You may have heard of omakase-style dinners – a dining experience in which each dish is based on the chef’s choice – but stand-alone omakase restaurants have yet to make an appearance in KC, until now. Expected to open in the Crossroads by the end of the year, Sushi Kodawari will specialize in the Japanese style of dining and will only have eight seats.
“When I was looking into coming back to the city, I was really kind of surprised to see that there was nobody in Kansas City really doing this concept,” says Owner and Chef Karson Thompson of the omakase-style. “It looked like there was a gap to fill in the Kansas City market.”
Sushi Kodawari (2100 Central St. KCMO) will encapsulate the typical Tokyo-style sushi restaurant atmosphere and experience with seasonal fish and an intimate dining room in which customers can view the chef preparing their entire meal.
“Everything is very transparent,” Thompson says. “You can see everything being made and the ingredients being used. You can see me grind the real fresh wasabi root, not rehydrate something from a packet.”
Omakase loosely translates to “I leave it to you” in Japanese and originated in reference to Tokyo’s sushi restaurants. Customers cannot choose the from Sushi Kodawari’s daily menu but can expect highly seasonal dishes.
Thompson’s supply chain involves speaking directly to folks on the ground at Tokyo’s fish market so they can relay the best catch-of-the-day and send it to KC with haste.
“You really get to watch the life cycle of the ocean as it shows up in the various different fish that we will have the opportunity to showcase throughout the year,” Thompson says. “Some fish get fattier or leaner during certain times of year, depending on whether they’re in mating or spawning season or moving from warmer to cooler waters.”
The beverage menu will include sake, wine and Japanese beers.
Sushi Kodawari will only serve dinner (with two rounds of seating per day, most likely at 6PM and 8PM) out of the 1,800 square-foot space located on the first floor of The Creamery building.
The Crossroads space is bigger than Thompson envisioned. Due to Tokyo’s densely populated real estate, it’s common for sushi spots to be “crammed into all kinds of nooks and crannies,” making them traditionally small.
The Kansas-native was practicing law in Austin, where omakase restaurants are more popular, before moving back to KC. Sushi was always his “side passion,” he even graduated from a sushi-focused culinary school before returning to KC to turn it into a full-time career.