Best New Restaurants 2022: Kintsugi Sushi
Seigo Nishimura, a Tokyo Sushi Academy-trained chef and co-owner of Satori Ramen Bar, runs this North Market Bridge Park sushi shop, which offers fresh hand rolls and maki rolls as well as yakitori.
Restaurateurs Seigo Nishimura and his wife, Casey Cooper-Fenske, are battle-tested. When the duo opened Satori Ramen Bar in the historic North Market in January 2019, their opening day was marred after a transformer blew, leaving all vendors without power for several hours. Satori lost hours of prep work.
The eventual success of Satori made the opening of a second business, Kintsugi Sushi Bar, possible. Only this time it wasn’t the power going out, but a global pandemic, that threatened Kintsugi before it even opened. Lucky for us, Kintsugi did debut at North Market Bridge Park in January 2021, and the owners’ battle scars make the name of their sushi bar even more appropriate. Kintsugi refers to the tradition in Japanese art of mending broken ceramics with gold. In other words, don’t try to hide your flaws—they are part of you. Nishimura, who trained at Tokyo Sushi Academy, says they picked the name even before COVID. “It has more meaning than ever before,” he says.
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There are few flaws at Kintsugi, which offers some of the best and most health-conscious food in the market. The sushi bar, which offers standard sushi rolls as well as more uncommon sushi varieties, specializes in hand rolls that come in two different shapes, cone or cylindrical, with a soy sauce gelee that makes them easy to eat on-the-go. Fresh maki rolls and nigiri sushi are also available, as well as yakitori and sides such as miso soup, edamame and seaweed salad. Be sure to check Kintsugi’s ever-changing board of specials.
Skewered: One thing that sets Kintsugi apart from other sushi outfits in town is its delightful selection of yakitori, including chicken teriyaki, beef tenderloin teriyaki, black cod, eggplant, Brussels sprouts and bacon-wrapped asparagus. Other yakitori varieties pop up now and then depending on the season. Nishimura recommends the eggplant, which gets a sweet miso glaze treatment that “a lot of people are obsessed with,” he says.
Free-Form: Both Satori and Kintsugi have been deliberate about making their menus inclusive to gluten-free and vegan diners. (Cooper-Fenske is vegetarian and adheres to a gluten-free diet.) Several of Kintsugi’s sushi rolls and skewers are vegan/gluten-free, and Kintsugi’s miso soup uses vegetable stock instead of the more traditional fish stock.
Special Date Night: If Kintsugi ever promotes a special, one-night-only “omakase” menu on its social media accounts, don’t hesitate—jump on it. For Valentine’s Day last year, Nishimura created a stunning to-go sushi box that showcased true, delicate artistry and featured seafood flown in fresh from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market. Fingers crossed that this special “chef’s choice” menu makes a return someday.
6750 Longshore St. (inside North Market Bridge Park), Dublin
This story is from the February 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.