Thursday, September 3, 2009

Elvis Is in the House

Kanno: You either love it or consider it average. Some argue that only a regular/insider holds the key to Chef Hide's perceived special service lockbox, and so an unknown customer at Kanno can only have an average sushi experience. I'll admit that Chef Hide (affectionately known as Elvis) treats his favorite customers exceptionally well. But here's the thing: anyone can become a "regular" at Kanno, even on your first visit. All it takes is an open mind and a smile.

The Folk Singer had never been to Kanno, and I myself have only been twice before, so we decided to take the Fat City sushi plunge a few weeks ago. The food was rich if not excellent, and the service was even better. I'll admit that I was skeptical walking in the door - wondering whether our experience would even come close to what superstars like the Dread Pirate get. But we did not leave disappointed. Here are a few tips and recommendations for getting the best out of Kanno.
  1. Sit at the Sushi Bar - This allows you to establish a rapport with the chef and expedites service. Hide and his wife Lin were the consummate hosts on our visit - offering up complimentary tastes of sake and free pours of ice cold Sapporo to everyone who was eating at the bar.
  2. Speak Up - Ask Hide what looks good today and tell him what you like. Tuna, salmon, mackerel, or giant clam. Spicy or sweet sauces. White, brown, or no rice at all. I don't think that I heard the man deny any special request.
  3. Order from the Specials - There are boards both over the sushi bar and on the wall in the main dining room. We ordered exclusively from the specials, and I don't think that I'll go back to the regular menu again. The softshell crab miso soup was loaded with onions, and the Lobster Dynamite Roll was rich with a wasabi-mayo sauce. But the hands down winner was the panko fried garlic softshell crab topped with a sauce that had me licking the plate.
  4. Go on Saturday Night - Kanno is closed on Sunday and Monday, so on Saturday night Hide is liberal with offering little tastes of the week's specials.
  5. Smile - This was the most fun I have had eating sushi since I discovered sake bombing back in '01. Hide and Lin are hilarious and quick to tell stories or just shoot the breeze. Both truly enjoy their work - an attitude which is contagious with their diners.

Kanno - Birdie


robert said...

Once you've gone a few times, the menu becomes irrelevant anyway. One of the neat things about Hide is that he's perfectly willing to discuss every dish he serves, and its history, and how it might differ from what you'd find in California, or in Japan. That may be true of other sushi chefs in the area, I don't have the experience to say, but as you observed, Hide and Lin are pretty cool cats. One of these days you guys should join me for lunch there.

Donnie Boy Riguez said...

I went recently for lunch and was unimpressed by the roll construction. The rolls fell apart as soon as you moved them, and I have a soft touch. Some spicy soup Erin got was really dynamite, but I'll take Sushi Bros. any day of the week.

Ellewoodsc said...

Are you following the Parisian Princess's lead?!? I just wrote up Kanno a month ago and even featured the lobster dynamite roll. I think you owe me a free meal for this one. Sushi competition....bring it on, brother!!

Celeste said...

The spicy softshell crab miso soup is downright delicious.

Rene said...

Lindsay went to Kanno yesterday and had a poached pear stuffed with salmon. This morning there was an ad by my pillow for a duplex in Fat City.