Last week I dropped by the new Japon space (right next door to the old Japon space), sat down in the hip, bright, dining room, ordered up a nice, cold plate of chirashi sashimi (assorted raw sea creatures over ginger and rice)...and couldn't finish it. The components were all top-shelf -- the tuna beautiful, rich and purple, the salmon fresh, the octopus a charmingly muscular specimen, the white fish so delicate it almost melted on my tongue -- but everything was cut so thick that all the flavors were changed. The salmon was sliced into solid cubes, the tuna into fat planks, and though the portions were generous (about double the heft of the sushi and sashimi I'm accustomed to), just a little extra weight, a little extra thickness, was enough to change these raw, artistic delicacies into little more than cold, chunky fish parts. Fortunately, the rest of my dinner had all the details down just right, proving that owner Miki Hashimoto and his crew can do good work in their new space. I had a wonderful bowl of salty, cloudy miso soup, an order of gorgeous toro sliced just right, and some tasty yakitori. Japon has always had one of the most comfortable sushi bars in town, and even at three times its former size, it's a great place to sit and hang for a night, through thick and (preferably) thin. But a word of advice: Unless you know what you're getting yourself into, skip the chirashi and go with the à la carte offerings.


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