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Kushi Bar Muramoto

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby swoon_queen » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:46 am

I went to Kushi at least once a week. I'm rather surprised it's closing-- is the space turning into something else? I hope the delicious and imaginative cocktails migrate down the street to Sushi Muramoto.

Crockett, you should try Takumi over by the East Towne Mall, I think it fits your criteria. Although personally, I really don't know if I've had any raw fish that qualifies as 'great' in Madison. I guess living on the East Coast spoiled me and turned me into a sushi snob, but basically I'd like nigiri sushi that's not lukewarm and mushy. I had sushi last night from a restaurant that will remain unnamed on the West Side-- great service and good prices, but it really bugs me that the 4 pieces of sushi I got weren't firm and cold.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:28 am

swoon_queen wrote:Crockett, you should try Takumi over by the East Towne Mall, I think it fits your criteria.

+1 (and jeez Crockett, don't be such a grumpus! the skewers -- like 'em or not -- are/were totally legit at KBM.)
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby Crockett » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:47 am

I'll be honest, I thought the skewers were terrible. I only went once though. Perhaps it was an off night. But since they're closing my guess is that it was a regular night...
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby barney » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:28 am

Yes, I would third the recommendation for Takumi on the east side.
DH swears by the Chirashi (sp?), I usually order individual pieces a la carte. Never been disappointed.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby Petro » Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:42 am

swoon_queen wrote:Although personally, I really don't know if I've had any raw fish that qualifies as 'great' in Madison. I guess living on the East Coast spoiled me and turned me into a sushi snob, but basically I'd like nigiri sushi that's not lukewarm and mushy.


That's the thing that irks me about sushi in this town - it's just not that good. It's decent at best, but I've yet to have sushi anywhere here that's made me want to go back. An utter lack of off-menu specials, cookie-cutter preperations and an irritating laser-like focus on serving rolls above all else seems to permeate every location I've visited in town.

People are quick to point out that we aren't on a coast, but that's entirely irrelevant in our modern era of refrigerated jet shipment. Heck - the Park Hyatt in Chicago has a seafood buyer in Tokyo for the sushi served at the bar at NoMI.

My needs aren't great - I generally want hunks of unadorned, pristine fish and some sake to go along with it. I've been left utterly underwhelmed every time thus far.

I'll hug the first sushi chef that doesn't give me a glazed look when I ask if they've got any specials. Heck, I'll put 'em in my will if they can serve me some friggin' otoro.

Madison does a lot of things right, but I generally head home and hit up Katsu if I want sushi. I've just had too many disappointing experiences.

Katu's sashimi -

Image
click to enlarge

Katu's nigiri platter -

Image

Is there anywhere that I might find something like that here?
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:28 pm

More on Kushi Bar's closure:

I spoke with general manager Chad Vogel, and he doesn't seem to put much stock in the standard "another victim of the economy" excuse. He says, 'I think it had more to do with the lack of people even knowing that we existed. We have [no] sign and very little advertisement."

Natt Spil is doing okay with that format, but for Kushi Bar, Vogel sees another hurdle to overcome. "When your average Wisconsinite thinks about Japanese food they [automatically] associate that with sushi, which we do not serve." I'm not sure any city short of large, Pacific coastal cities really support a food culture that would generally recognize izekaya on-sight, and appreciate it for what it is. I don't think Wisconsin, or even the Midwest, really has anything to do with it.

20 more people per day would likely have done the trick, Vogel estimates. There was informal, internal talk of closing back in May, but as far as the official decision goes, he was notified on Monday of last week.

I haven't checked, but I assume that Shinji Muramoto owns the KBM space, since he appears to be ready to replace Kushi Bar with another venture. It will be unrelated to the Kushi Bar concept, however, and there are no plans to incorporate any Kushi Bar items into the menus at Sushi Muramoto and Restaurant Muramoto.

I definitely want to get there at least once more before they close. I really dig the atmosphere, and the menu was fun and promising if not consistently great.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby kulgar » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:13 pm

I'm certain that the Shiavo family owns the building that houses KBM and Cafe Continental. If you look from across the street, it certainly looks like one building.

I don't think its unusual downtown to not own the building your restaurant occupies. It takes quite a bit of success with a restaurant to get to the point where you can afford the down payment and a bank will trust you to make the payments.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:10 pm

kulgar wrote:I'm certain that the Shiavo family owns the building that houses KBM and Cafe Continental.

I just looked it up at the Madison city assessor site. You are correct.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:44 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
kulgar wrote:I'm certain that the Shiavo family owns the building that houses KBM and Cafe Continental.

I just looked it up at the Madison city assessor site. You are correct.

That being the case, it's telling (and maybe a little surprising) that they're giving Muramoto the ball once again.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby pds » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:57 pm

It's possible that he has a lease that is still in effect. Many times leases require personal guarantees in addition to the business being on the hook for the lease. If I was still going to be on the hook for the rent, I'd want to revamp my concept and give it another try. He could also have been responsible for the costs of building out the interior. That's more cash that it would be hard to walk away from. That's all conjecture, and I wish him well.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:09 pm

Agreed. Restaurant Muramoto is the site of possibly the best meal I've had in Madison, and like I said, I was a fan of Kushi Bar even if I was delinquent in the attendant responsibilities of spending money there frequently.
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Re: Kushi Bar Muramoto

Postby LargeMarge » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:17 pm

I think he should try a Japanese noodle restaurant. There are so many Japanese noodle dishes.
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