The Jasper Ave-124 St nexus continues to strengthen with every successive restaurant opening (and, believe me, there are many). Indeed, upon these streets there is never a shortage of wonderful things to eat and drink. The darker twin to this sunshine child of all things culinaria is a morose shadow of exorbitantly high leases, ruthless competition and fickle audiences, the resulting admixture of which may send even the sturdiest of institutions floundering (see the recent closures of The Makk and Bistro Saisons). And so, daring entrepreneurs may opt for subdued digs, snugly set aside from hip crowds.
Kenko Japanese Cuisine is quite far from this hub; in fact, it's nearly impossible to find. Even well-written directions culminate in fruitless trips 'round the block of a southside industrial complex. This is because Kenko shares digs with Korean eatery B-Bim-Bap. Kenko, in fact, sports no exterior signage. Kenko's space, though it is anachronistically clad in maroon velvet furnishings, purveys some seriously superior sushi. Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll, for example, is almost imperceptibly crusted in a fragile, crispy wrapper that carefully contains crunchy asparagus and meaty, chili-laced tuna.
TNT roll delivers a promised kick, with slices of velvety mango and intermittent pops of tobiko present to attenuate the roll's impressively spicy tempura shrimp. Attractive presentation is a bonus.
White House Roll's stately presentation includes a banana leaf on an elongated platter. Vivacious salmon, understated tuna, and milky scallops reveal themselves one by one within a watery-crisp white radish wrapper.
A final bonus: the chef appears with a gratis dish of oblong red snapper kissed with wasabi mayo, tiny rings of green onion, and salty tobiko roe. Here is further proof that forays off the well-trodden path are laced with unexpected rewards.