Since its opening last year, Kemuri remains a favorite among Japanese food enthusiasts looking for an exception eating experience in Little Rock. When Kemuri hit the scene, it quickly became the standard around town for high quality sushi, robata, and other authentic Japanese eats. Today the kitchen is run by Chef Ricardo Ricon in conjunction with sushi chef, Haidar Assegaf. And while there’s been a few changes in the staff since Kemuri’s beginnings, its food is every bit as good today as it was when it first opened.
Kemuri took a stab at lunch service several months ago, but due to some staffing issues and other setbacks, they decided to stop offering lunch for a while. But now, lunch is back and there’s plenty of good reasons to sneak back in there on your lunch break and find out what’s fresh on Kemuri’s menu. We had a chance to sit down and sample some of the new bites this popular restaurant is currently putting out…and we’re happy to report there’s a lot to love here at lunchtime.
Check out their assortment of interesting taco plates. Each taco offers a slight deviation from what you might expect from a traditional Mexican taqueria, providing flavors consistent with Kemuri’s Asian-fusion attitude so prevalent in many of their other plates. The crispy snapper tacos are a star here, with citrus salsa, yuzu aioli, and sriracha. And the lamb tacos are also sure to be another crowd pleaser, constructed with pickled onion, scallions, parmesan, and anti-cucho sauce.
We got a nibble of a few of their steamed bun sliders. These are seemingly a hybrid of the traditional steamed rice buns and an American-style slider. We sunk our teeth gladly into the prime beef sliders…ground beef patties, slathered in truffle aioli, shiitake mushrooms, and onions. Next time, I imagine the char sou pork will need to happen, too. The steamed bun added a bit more interest than the standard burger bun, providing a bit more chew and a unique flavor profile.
From the entrees section, the bibimbap will likely be a fan favorite. With Korean options so severely deficient in this town, I applaud any restaurant making an effort to provide us with these options. The bibimbap is a bowl of coconut rice with a smattering of toppings meant to be mixed around and swirled together into one homogenous eating experience. You’ll find a fried egg, diced chicken, mushrooms, kimchi, carrots, squash, cilantro, and a chili garlic sauce laying over the top of your bowl. If you’ve never had bibimbap, this is a respectable way to introduce yourself to the dish.
Their chicken miso ramen is another reliable option. We’ve seen a few more ramen options open up around town recently, but trust Kemuri to get it right. They use roasted chicken, sweet corn, nori, slow cooked egg, jalapeño, thai basil, sprouts, and scallions in their bowls. It’s a whole host of ingredients that play together quite nicely in the end, making for a completely slurpable experience.
We gladly welcome back lunch service to this exceptional Hillcrest establishment. Check out the full menu below and be sure to get away from the grind of work sometime soon and settle into a seat at one of the cities best restaurants for lunch.
Lunch is running Monday thru Friday from 11 am to 2 pm.