Two generations of sushi chefs have come together at Sakae Sushi (6325 Lewis St., Suite 100) – a new Japanese restaurant that opened at the end of January in Parkville.
Chef Sam Hoang, who Northlanders will recognize from his 15 years behind the sushi bar at Wasahi Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar, and his son Peter Hoang are cutting fish side by side and developing a menu that marries old world values with modern techniques.
“We’re focused on the traditional, but we’re moving toward progressive Japanese cusine,” Peter Hoang says. “What will make us different is our quality and our preparation.”
Hoang, 22, grew up at his father’s restaurant in Gladstone, working for him for seven years before moving to Chicago. He spent just under three years in the Windy City, serving as the executive chef for Kamehachi in the Westin Chicago River North Hotel.
“I was literally raised [at Wasahi]. I didn’t know anything else,” Hoang says. “But I’ve grown to love [sushi] and have a passion for it. I wanted to come back for my family and to focus on Kansas City and help educate people about sushi.”
The father-and-son pair make everything from the rice to the rice vinaigrette. One or both is often behind the sushi bar, while Peter’s sister Jennie manages the front of the house.
“We don’t want to hide the fish. We just want to bring out the natural flavors. To do that we try and use citrus or acid or cherry wood,” Hoang says.
In the past month, they’ve prepared hamachi (yellowtail) with truffle oil and banana peppers, as well as jalapenos, yuzu ponzu and cilantro (pictured above). Sakae is getting fish every other day from three area vendors. This week, they’ll be getting in Tazmanian King Salmon. Hoang intends to keep half for fresh sashimi and cure the other half with citrus vodka. He’s also hoping to order some wahoo, a fish native to Hawaii, that he can smoke with hay.
“It has this smoky, bacon flavor that you wouldn’t think fish could get, but it really does taste like bacon,” Hoang says.
In search of a new crunchy element to pair with sushi or sashimi, Hoang is working on a beet brittle to add to the Sriracha lime brittle that’s he’s created. It’s one of the ways he is pushing the menu and his father in their new joint venture.
“I’m honored that he called me,” Hoang says. “He’s the foundation of my career and just knowing that he trusts me, it’s a huge honor.”
Sakae Sushi is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.[Images via Sakae Sushi/Britt Ernst]