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On a Roll: Cool down with this North Market Bridge Park eatery’s creative spin on sushi

On a Roll: Cool down with this North Market Bridge Park eatery’s creative spin on sushi

Jack McLaughlin

For a refreshing take on protein, sushi is where it’s at during the hot summer months. 

And Kintsugi Sushi Bar, which opened at North Market Bridge Park earlier this year, is highlighting traditional and lesser-known preparations of the dish in addition to the rolls we all know and love.

“We want to share sushi’s versatility with the community, including varieties that are popular in Japan and on the U.S. coasts, but less known in the midwest—and to explain which are which,” said Seigo Nishimura, who owns Kintsugi with his wife, Casey Cooper-Fenske.

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This means you can grab an expertly-crafted Spicy Tuna Roll or one of their specialty menu items like the Bridge Park Roll (complete with fried shrimp, tuna, crab surimi, spicy mayo, plus red and black roe) just as easily as you can get yakitori (charcoal-grilled Japanese skewers featuring bacon and asparagus, miso-glazed black cod, and more), Nigiri (simple, traditional sushi topped with a thin layer of raw fish), and the lesser-known hand rolls.

While most Americans recognize cut-roll sushi, hand rolls are smaller, but served whole, without the iconic cross-sectional cuts we associate with the food. According to Nishimura, they even prepare special sauces for this option.

“While the familiar cut rolls are dipped in soy sauce, hand rolls at Kintsugi Sushi Bar include a soy sauce gelee and/or special sauce,” he said. “It’s the perfect grab and go item. No chopsticks, no mess.”

Nishimura and Cooper-Fenske paid as much attention to their new restaurant’s name as they did to assembling their menu. 

Photo by James D. DeCamp

Kintsugi translates to “golden joinery,” the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery.

“We initially selected this name in 2019 because, with a strong focus on community building, we like the metaphor of bringing different people together through the exchange of cultural and culinary traditions,” Nishimura said. “As the pandemic unfolded, despite the challenges, our motivation only increased—we needed to realize the Kintsugi metaphor to demonstrate just how resilient our community can be in the face of unspeakable devastation.”

And this focus on coming together and the communal powers of dining is present everywhere you look in the new Dublin eatery. This even includes where, not just what, you’re eating.

“The bar-style counter seating is a great fit for the North Market location because it helps bring people together and lets them watch the sushi preparation and chat with the chefs and staff,” Nishimura said. “This is a critical part of our vision in fostering community and cultural exchange.”

To learn more, visit kintsugisushi.com

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