KĀI Now Open at Legacy West

With an open robatayaki kitchen, wrap-around sushi bar, expansive patios and a full-service lounge, KĀI stands apart from its neighbors in its Legacy West neighborhood. The lavish location of this Japanese-themed restaurant transports guests with its level of luxury and extravagance. 

KĀI’s owner, Lombardi Family Concepts, is no stranger to Legacy West. It also owns Italian-inspired Taverna across the street and the French Toulouse below. But the vibe here – not to mention the food – is distinctive from anything else in the area. 

As soon as guests climb the winding wooden staircase or ride the glistening elevator, they can sense the ambiance. The 5,500-square-foot mid-century space highlights organic materials. Ropes line the entrance, marble accents run through the interior and an abundance of natural light illuminates the space. 

KĀI // photos Kevin Marple
KĀI // photos Kevin Marple

“The added pops of color and natural light are modern touches that truly begin the KĀI experience from the moment our guests walk in the door,” chief operating officer of Lombardi Family Concepts Robert Clayton said. 

After taking in the décor, guests can make their way into the dining room or covered patio, both with panoramic views overlooking Windrose Avenue, while perusing the expansive drink and food menus.

World-renowned chef King Dey channels his experience training in Bangkok and Tokyo to oversee the dishes that fly out of KĀI’s kitchen. Dey has spent more than 20 years learning the art of Pan Asian and Japanese cuisines, and he channels that history to present one-of-a-kind twists on cultural favorites. 

“The menu is structured with the most popular dishes from Asia and a touch of modern elements from Europe and America,” he explained. “I used my experience living and working all over Asia – Japan, China and Thailand – to create a culinary journey that will transfer our guests to the Far East using the finest, freshest and most authentic ingredients.”

Get a feel of those influences by ordering the Asian Style Ahi Tuna Pizza served with wasabi, kabayaki, truffle oil and micro cilantro. The delicate starter is easy to snack on while also packing enough heat to keep each bite interesting. 

Presented with lists of nigiri, sashimi, maki and signature rolls perfect for sharing, it’s easy for guests to build out a meal as they go. That way, diners can enjoy those classic plates that make for a great sushi experience while also tasting KĀI’s more novel offerings – like the Alpine Bay Oysters served with cucumber gazpacho, wasabi granita and ikura. 

The bar menu also includes fresh ingredients that whisk diners to the East. The pear and lychee martini, with Grey Goose pear, fuji apple sake, lychee and lime, balances both crisp and sweet flavors that make it the ideal cocktail to sip as the night carries on. The range of shochu spirits and sake flights introduce new drinks to diners who may not know what to expect from the more traditional beverages. 

With mood lighting, cozy decor and beautiful offerings, KĀI will possibly become the new hot spot for date nights and after-dinner drinks alike, especially during its late-night hours. Doors close at 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Brunch is offered on Sundays, featuring dishes like Duck Hash and Khichdi.  

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