Exploring Exceptional Asian Cuisine in Your Hometown: An Interview (and Invitation)

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Co-owners K Dong and Chef Steven Chen, known for Best of Westchester Winner KUMO Sushi Lounge, have one goal for their growing hospitality brand:  Flawlessly blending the tenets of authentic Japanese and Asian cuisine with an infusion of cutting-edge culinary trends.

It’s a tall order, but Dong and Chen are ready to fulfill it. We asked Dong and Chen what makes their restaurants a must for sushi and Asian food enthusiasts and newer initiates alike:

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The inside of a sushi roll is where the true magic and flavors lie! Tell us about what’s “inside” your restaurant: What’s most important to you two and your brand?

We’re always trying to find new ways to delight our community. For example, we never want to disappoint a customer by being out of the akami or bluefin toro they specifically wanted to try; likewise, we refuse to offer anything less than the freshest fish imaginable. So we acquired a seafood distribution company. Every day, we connect Westchester County (and beyond!) with fresh-caught Japanese fish straight from the famous Tokyo fish market.  If superior quality is one of our mainstays, giving back to our local community is the other.

In February 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning, Miku Sushi introduced a monthly benefit menu — from which customers could order the catch of the day to benefit the cause of the month. Our customers have loved it: They get to order crispy-skin branzino on sautéed baby bok choy and know their money is going directly to the community.

How did you handle the pandemic as a restaurateur?

First of mind was our staff. Initially, we shuttered in-restaurant dining to protect our team and their elderly loved ones. Then, we wanted to care for our community. People wanted stellar order-out options, so we worked around the clock to ensure we could provide customers with top-shelf sushi through in-home family dinner experiences, using kitchen islands as makeshift sushi bars.

Then, we started to think about expansion. We realized how important it was to make exploring the world of sushi as accessible as possible to our community — and, now, an edited selection from our menu is available at other popular restaurants like Tony’s at the J House and Rowayton Seafood in Connecticut and Blue on the Hudson in New Jersey.

Who would you say your restaurants are for?

Anyone and everyone that craves quality mixed with service and atmosphere! Our restaurants are known as foodie go-to’s; we love that because our team takes great pride in our work on our daily basis. Yet young families and those new to sushi also feel at home with us, and we’re proud of that, too. Our menu was designed to be innovative and versatile. Looking for a more casual experience? Drop by KUMO Sushi Lounge, where young ones are always welcome.

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Interested in dressing up to the nines, feeling transported to another world as you dine, and even sighting a celeb or two? Miku Sushi is what you’re looking for. Hinoki, in Greenwich, has more of a formal adults-only feel; and our BLU Sushi Bar is the newest concept which is set inside of a larger restaurant with an amazing view of Manhattan. All feel fresh and authentic, with impeccable interior design. We are also opening a second Hinoki location next year at The Corbin District in Darien, Connecticut.

No matter what you seek, we are pleased to welcome, entertain, and help you experience Asian and Japanese culture and excellent cuisine. And, of course, feed you great food.

Do you have any menu recommendations?

We’re excited about the Lonely Angel Roll at KUMO (featuring black pepper tuna, eel, yellowtail, tobiko, and with a honey wasabi sauce), the citrusy Yuzu Scallop at Miku, and our signature Miyazaki king crab, avocado, and Wagyu rolls at Hinoki.

As for our newest concept — MOLI, opening in Greenwich in Spring 2023 — you’ll have to visit to find out what we have prepared for you! A hint, we’re pulling from our roots and celebrating Easts meets West with a nod to 1940’s Shanghai and molecular mixology.

Dong and Chen have netted many accolades, including Best of Westchester Awards (for Kumo), Greenwich Wine + Food’s Most Innovative Chef Award (Chen in 2022), Best of the Gold Coast Awards (2022 for Hinoki), and Best of Connecticut (2022 for Miku Sushi), a Lifestyle Publications 2023 Local Love readers choice award. Call any of our area restaurants in the Tri-State Area to make a reservation.

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