The owners of Shinto Japanese Steakhouse
in Strongsville understand that many of its loyal customers don’t have the time (or money) to make frequent visits to their favorite suburban Japanese restaurant. So Shinto decided to bring the restaurant to them, so to speak.
This week, Kenko
(11312 Euclid Ave., 216-862-7690) opened its doors in University Circle, providing diners with a fast-casual version of the Shinto sushi and hibachi experience, according to GM Jay Saleh.
“We’re taking the best elements of Strongsville and streamlining it for the students and commuters because nobody in that area really has time for a full sit-down meal,” Saleh says. “Kenko will be the same high quality with a lower price and quicker time.”
The interior has a sleek Asian-themed feel, with shiny bamboo tables and stools, modern pendant lights, and polished concrete floors. There’s plenty of seating at communal high-tops, snug booths, lengthy banquettes, and rail seating that looks out onto the street.
Guests place their order at the counter and slide down the line and watch as their food is prepared in front of them. There are starters like miso soup, edamame and shrimp-filled potstickers. A listing of made-to-order sushi rolls like spicy tuna, crab salad or California join larger specialty rolls like the popular Shinto creation, Little Delicious, which is filled with avocado, crab, spicy tuna and cream cheese and then deep fried.
Guests can also design their own rolls from a long list of wraps, rice, fish, veggies and sauces.
To streamline the hibachi process – here called teriyaki – the chefs swap the traditional teppanyaki grills for woks. The meals are built around chicken, beef or shrimp (or a combo thereof) and include veggies and rice.
There is seating for 100 guests with more to come when a rear patio is unveiled. A limited tea, beer and sake list is available.
Kenko is open every day for lunch and dinner.