Mash up the show Tool Time with a sushi restaurant, and add some infomercial salesman charm, and you’ve got 5Kinokawa. The omakase-only spot in the Heights, open from Friday to Sunday, has a dining room filled with just as many carpentry tools as species of fish. The chef is, apparently, really into woodworking. Not only are you eating expertly sliced, no-frills nigiri, you’re also learning about different types of wood, where fish come from and when they are in season, or how to perfectly deshell and fry a Santa Barbara spot prawn.
While you think you might just be here to enjoy sushi, there’s also a bit of a charismatic magic act happening as the chef skillfully prepares flounder fin muscle nigiri or hot torches slabs of A5 wagyu. That, plus the high-end boozy cocktails and the intermittent injection of buttery rich cooked dishes like pan fried cod sperm dumplings (you ready that correctly) and umami-packed kombu broth, makes the omakase experience zip by. At some point, it’s hard to tell whether you’re just another diner, being pitched an investment opportunity, or about to take a quiz on different varieties of mackerel. Two hours and thirteen courses have passed, and, like stepping off a roller coaster for the first time, you wonder if anyone will notice you’ve jumped the line to ride again.