Austin Sushi News,   April, 2001



1. Musashino Improvements
2. Kenichi Preview And Grand Opening (soon!)
3. Cell Phone Access To The Latest Sushi Ratings

Note: There were no February or March issues of Austin Sushi News

1. Musashino Improvements

As some astute readers noticed, Musashino (our top rated
sushi bar) was closed over the Christmas break. When
they emerged in January, the interior sported
a refreshing new look.  Gone are the bad acoustic
tile ceilings which looked like leftovers from a Trammel Crow
office park. Now, new dark wood beams give the ceiling a warm
look and the entire place has a much more refreshing feel.

The menu has also undergone some changes.  All of the
old favorites are still there,  but there are many
new and revised items.  Try "U Zaku" -- grilled unagi (eel) on
a skewer;  Nameko Jiru -- miso soup with nameko (mushrooms)
and radish sprouts; and the Dempsy Roll -- a salmon skin roll
topped with eel.

It's All Good.

2. Kenichi Preview And Grand Opening (soon!)

If you've passed by the corner of 5th Street and Colorado recently,
you'll notice that the scaffolding is gone revealing
the swank facade of Kenichi, soon to be Austin's hottest
sushi bar.

Surely this is the biggest event to ever hit Austin's
sushi scene. We've waited and waited, and given you some tentative
dates that weren't even close. But now, we've got a
real grand opening date, and it's only three weeks away:

       Kenichi's grand opening is Sunday, April 22nd

I recently took a tour with co-owner Bill Rieger and was
mightily impressed with his vision.


Kenichi will be more than just a sushi bar. According to Rieger,
the menu will be "upscale pan-Asian cuisine and
cutting-edge sushi. It's all the traditional sushi plus some real
innovative stuff," He said.

Kenichi's custom-designed  "Hawaiian" roll will feature
blackened tuna, pineapple, and lettuce wrapped inside out.
They're also working on an "Austin" roll whose ingredients
are yet to be determined but, according to Rieger, they are leaning
towards "catfish, cactus, and jalapeno" as the central ingredients.

On the cooked side of things, they plan to offer
"a multitude of wild game items." Rieger mentioned
Sekka Deer (a Japanese deer raised on some private ranches in Texas)
as one likely menu item.  He also says that Kenichi will have the
largest sake list in Texas.  "We're trying to find some real
unique sake to import that has never been in Texas," says Rieger.


"The whole thing with a sushi chef or bartender
is that you don't want them taking many steps," says Rieger.
Pointing to where the custom-designed, back-lit dish racks will be hanging
over the
sushi and liquor bars, Rieger explained that the full-size grill behind the
sushi bar will allow sushi chefs to prepare their own ingredients.
Combined with the back-lit dish racks, other innovative ambient lighting around
the room was designed to create a glow like a candle light.

Kenichi's 4600 square foot space was architected by Austin's own
Dick Clark Architecture and the interior design done by Noble Design of
Aspen, Colorado (Bill's wife owns the firm).  As reported in previous issues of
Austin Sushi News,  The Design Austin web site has posted some
architectural details of Kenichi (

Austin craftspeople and Texas materials were used whenever possible, Rieger
said.  The custom metal work was done by Austinite David Black, which includes
some special tables, doorknobs, and bathroom fixtures.  Texas granite
was used for parts of the sushi bar and exterior siding.

Although there was not sufficient space for a tatami
room, Kenichi has a private meeting room that can fit groups up to
25 people, or it can be split in two with a sliding Shouji Screen (tatami
room screen) so
that two parties of 12 people can be accommodated.  The
private meeting room also has 5th Street access and recessed power outlets
so that live entertainment is possible. Rieger was non-committal
about offering live music on a regular basis but private parties
can book music for the meeting room. From time to time, Rieger may
allow live music for the rest of the restaurant.

All we can say is......Yow!

Want to see what Kenichi looks like in Aspen, Colorado? You can check
out their web site, .

3. Cell Phone Access To The Latest Sushi Ratings

As always, if you've got a compatible cell phone (Spring PCS'
Wireless Web,  AT&T's PocketNet, or Verizon's Mobile Web),
point it at our list of Austin sushi bars (
Push a button to automatically call your favorite sushi bar. Handy!