FEED ME! It’s good to be King Sushi

By on October 14, 2014
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If you’re looking to get as full as possible while spending the least amount of money, King Sushi’s noodle bowls ($15 to $24) are your best bet. The miso is house-made, of course. The Wagyu beef bowl is a favorite.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Finally! Jackson Hole has a sushi restaurant that feels “Jackson” … at least as “Jackson” as any restaurant serving raw fish more than 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean can feel.

Nikai and Sudachi are near the top of my list of favorite valley restaurants, but while both sushi spots are in this valley, they don’t feel of this valley. Even before you push open King Sushi’s front door, you know it’s 100 percent of the valley. After all, the log cabin it’s in, formerly Shades Café, was once a blacksmith shop.

King Sushi doesn’t just deliver with a log cabin vibe, though. Not even the coziest space can redeem sucky sashimi, but there’s no worry about suffering through suck at King Sushi. From sashimi to a green apple, avocado, Hamachi and smoked salt roll (the Juju, $15), noodles ($15 to $24), nigiri and even a scallop shooter, the food is divine. As are the two house cocktails, the Kyuri Blanco (a Japanese take on a margarita) and the Tokyo Sour ($10 each).

There was an octopus dish I wasn’t totally in love with, but that speaks more to a funny feeling the texture of octopus gives me deep inside than the quality or preparation of it.

Executive chef and co-owner Jason King formerly spun sushi at Mizu and Sudachi. His work at King Sushi — the name is a play on both the restaurant’s location on King Street and his last name — obviously channels both of those places. But King isn’t just recreating those restaurants. Dishes like his scallop shooter, my favorite of the eight-or-so items I tried, have a playfulness to them I never got at Mizu and have yet to feel at Sudachi. Sudachi is more sexy than playful to me.

And yes, I called a scallop shooter a “dish.” Like King Sushi co-owner and general manager Kaylan Fullerton, I usually don’t like to drink my seafood. I love, love, love oysters. Oyster shooters? A grotesquely tragic waste of an exquisite mollusk.

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The Juju roll honors (and is named after) a former co-worker of King Sushi chef and co-owner Jason King. PHOTO CREDIT: GERALDINE MISHEV

The scallop shooter ($7) arrived and I was already bemoaning that a scallop gave up its life to be so ignominiously slurped down by me. I slowly twirled my chopsticks around the shot glass, blending together the uzura (raw quail egg), negi, tobiko and ponzu, while silently sending out a prayer asking forgiveness of Poseidon.

The glass came up to my lips, my mouth opened, my head fell back, and the contents of the shot fell onto my tongue. If Iron Man (as played by Robert Downey Jr.) mated with all the joy in the world, the resulting offspring would be King Sushi’s scallop shooter. Blissful, and also very kick-ass.
Unlike every other seafood shooter I’ve had in my life, this one is food, not drink. There’s complexity and depth in the taste and multiple textures.
And to think I was saddened when I first heard it was another sushi restaurant going into the old Shades space. I had thought this valley had reached sushi saturation and couldn’t imagine a new one bringing anything fresh. If only being wrong was always this tasty.

If King Sushi’s dinner menu is out of your price range — a meal for two with drinks would probably start at $80 and could approach $150 — consider their daily happy hour from 4:30 to 6 pm. Handrolls are $3 and a special poke or sashimi is $10 to $12. Beer, hot sake, wine and well drinks are half off.

King Sushi, 75 S. King St., open daily except Monday from 4:30 to 10 p.m., reservations not taken, 307-264-1630, www.kingsushijh.com

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