These plates sit with a mishmash of others-purchased from Japanese tableware distributors in Chicago and Los Angeles-in an open dish cabinet viewable from the dining room. While this storage unit is a visual centerpiece for counter diners, Kimura believes in function over form. "It's just there because it's easy to reach," he says.

These plates sit with a mishmash of others-purchased from Japanese tableware distributors in Chicago and Los Angeles-in an open dish cabinet viewable from the dining room. While this storage unit is a visual centerpiece for counter diners, Kimura believes in function over form. "It's just there because it's easy to reach," he says.

A pottery class at the Worthington Community Center promised lasting results for Kihachi chef Ryuji "Mike" Kimura and his wife. The pair attended one of the center's many classes and took away a new skill and 25 plates (in five different styles) for their Dublin strip-mall restaurant.

Kimura is picky about his plates. "I never buy from just the picture," he says of the catalogs provided by distributors. "Before I buy, I have to see, to touch, to hold." He considers both weight and texture-two things that aren't clearly communicated from far away. And so his Yamasho sales rep comes once a year from Chicago at his beckoning. "I can call them, and they bring over samples," he says. "And then I choose."

The varied selection of serving ware is an inspiration for his artistic displays of sushi and Japanese small plates, but Kimura doesn't have a favorite. "I consider the kind of food," he says. "And then I choose a dish. I don't have a rule. I can use any dish."

His customers, though, seem to have a favorite when it comes to handcrafted chopstick holders from his long-ago pottery class. "That one," he says, laughing, "customers take home." 2667 Federated Blvd., Northwest Side, 614-764-9040