clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kenzo Brings Japan to Napa While Channeling the Spirit of Margrit Mondavi

It's intended to be the most authentically Japanese restaurant in America

Kenzo opens today on a quiet corner in Napa, debuting a three-Michelin-starred Japanese chef and the first U.S. restaurant from Capcom founder and owner of Kenzo Estates winery Kenzo Tsujimoto. The restaurant, which has been in the works for three years, offers a fixed price menu of sushi and kaiseki clocking in at $225 per person (in full below).

Though the price tag immediately sets high expectations, diners should take solace in the fact that it's led by pedigreed chef Hiroyuki Kanda, who has earned three Michelin stars at his eponymous restaurant in Japan for the past nine years; he came from Japan specifically to oversee this project in the opening months, and will train chefs in Japan to lead the kitchen. Many of the restaurant's servers relocated to Napa from Kanda in Tokyo for the opening. Fish is flown in from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, while even the leaves used for garnish on many of this dishes are from Japan. Naturally, wines are from Tsujimoto's Napa winery, Kenzo Estate, and will accompany a sake menu.

The restaurant, which has 27 seats, was designed by Natsuko Tsujimoto, Kenzo's wife and creative director of the couple's other restaurants in Japan. Every component, from the tables and chairs to the dishes and glassware, was sourced from Japan and sent over in shipping containers. A ten-seat sushi counter and private room are also featured in the sleek space.

Tsujimoto says that while the restaurant is a business venture and must make money, the real reason for opening it in Napa was to share authentic Japanese cuisine and hospitality with diners. The opening does double duty as a tribute to Margrit Mondavi, the Napa Valley matriarch who recently passed away, and a dear friend of Tsujimoto. She was a frequent visitor to Tsujimoto's restaurants in Japan, and specially requested that he bring the same experience to Napa; unfortunately delays with the city kept her from seeing the restaurant open.

Kenzo is open Tuesday through Sunday from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.; reservations available here.

Kenzo

1339 Pearl Street, , CA 94559 (707) 294-2049 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Francisco newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world