Category Archives: Sushi

Bento Cafe serves Mexican food and sushi

bento exteriorMexican food and sushi are two great tastes. But do they taste great together?

Wichitans can find out at a new west side restaurant called Bento Cafe Mexican Grill & Sushi. It opened in April in the former Poblano Mexican Grill space at 550 N. Ridge Road. That’s in the little strip center that includes Bionic Burger and sits in front of Gordman’s.

The owner is first time restaurateur Phyu Kyi, who took over the business from the Poblano owners. Kyi wanted to open a sushi restaurant, but she spent six months working with the Poblano owners and learning how to make their menu, which remains intact at the business.

Rather than choose between the two cuisines, she decided to offer them both and just added sushi earlier this week.

The Mexican menu offers everything Poblano’s did, including burritos, tacos, bowls and more. The sushi menu is still growing but so far includes California rolls, spicy tuna rolls, nigiri such as tuna, salmon, shrimp and eel and more.

Bento Cafe is an order-at-the-counter place. The hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

For more information, call 316-944-7313.

Wasabi west owners plan Bel Aire expansion

photo-4Business has been good for Steve and Jasmine Young since they opened their Wasabi Sushi Bar West at 2404 N. Maize Road  in February. It’s been so good that they’re already talking about an expansion into Bel Aire in the next year or two.

The Youngs, who own the New Market Square Wasabi but not the downtown or east side Wasabi, have made firm plans to open another location in the planned Caban Marketplace along North Rock Road in Bel Air. That’s still a year or two away, though, says Wasabi general manager Matt Polk.

In the meantime, the restaurant is extending its half-price sushi offer that it started when it opened. Originally, the plan was to offer sushi for half price only during February, but customers responded so enthusiastically, Polk said, that the special has continued and will remain intact indefinitely.

Polk said he wanted to make clear, though, that Wichita’s various Wasabi restaurants are under different ownership and that the half-price deal is only good at the 2404 N. Maize Road location. The Youngs sold the restaurants at 912 E. Douglas and 32432 N. Rock Road before they opened out west.

Wasabi Sushi Bar West is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call the restaurant at 316-613-3318.

Jacky Chan Sushi to open on April 18

Jacky Chan Sushi will open on April 18 at 4910 E. Central.

Jacky Chan Sushi will open on April 18 at 4910 E. Central.

Several curious diners have written me lately to ask what’s going in to the former Sit at Thai Express space at 4910 E. Central.

I stopped by this morning and had a very spirited conversation with Binh Tran, the owner of the about-to-open Jacky Chan Sushi. (He insisted we take a selfie together before I left.)

Tran, whose nickname is Jacky Chan, was the longtime sushi chef at Kwan Court, which closed in 2011. He also made sushi for Sakura, the restaurant at 7820 E. Harry  that  closed on New Year’s Eve. It was owned by his brother.

A sampling of Jacky Chan's sushi

A sampling of Jacky Chan’s sushi

Tran’s new restaurant, which will open on April 18, has seating for about 20 and a drive-through. He’s offering a huge, multi-page menu that features daily $6.50 lunch specials. It also has tempanyaki grill specials, pho, udon soup and wonton soup. The sushi menu includes nigiri, sashimi and dozens of rolls, both simple and complex. Rolls range in price from $5.50 to $12.95.

The restaurant’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 316-239-6178 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page, which also offers several photos of Tran’s food.

West-side Wasabi opening Monday, offering half-price sushi all month

photo-4After a long wait, the Wasabi Sushi Bar West is finally set to open — and owners are rewarding customers’ patience with a fabulous sushi deal.

The restaurant, which is at 2404 N. Maize Road near Logan’s Roadhouse, will open for business at 11 a.m. on Monday and will be open for both lunch and dinner daily. Throughout the month of February, it will be offering all of its sushi for half-price, said manager Matt Polk.

Plans for the west-side Wasabi were first announced in 2012, but the opening was slowed down by construction delays and the fact that Wasabi founders Steve and Jasmine Young were focused on selling their other two Wasabi restaurants. Those two, at 912 E. Douglas and 32432 N. Rock Road, are now operating under new ownership.

The west-side Wasabi will have a full bar, Polk said. The menu is almost identical to the menu at the existing Wasabis, he said, but it will have a few new rolls and appetizer options, and the Youngs are also adding some items to the menu that were once popular at the original Wasabi restaurants, including Korean bibimbap and a pork katsu.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-613-3318.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant is closing, but owners hope to relocate

Sushi from Sakura Japanese Restaurant.

Sushi from Sakura Japanese Restaurant.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant, which has served sushi and other Japanese fare at 7820 E. Harry since 2006, will close at the end of business on Dec. 31.

The lease on the space is up, said owner Ernice Low, and she wants to move the business elsewhere.

