A display of Japanese sushi on a wooden table.
James Tran

Guests at Kinme Omakase will sit at a central table, allowing for an immersive experience as they watch the chefs create each dish.

Kinme Omakase Brings Japanese Dining Tradition to San Diego

Kinme Omakase is one of San Diego’s most unique and anticipated openings of the year—an immersive Japanese dining experience from Shihomi Borillo and Chef Nao Ichimura of Azuki Sushi. With just ten seats, Kinme is slated to open on Wednesday, March 15.

With decades of experience and the success of multiple restaurants under their belts, owners Shihomi Borillo and long time mentor, business partner and Executive Chef Nao Ichimura, wanted to create something that pays homage to centuries old Japanese dining traditions. The idea for Kinme Omakase is derived from a progressive approach executed from a deep history of Kaiseki and Edomae style sushi. These two Japanese historical culinary concepts are brought together by combining seasonal ingredients and premium fish selections directly from world renown Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, as well as local purveyors within a 90 mile radius. 

Kinme’s monthly tasting menu is based on a close attention to detail to execute a course by course experience that discovers Japan’s prominent culture. It all starts with an ingredient. Executive Sushi Chef Nao Ichimura meticulously prepares the day’s catch from hand selected fish. Chef de Cuisine Kevin Alvarado pays homage to seasonality by implementing his classic French training and his knowledge of San Diego’s rich selection of produce as the foundation of expressing the season’s highlighted flavors. To accompany the cuisine, Kinme boasts a fine selection of vintage burgundy wines, exclusively allocated sakes, as well as a highly curated selection of vintage wines, exclusive sakes and Japanese whiskeys. 

Differentiating itself from other omakase concepts, Kinme draws from the Kasieki sequence to create a thoughtfully curated multi-course experience. Evolving with the seasons, Kinme’s first ten course menu for spring begins with Sakizuke, a selection of starters, the first of which will be Fat Bastard Oyster with white sturgeon caviar and blood orange pearls. Each following course highlights different techniques and methods of preparation including Nimono, a simmered course, Mukozuke, a chef’s choice sashimi course, Hassun, a dish conveying an expression of the season featuring a Chawanmushi made with free range egg, morel mushroom and Dungeness crab ankake, followed by Hanmono, a rice course featuring Edomae-style nigiri sushi, Wan-mono, a soup course, and Yakimono, a grilled course. The meal culminates with Kashi, a dessert course, and a traditional Matcha tea service. The ten course meal is priced at $175 per person.

With just ten seats, secured only by reservations released at the beginning of each month, a meal at Kinme is sure to be a sought after experience. The inspiration for the restaurant’s architecture comes from the matcha tea ceremony itself; the 900 square foot space is designed to eliminate distractions, allowing for a meditative environment in which guests can focus on the process of the dish preparation and the intricacies of the cuisine. Drawing from the wabi sabi aesthetic, the space is simple and earthy, with wood and stone elements throughout and an impressive marble wall serving as the focal point. Place settings feature handmade pottery and custom tea bowls sourced from the owners’ travels to Japan. Guests sit at a central table, allowing for an immersive experience as they watch the chefs create each dish. 

A passion project for its owners, Kinme Omakase embraces the spirit derived from Shihomi and Nao’s first San Diego restaurant, Azuki Sushi. Referencing the ethos of renowned sushi master Jiro Ono, Shihomi and Chef Ichimura share the philosophy that there is always something original that can be brought to the centuries old cuisine, constantly looking for ways to invent and improve. Careful selection of seasonal components, traditional cooking techniques, as well as new and creative methods define each course as they tell a story of Japan’s bountiful culinary history. The duo challenges each other in the culinary world and in life, spending weekends surfing together in La Jolla yet butting heads like siblings, all the while sharing Kinme’s mission to provide the next level of dining experience in San Diego. 

Located in Bankers Hill at 2505 5th Avenue, the restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday, with two seatings per night at 5pm and 8pm.

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