micro greens and lay in a puddle spicy ginger/sesame sauce. I wanted him to just repeat that dish, but I had put myself in this wise chef’s hands, so I moved on. My next dish was the English Cucumber Salmon Roll, with fresh salmon wrapped around a slice of avocado, red onions, tomato slices and sprinkled with capers. I loved that there was no rice in either of these dishes, so the fish reigned supreme.
Gary got Uni as it was still nearly wiggling and there is nothing better super fresh then a sea urgent. It was so inspired; he did not even dip it in the soy wasabi dip. Then he moved on to scallop sushi where large fresh Japanese scallops sang like a simple, yet elegant sea symphony. Next Cat Fish loaded brought us Hamachi belly sushi that was large and fresh. The Albacore belly was rich like butter, and the halibut was delectable.
Seeing that we were ready to try the big rolls that Kumi-Ko is famous for, Cat Fish made us a Baby Lobster Roll. The inside is crabmeat, cucumber, avocado greens, while the outside is adorned with baked baby lobster (langostino) and saturated with the house cream sauce, eel sauce, masago, and green onions. I swear this food touched me on a cellular level; we have not eaten this good since mankind crawled out of the sea.
I finished off with a tamago sushi, my form of dessert when eating at a sushi bar. Tamago is made by combining eggs, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and a touch of sake. When done right, there is no better way to end a flawless sushi meal.
Kumi-Ko means success, beauty, or child in Japanese, a perfect name for the newest development in restaurants featuring Sushi and Japanese style tapas. Open for lunch and dinner everyday in the Marigold Shopping Center at 3830-1 Broad Street in San Luis Obispo or call them at (805) 439-2332.