Cherry Hills Sushi Co opened just over two years ago in Denver's poshest southern suburb, serving a style of sushi unique in the metro area. Made-to-order hand rolls (temaki) served one at a time to ensure that each bite is at its absolute freshest were (and still are) the main draw, along with sashimi and other creative bites from chef/owner Bradford Kim and his team. The intimate setting with only a handful of seats around the sushi bar and no additional tables made the place feel at once welcoming and exclusive, almost like you were a guest at a dinner party at Kim's home kitchen. The one drawback was the location — at least for residents of central Denver.
But Kim is solving that problem: He's opening a second eatery at 4900 East Colfax Avenue that will be called Park Hill Sushi Co and will bring the same menu to a new neighborhood later this summer. If the address looks familiar, it was the longtime home of Tante Louise that has since seen a series of occupants, most recently a third DJ's Cafe, before all three of those breakfast eateries dried up.
The sprawling building, actually two attached cottages, doesn't seem like a great space for a sushi bar, but Park Hill Sushi Co will take up only one side (another project is in the works for the other half). Kim says the new location will be only slightly larger than the first and will also serve a deep list of Japanese whisky, beer and sake.
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When the original sushi bar opened in January 2016, the decor was decidedly minimalist, with a bare counter constructed from lacquered plywood and only a few wooden circles arranged into a pattern mimicking the Rocky Mountain skyline as decoration. Since then, though, a member of Kim's staff has filled the walls with large paintings of Japanese beer labels. The owner says he's shooting for something similar in Park Hill, with a simple but homey atmosphere.
For those not familiar with temaki, it differs from standard sushi rolls in that the rice is served warm, the seafood cold and the nori wrapper crisp, offering the diner an explosion of flavors, textures and temperatures in a small package. The temaki are served one at a time to preserve that experience; you can order a series of rolls all at once, but your next roll isn't started until you've finished your last. Kim has also done away with the glass cases and stacks of dinnerware that adorn most sushi bars, giving you a more immediate connection with your sushi chef. Ingredients are kept below the counter, and rice is made in small batches at a central island.
While the menu is small, the experience is singular, allowing guests to concentrate on the food and drink without much distraction. But dinner is a surprisingly convivial event, with plenty of time for chatting with staff and fellow diners about the sake flights or chef's specials.
Look for Park Hill Sushi Co to open in late July or early August.