But neighbors soon caught on, enjoying the personalized attention that comes with temaki (hand-roll) sushi service, where each piece is presented one at a time in sequence. With only twenty seats, Cherry Hills Sushi Co. felt like an intimate dinner party, with sake and Japanese beer and whiskey flowing between each hand roll filled with blue crab, spicy tuna or lobster.
While the new outpost, at 32 seats, is a little bigger than the original, Kim says it's still small enough to provide guests with the kind of service he prefers. "I like to find locations that are less congested, more neighborhood-y," he explains. "We don't like it to be overcrowded; we want our staff to pay attention to every customer."
Like the other two locations, all of the seating here is around a central bar. With no clutter or glass cases on the bar top, guests have a clear view of the entire space, and the sushi rollers can make eye contact with their customers. The menu is small, though it's grown a little in the past three years. There are ten hand rolls (seven standard and three "special"), along with six sashimi options and a mochi ice cream flight for dessert. You can order hand rolls in sets of three, four or five, add premium wasabi (made from the real root, not horseradish powder) for $1.75, or choose a chirashi bowl if you'd prefer your seafood layered over rice.
Beyond the sushi, the big draw at Berkeley Park Sushi Co. is the impressive roster of Japanese booze, with twenty sake labels available by the glass or in flights ranging from $13 to $30; a connoisseur's selection of Japanese and Taiwanese whisky, and what Kim says is the longest list of Japanese craft beers in the city. Indeed, the choices number more than twenty, from the familiar Orion to the rare Japanese Ale Sansho, subtly flavored with the same tingly, peppery spice that makes Sichuan cuisine so addictive.
Kim notes that his goal is to target locations off the beaten path for his sushi bars. "When I opened the first one, I made it scalable so I could drop it into different neighborhoods," he says, adding that he'd like to open two or three more in metro Denver before looking to other cities and beyond Colorado.
Berkeley Park Sushi Co. is now open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Cherry Hills location also serves lunch, and Kim plans to add lunch here, too, if there's enough demand from the neighborhood. Call 720-379-5261 or visit the restaurant's website for more details.