A high-end Japanese restaurant with Michelin in its blood opens its doors today in Napa Valley. Kenzo is the first U.S. restaurant from Kenzo Tsujimoto, the founder of both Kenzo Estates winery (where the restaurant is located) and the Japanese video game company Capcom, as Eater San Francisco notes. Creative director Natsuko Tsujimoto (who is Kenzo’s wife) designed the interior; the restaurant has been three years in the making. The Tsujimotos also own Kenzo Estate restaurants and tasting rooms in Japan.
Executive chef Hiroyuki Kanda has earned three Michelin stars for his Tokyo restaurant Kanda nine years in a row, and brings to Northern California years of experience and training.
Kanda trained chefs for Kenzo in Japan and will guide the kitchen through its opening months. Kanda is sourcing fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo; the wine list includes selections from Kenzo Estate winery.
The restaurant seats 27 and offers two prix-fixe menus: one for sushi, and one kaiseki-style, which is more of a traditional tasting menu though it may also include sushi or sashimi. Each menu costs $225 per person, a high price even among Napa Valley’s most lauded establishments, though it’s still lower than chef Thomas Keller’s menu at The French Laundry, which costs $310 per person.
Kenzo’s opening coincides with an uptick in San Francisco restaurants specializing in Japanese cuisine. The region is awaiting the arrival of The Starling from Adam Tortosa and Hitachino Beer & Wagyu, and the much-anticipated Single Thread Farms restaurant will highlight Japanese techniques when it opens about an hour north of Napa in Healdsburg, Cali.
• Kenzo Brings Japan to Napa While Channeling the Spirit of Margrit Mondavi [ESF]
• Three-Michelin-Star Tokyo Chef to Open Napa Restaurant [ESF]
• The 23 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of Fall 2016 [E]