Chris Kinjo’s Omakase dinner is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Nothing he does is typical of what you would expect from just a sushi restaurant. Soy sauce does not happen there, the wasabi is freshly grated on sharkskin, and he tells you how to eat each piece to be savored – it’s a customized experience just for you and its beautiful. Kinjo is very old school in the regard that he doesn’t over complicate any of his dishes. He leaves all the focus on the fish, with minor but perfect garnish that only compliments the taste of the fish but doesn’t take away from it. It is a journey from start to finish, and this is a very important aspect he wants you to realize.
All I could think about waking up this morning was the fresh salt water taste and creaminess of the uni, the smoked salmon dolloped with some sort of truffle mousse…. the piece of salmon so tender it literally melts in your mouth. I really can’t describe how fresh and incredible the dinner is that he puts before you. It changes daily depending on what he gets in fresh, sometimes live uni, live sweet shrimp from Santa Barbara, lightning bug baby squid, and the list goes on.
He starts very light with perfectly cut pieces of yellowtail, ocean trout, amberjack, then moving on to bigger pieces like the smoked salmon, king salmon belly, ocean trout belly, toro, and finally ending with the most perfect dessert only deserving of such a beautiful dinner – uni. We were lucky enough to have had live Santa Barbara uni every time we came (yes I am spoiled and have come back several times now). The taste of the live uni is so different from any other fresh uni I have had, and it is so hard to explain. I guess I would say it tastes like the ocean breeze with a sweetness that lingers… it is one of the most amazing things I have ever had. On top of it all, he is one of the coolest most down to earth chefs I have met. Watching him drink his bud light behind the bar, while creating these beautiful dishes that literally look like pieces of art was pretty awesome.
Location: Right now at Kaneyama on Westheimer, but soon to be opening his new spot. Check out his Facebook page for more info.