This is what food and restaurant writers have to do all the time: Eat their words. I just published a rant about a need for more diversity and imagination in the Utah restaurant population. Don’t, I pleaded with would-be food entrepreneurs, don’t open yet another sushi restaurant. Utah, I argued, has hundreds of Japanese restaurants already, most of them in Salt Lake City. The last thing we need, I declared with delicious certainty, is another sushi restaurant.
So here I am, in the very next issue of Salt Lake magazine, extolling the excellence of a new Japanese restaurant.
Well, that’s the number one rule of critical writing: Never be too proud to be wrong.
Kaze Sushi Salt Lake a Japanese/sushi restaurant in the middle of downtown, opened a few months ago and it is excellent. Nevertheless, when I met co-owner Echka Nurzed and chef Peter Dagva, the first question I asked was, why did you decide to open a sushi restaurant in Salt Lake City? Their other restaurant is a sushi burrito place in Orem. In SLC they wanted to appeal to a “more diverse” audience. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that particular reason for moving to Salt Lake but it makes sense, because Salt Lakers do eat a lot of sushi and tend to be more open to new tastes—compared to the population of, ahem, Orem.
Kaze, designed by Nurzed’s husband, is a great-looking place, with a giant version of Hokusai’s Wave reproduced on the back wall, a lath ceiling and blue lights under the sushi bar. The food presentation is equally handsome—as Nurzed points out, “enjoying food is more complicated than just taste,” you want it to look good and, she adds emphatically, “it has to be absolutely fresh.”
To that end, Dagva orders in fish three times a week and uses several vendors to assure that the fish he gets is absolutely top quality. He changes the menu frequently and it will continue to evolve according to his customers’ tastes. “People here don’t just want rolls,” he says. “They want a variety, nigiri and sashimi, more kinds of bites.”
Kaze Sushi Salt Lake is working with sake experts to develop a sake menu as well, “We’re looking for some that aren’t served in Utah yet,” says Nurzed. He’s also got wine expert Francis Fecteau handling wine list and wine-service training for the staff. In July, the restaurant will be celebrating with a sake and sushi event—check the website for details. In the meantime, keep Kaze in mind. It’s open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and serves food until midnight. That’s right. Midnight.
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