She hasn’t been able to find a new place yet but says her plan is to relocate the restaurant. For now, she says, she’s going to rest while she searches.

She promised to update me if she found a new space.

Call 316-613-2828 for more information.

Great deal for sushi lovers at Golden Bay

Here we are, stuffing ourselves last night at Golden Bay. To the left is the family of social media maven Karen in Delano. They like it, too.

Last night, I ate until it hurt at Golden Bay Japanese Restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall sushi place at 3811 W. 13th St. that people have been telling me for months to check out. I’m glad I did, because it was delicious. I’m writing a review of the restaurant for this Friday’s Go! section.

But while visiting, I learned of a sushi deal that was so good, it’d be irresponsible of me to wait another second to share it.

When patrons at Golden Bay buy one special sushi roll — a fancy chef’s creation such as the Rainbow roll — they get a more basic roll for free. The special rolls tend to cost $9 0r $10 apiece, but each time a customer orders one, they can choose from one of four more basic rolls, such a California roll or a delicious sweet potato roll, and get it free.

And the basic rolls at Golden Bay aren’t that basic. They’re pretty substantial, and one of the choices — a deep-fried roll called the “Western” — is pretty complicated. Last night, we ordered three special rolls but had six rolls of sushi, and all of them were great.

Many thanks to the several readers who urged me to check this place out. I’m looking forward to writing the review.

Question of the week: Best westside restaurant?

Don't let this picture sway your answer. Just because I think Kanai is the star of the west side doesn't mean you have to agree.

The east side of Wichita has Bradley Fair and the Waterfront and the Plazzio, all of which are filled with fancy, popular restaurants that give west side diners an inferiority complex.

It’s well-earned, too. When I tell people that Wichita’s best sushi restaurant, Kanai, is at 119th and Maple, they often respond with a look of bewilderment. “On the WEST side?”

The west side, though, has gained its fair share of interesting, upscale restaurants over the past several years.

My question for this week: Which restaurants can the west side be most proud of? Help us out, Big Ditch neighbors. Perhaps we can teach those fancy Rock Roaders a thing or two.

Answer in the comments section below.

Gindi not for sale: Dawn Thai opening soon

I couldn’t help but notice the big/huge/giant “for sale” sign planted in the lawn of Gindi Thai & Japanese Diner at 7010 W. 21st St. N. when I drove past today.

But owner Roungaroon “Lou” Kumgool said that Gindi is not for sale. The building that Gindi leases, however, is. And although Kumgool has considered moving the business, Gindi still has two years left on its lease, she said.

In other Gindi news, Kumgool is just a few weeks away from opening Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar at 1220 N. Rock Road, in the former Smashburger Space in Derby. The restaurant is 90 percent done, she said, and she plans to open on Feb. 6. Dawn Thai will serve hibachi-grilled steaks, sushi and other “fusion” Asian dishes. The restaurant’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Question of the week: Your favorite sushi roll?

The number of sushi restaurants in Wichita just keeps multiplying. The latest is a second location of Wasabi, which opened last week in the former Bossa Grill space at at 3242 N. Rock Road. It has essentially the same menu as its sister restaurant at 912 E. Douglas, though owners have added a few new appetizers, salads and rolls. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

The opening inspires the question of the week: What’s your favorite sushi roll served in Wichita? Describe the roll, and tell us who makes it. To add my two sushi cents: I love love love the Flat Land Dream served at Kanai and featuring a creamy crab center plus scallops, shrimp and cream cheese with a topping of albacore, avocado, tataki sauce, mayo and sriracha.

Let me know you favorite in the comments section below.

Kanai awesomeness: New menu items, chef dinners

I haven’t exactly been quiet about the fact that I love Kanai and that I think its sushi is the best in Wichita.

Now, Chef David Kanai is offering fans like me a chance to try something new. He’s recently added 11 new items to the menu. Among them: an Umai Roll made with squid tempura and asparagus tempura; a roll called Beef29, made with red bell pepper tempura and beef tenderloin; and Hamachi Kama Shioyake, which is grilled whole yellowtail cheek in a special sauce. You can see the complete new menu here.

Chef David Kanai

Kanai co-owner Penny Ellis also told me about an interesting option for Kanai diners. Chef Kanai has started offering special chef dinners called “Omakase.” For $100 a person or more, depending on how lavish one wants his Omakase, the chef will prepare a special five-course meal full of off-menu dishes, including sushi, cooked items, and upscale ingredients such as Kobe beef and yellowtail cheek. Chef Kanai loves doing the dinners, Ellis said, because it allows him to show off his creativity step outside of the confines of the menu. The Omakase requires a reservation at least a week in advance, and the price doesn’t include alcohol or gratuity.

Kanai is at 12111 Maple, which is at the corner of 119th and Maple on the west side. For more information, call 316-719-2929