It had been a while since I had been to Kyoto – not because I haven’t always enjoyed it, but simply because other restaurants were getting my sushi business when it happened. Kyoto was my go-to for other Japanese fare, mostly their Nabeyaki Udon. However, this might all be changing.
The LaSalle Restaurant Group and Kyoto Restaurant have recently welcomed acclaimed chef Peggi Ince-Whiting to the kitchen. Peggi’s love of Japanese cuisine and creative combinations of new flavors are an exciting new aspect for patrons of Kyoto. While the original menu that Sam and Yoshiko Tada created when they opened in 1984 will remain largely unchanged due to popular demand, Peggi has a new focus on the popular sushi bar that was added in 2001.
Peggi has been making sushi in Utah for over 30 years. She is one of a handful of female chefs to work behind a sushi bar in Japan, which I love! Peggi was trained by Sushi Master Inou at Hama Sushi in Tokyo. After finishing her apprenticeship under Master Inou, Peggi returned to her native Utah to open her own restaurant, Ichiban Sushi. Over the 20 years that Peggi owned and operated Ichiban she received many awards and acknowledgements for her talent from US publications such as Bon Appetite, Fine Cooking and Zagat.
We were happy to be Kyoto’s guest this past weekend to try some of Peggi’s signature dishes, as well as some other favorites. Peggi’s sushi did not disappoint. In fact, I would say that overall, her new sushi creations had a light hand, full of flavor, and great texture – which is what I really love about sushi.
We ordered a few items off the appetizer menu to get going. And while the Ika Syoyu Yaki wasn’t a new sushi item, it was probably one of my favorite of the evening. ($11 Broiled squid with soy sauce and ginger). The best part was the smaller tentacles where you could really taste the char of the broil – mouthwatering!
We also ordred the Gyoza (Japanese style pot sticker $8), because – well, Gyoza. You gotta have it. Light, and nearly falling apart, this was also a wonderful dish.
And then, it was onto the sushi.
We decided to order the rolls that we knew were Peggi’s new creations, and we weren’t disappointed. In order:
O Toro – Special, Fatty Tuna Sashimi
Deadly Spider Roll: soft shell crab, spicy sauce, lettuce and cucumber
Funky Charley Roll: tempura fried roll with spicy tuna, green onion and wasabi mayo
Green Eggs and Ham Roll: with yellowtail, scallions, kaiware sprouts, cucumber topped with wasabi tobiko and Shiracha chili sauce
Ichigo Roll: spicy crab salad and avocado topped with yellowtail and fresh strawberries
Pink Power Roll: shrimp tempura, cucumber, asparagus, avocado and spicy mayonnaise rolled in pink tofu paper
So, pretty much, we ate all the sushi.
Our favorites? The Funky Charlie, Pink Power, and Ichigo Roll.
I don’t know how many of you have had a tempura fried sushi roll that was TOO HEAVY and TOO FRIED. I started stearing clear of them simply because between the tempura and cream cheese situations, I would leave feeling pretty overdone. What I loved about Peggi’s Funky Charlie, is that you get all of the amazing flavor that comes with flash frying sushi rolls…but it is just that – a flash fry. The tempura was so light and crispy. It was a lovely addition to the roll, not the overbearing top component of the roll. It was so full of delicious tuna and that is what stood out. The wasabi mayo was also not overbearing, but just added a nice bit of heat and creaminess.
The Pink Power was also a win for me. Not only is it some major sushi eye candy with the pink tofu paper, but this sushi roll was also surprisingly light and bursting with flavor. What stood out the most to me in this roll was the quality of ingredients. The avocado was perfect and added so much flavor and again the tempura on the shrimp was super light. Fresh veggies and a whopping prawn made this pink lady one I will order again.
The Ichigo Roll would be the perfect roll to finish off your dinner. Spicy crab, yellow tail, and avocodo are perfectly complemented by the very sweet, thinly sliced strawberries on top. It is outstanding and almost as good as dessert. Don’t let that statement fool you though – this one isn’t TOO sweet. Just sweet enough to compliment the other flavors and leave your palate feeling HAPPY.
And of course, what meal would be complete without dessert? Check out Peggi’s housemade Chocolate Sushi – cheese cake in a chocolate ‘sushi roll’ and topped with raspberry. Delightful! Also, you can never go wrong with mochi ice cream.
You guys, we were stuffed. I mean, it is 2 days later and I am still full! What a wonderful meal. Thank you Peggi and Kyoto for hosting us. We will be back!
Make sure to check out Kyoto – for the first time, or again if you are an old fan. The new additions to the menu are wonderful and Peggi herself is as sweet as can be.
Find KYOTO on Facebook HERE >>
1080 East 1300 South
Reservations Recommended: 801.487.3525
**Dinner was provided by Kyoto**
Categories: Restaurant Reviews