Sushi is my favorite food, and when my husband told me about Kenzo Napa it was immediately put on our must-try list. Kenzo is the latest venture from the owners at Kenzo Estate (Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto), an exceptional, authentic Japanese restaurant featuring a traditional pre-fixe Kaiseki menu as well as a pre-fixe sushi menu -featuring seafood flown in from Tokyo daily.
The decor is about elegance and simplicity, incorporating a clean contemporary design keeping the focus on the food. From the smooth light wood counter to the relaxing lighting, everything captures the elusive qualities of symmetry and simplicity. While dinning I found out that Kenzo’s wife, Natsuko Tsujimoto, handpicked and imported everything in the restaurant from Japan. Everything from the black orb light fixtures created just for the restaurant by a well-known Japanese architect called Toyo Ita. Every piece of wood that was hand-tooled in Japan and shipped to Napa only to be installed under the supervision of Japanese artisans.
Service at Kenzo was amazing as they provided meticulous attention to detail with everything, from the moment you walk in to the moment you walk out. Dinner at Kenzo feels like a choreographed ballet as the chef gently places his creations on the counter followed by waiters that stand behind you waiting to bring the masterpieces down to the wooden mats on your level of the counter. This process adds a ceremonial quality to the experience.
Head Chef Hiroyuki Kanda (earned three Michelin stars for his Tokyo restaurant nine years in a row) left for Japan the day before to source fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but he trained the chefs and we had an amazing chef named Shuhei Shimazu.
It was my husband’s birthday and it is expected at such a restaurant to give you a daily customized menu, but to add Happy Birthday at the top was an unexpected little touch that made this dinner even more special.
Now that we have drinks and our customized menus, I will walk you through our dinner.
Poached Blue Shrimp, Shiitake Mushroom and Asparagus – with Kenzo estate-grown olive oil dressing
Assorted Appetizers – strip jack sashimi, Japanese egg omelet, king salmon sashimi, abalone and broccoli with wasabi gelee
Chef’s Daily Pressed Sushi – Japanese mackerel, white sesame, ova shiso leaf and pickled ginger
Grilled Chiba Golden Eye Snapper – with premium dash broth
Rice Cracker Crusted Aomori Greenling – egg yolk sauce and pea tendrils
Preparing my favorite course
When Chef Shuhei was low on wasabi, he made fresh wasabi the traditional way by rubbing the wasabi root over shark skin.
Salmon Roe Bowl
Bluefin Tuna & Scallion Roll
Red Miso Soup
And in the end your chef will sign your menu, in our case he also wrote happy birthday
Might be one of the top 10 sushi restaurants in the US, I highly recommend making a reservation for this amazing place.