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Jul 16, 2007 02:14 PM

Kyoto - New Japanese rest. on Smith St

While checking out the Bastille Day celebrations on Smith Street yesterday, I noticed a new Japanese restaurant named Kyoto, anyone know anything about it or get to check it out yet?

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  1. It's another Chinese-run sushi joint. Also, the place that was formerly Mancora is also becoming a Chinese-run sushi restaurant. I'm not going to pass judgment based on the ownership - I've had above-average sushi in Huntsville, AL, served by an Italian-American - but I'm not going to be beating their door down, especially with Hibino on one side of the neighborhood and Taro on the other. (Both are amazing Japanese-run sushi restaurants, the former specializing in Kyoto-style tapas and tofu as well.)

    Edit: I hope that doesn't sound too bad, but when the sign for Kyoto originally went up, it said "Coming Soon: Japense Restaurant" They soon corrected it, but I don't hold much hope. I'd love to hear otherwise, though.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lambretta76

      We popped into Kyoto on bastille day yesterday, desperate for a quite air-conditioned place for some lunch. I was a little wary, esp considering we have more than enough good sushi to choose from. That's really sad by the way, to hear that Mancora is also becoming a sushi place, what the there no originality left? Is there really THAT much of a market for sushi? None of the sushi places ever look 'packed'.

      Anyway, back to Kyoto. Not bad. The service is a bit odd...our server was nice but she was very obviously told to push the expensive stuff. We must have been asked at least 3 or 4 times (including when we were obviously finished and full) if we wouldnt like to try some Toro. Or some live scallops. To the point of comical.

      Anyway, had some king salmon and some white tuna sashimi. Both were tasty...I was hoping for some white salmon but they didnt have and she insisted I'd like their king salmon more. Not really, but it was nice in any case.

      They had some sort of deep fried roll called a TnT roll that was quite tasty and elaborately presented. One of the other rolls we had (some sort of tempura shrimp roll w/ avocado as I recall) was far too big for my taste (i.e. doesnt fit very nicely in one's mouth).

      All in all it wasn't bad. ~ $40 for a 3 special rolls, and 2 types of sashimi and 2 lemonades.

      I dont think I would go there over Cube, Osaka, or Ki though.

      1. re: Nehna

        My husband's been craving that TnT roll and he finally convinced me to return the other night, to Kyoto (instead of Ki or Cube 63).

        I have to say, I was more impressed this visit. I'd pretty much written this place off as a 'me too' sushi place.

        We sat at the sushi bar this time, and the sushi chefs were all very friendly and full of suggestions on their best offerings. They also started us with a complimentary small dish each of seared pieces of tuna with cucumber in a light sauce---very tasty. Cube 63 also often gives a dish at the start, nice touch.

        We had some excellent seared white tuna as well as a starter.

        And a standout dish, which I've never had the likes of before, was a tuna 'dumpling' --- it was a mixture of fish stuffed inside a wrapping fashioned out of very thin tuna sashimi. i.e. the tuna itself was turned into a dumpling wrapper. Dusted with black roe and gold accent. It was excellent and surprising. Esp considering my expectations for the meal.

        We had a variety of excellent sashimi -- beautifully presented, with a tiny martini glass filled with a house sauce (soy, scallions, etc) that they recommend you use with their sashimi. We had a couple of rolls as well. The TnT this time was a much larger roll, which disappointed me. I hate rolls that are two big to gracefully put in your mouth. So while it was a nice, unusual roll again..I wouldnt order it again at that 'scale'. The sushi chef saw even acknowledged its a little on the large size. maybe next time we'd ask them to do it the old way.

        Anyway, despite my concerns it was a solid meal, filled with some interesting highlights and good service. I would return.

        1. re: Nehna

          Thanks for the update. I take delivery far more than I eat out and when I order sushi I get worked up into a state where I would rather die than be disappointed. Consequently every time I am tempted to try Kyoto I hesitate and end up with Ki (with no regrets--they haven't let me down yet on a sashimi order). Next time I will stay with it and call Kyoto.

          1. re: JonL

            I got a delivery from Kyoto last evening. My review:

            First of all I acknowledge that restaurant dining and home delivery are two entirely different experiences. Second of all, I am not el exigente. But I'm not a novice either.
            Everything was perfectly ok. So rather than describe the sashimi deluxe as inferior to Ki's, I'll call Ki superior to Kyoto. I never order rolls so I may well miss out on the artistry of this form.
            The Ki sashimi has a level of finesse, assortment, and all around tastiness that is lacking in Kyoto's more pedestrian platter. Each piece of fish from Ki has a shape, from thin to thick to thin that shows some flair of knife skills (there was the exception of one time when the slicing was more ordinary--presumably a different chef). In comparison, Kyoto's fish was a bunch of uniform rectangles. All the fish was a bit generic. And predictable. But perfectly ok.
            Budget is a significant consideration for me. Kyoto sashimi deluxe is $17. Ki's is $20. I will spend the extra $$ at Ki. I feel the difference is worth it.
            On the other hand, Ki does not offer as much on the kitchen app menu and that is disappointing. BTW--the salmon skin salad from Kyoto (new to me) was very nice.