I have always wanted to visit Tokyo for its sleek, futuristic architecture, cutting-edge technology and a culture that pays homage to its revered tradition and customs.
During my recent visit to Hando, I saw exactly what Family Meal Group partner Jason Andaya meant when he previously told The Leader about his desire to have “a space that could double as a waiting area and an after-dinner spot to continue an evening out.”
That space became The Kanpai Club, modeled after Japanese back-alley bars. The main dining area is also an intimate bar setting, where sushi chefs prepare temaki (hand rolls) in front of you and place them atop bamboo boards.
I felt a little silly sipping Nihon Sakari red sake ($6) out of a juicebox, but I was still grateful for my server’s recommendation. It had a deep, earthy taste that evoked beet juice, finishing with a hint of sweetness.
It was a good pairing with my three hand roll selections: ocean trout ($8), yellowtail ($6) and yasai ($5).
Because my chopsticks skills are still in dire need of refinement, hand rolls are an ideal way for me to consume sushi.
The ocean trout is tucked in with radish sprouts, micro-cilantro, fried shallots and yuzu soy, adding some saltiness and floral flavor to an otherwise mild fish, which you’ll like if you prefer seafood to not taste or smell excessively fishy.
The yellowtail is paired with scallions and accented with nikiri, a sweet soy sauce.
I was surprised to find that the yasai was the hand roll that captivated me the most.
This was a satisfyingly crunchy combination of bell pepper, cucumber, spinach, carrot, kaiware (sprouted daikon radish seeds), fried shallots, micro-cilantro and a zesty black sesame aioli.
I would have liked the option to swap out some of the selections in Hando’s hand-roll sets, or handokase, priced at $15, $20 and $25 for three-, four- and five-piece sets. But based on the level of quality of the sushi I had from Hando, I would venture to guess the spicy tuna, blue crab, fried oyster and shrimp katsu are worth trying for both sushi novices and veterans alike.
Address: 518 W. 11th St.
Dining Options: Dine-in, curbside pickup, delivery
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Entree prices: $15-$25
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: Seaweed Salad ($5)
Star of the show: Yasai
Rating: 4 out of 5 bites