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A dining counter in a Japanese restaurant.
The 10-seat dining counter.
James Tran

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This 10-Seat, Omakase-Only Restaurant Brings the Japanese Art of Kaiseki to Bankers Hill

Kinme will offer a 10-course progressive and seasonal meal

The magical experience that is a kaiseki meal — a meditation on the seasons that blends art and cookery — has a new stage on the corner of 5th and Laurel in Bankers Hill where Azuki Sushi owner Shihomi Borillo has turned the Hachi Ramen space into an elegant and transportive restaurant showcasing one of her favorite dining traditions from her native Japan.

Kinme opens Wednesday, March 15 with just 10 seats and reservations required for its two seatings per night, offered at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

In its hushed open kitchen, the 10-course, $175 dinner is prepared and presented by executive sushi chef/partner Nao Ichimura of Azuki Sushi, leading a trio of chefs including chef de cuisine Kevin Alvarado in a thoughtfully-choreographed progression of dishes that features pristine seafood from Tokyo’s Toyosu wholesale fish market as well as seasonal ingredients sourced around Southern California.

A man and a woman stand next to each other.
Executive sushi chef Nao Ichimura and owner Shihomi Borillo
James Tran

As with most kaiseki meals, there is a mix of raw and cooked items, from sashimi barely seared by binchotan charcoal to a simmered course and a soup; while classic kaiseki often ends with a rice dish, Kinme’s closes its savory selections with grilled slices of ultra-rich Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef.

Other opening menu courses include an oyster topped with caviar and blood orange pearls, white asparagus served with miso from local fermenter West Coast Koji, and a custardy chawanmushi featuring morels and Dungeness crab. Borillo tells Eater the sashimi and nigiri will change almost daily with the whole menu shifting once a month.

The restaurant tailors beverage pairings from a list that includes select sake, natural wine, and Japanese whisky, and ends every meal with traditional matcha service.

A raw oyster in a glass bowl.
An oyster starter.
James Tran
White asparagus and miso.
White asparagus and miso.
James Tran
A chef plates sashimi.
Plating sashimi.
James Tran
A plate of wagyu beef.
The grilled course.
James Tran
Whisking matcha in a cup.
Whisking matcha.
James Tran

Kinme, 2505 5th Avenue, Bankers Hill. Opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.


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