“Convenient” food: a bento box from KitzMo.
“Convenient” food: a bento box from KitzMo.

The Oxford English Dictionary notes the earliest written mention in English of sushi in an 1893 book, A Japanese Interior, where it mentions sushi as “a roll of cold rice with fish, sea-weed or some other flavoring.” However, there is also mention of sushi in a Japanese-English dictionary from 1873, and an 1879 article on Japanese cookery in the journal Notes and Queries.

A report of sushi being consumed in Britain occurred when the then Prince, now Emperor, Akihito visited Queen Elizabeth II during her Coronation in May 1953. In America in September 1953, Prince Akihito served sushi at a dinner at the Japanese Embassy in Washington. Two generations later, it’s one of the most popular dining preferences in the world.

KitzMo is the fusion of the streets Kietzke and Moana, currently under construction. KitzMo is near the southwest corner and open for business. The restaurant combines Japanese sushi and Korean cuisine, a fusion, with a flair. Owner Alicia Hilby brought master sushi chef Jason Kim—he’s Korean—in to create sushi, teriyaki and Bento dining. Kim has a history in Reno as a “start-up” chef and opened Wasabi and the Siena sushi bar, to mention two.

There is a sushi bar that seats 25 and table seating for another 90. Like Japanese food, Korean food is healthy and not oily. On the other hand, there are some differences between them. Korean food uses a lot of red pepper, so most Korean dishes are spicy.

It’s an all-you-can-eat menu with nigiri sushi ($2-$5), raw and cooked rolls ($4-$10), vegetarian rolls ($3-$7) and a kid’s menu ($5.95-$6.95), lunches $10 and dinner $15. The extensive menu also offers noodles ($8.95-$11.95), chicken and pork katsu ($12.95)—fried cutlet—and bento boxes ($12.95-$14.95). “Bento” originates from a Southern Song Dynasty slang term, meaning “convenient”—food served in a box. With the bento and katsu, diners get a California roll, salad, edamame, veggie tempura and miso soup.

So much to choose from. I wanted a little bit of everything and with my chopsticks at the ready, it was bonsai! A miso soup came first with tofu—simple and elegant. A spicy pork bento ($12.95) was next. The soup, edamame—steamed soy beans—a salad, and a sushi roll came in a red and black rectangular box.

The pork was a tenderloin, moist with a sweet-salty, savory flavor—ginger, soy sauce, some sesame oil—with nice heat from the hot bean sauce, used in Korean stir-fry. The salad had a creamy, sesame oil dressing that had a tasty savory, almost nutty flavor to compliment the pork.

Usually a California roll is served with the Bento, but I opted for a half a KitzMo roll ($10); Tempura shrimp, cucumber, kaiware (radish sprouts), seared tuna, avocado, cilantro and teriyaki. After dipping this in my soy sauce and wasabi, it was a dragon dance of flavors through my mouth: the crunch of the salty tempura, a hint of savory with the seared tuna, surrounded by creamy avocado and a dash of teriyaki sweet finished with cilantro and a bit of tart citrus.

And something I always order at sushi is upside-down shrimp with spicy crab atop ($4). It was a great mouthful, with just the right spice in the crab, the shrimp was fresh, and just the right amount of rice.

As a foodie, I think food is a gateway to know another culture—sayonara!

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