Kamehachi

Fish Tank

An Underground Sushi Lair in Old Town

34a92e14899fb5e894956f0f71713037d0b6b7406 PhotosKamehachi
You can feel it. A nip here. A chill there. It’s unmistakable: winter is nigh.

There’s only one thing to do: buy a really good coat. And then head right for a toasty underground sushi cave...

Presenting Kamehachi, an Old Town grotto loaded up with sashimi and barrel-aged sake, opening Saturday.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because these guys helped introduce the city to sushi back in 1967. These days, their new place looks like a sexy Kyoto market—calligraphy on the walls, sake barrels hanging from the ceiling, sushi chefs laying out raw fish on chilled river stones.

There are enough options to keep you busy until the spring thaw. The back dining room: cozy. Good for working out Christmas bonuses over platters of Tasmanian salmon.

The upstairs lounge: like a serene riverbed—birch branches, planters full of pebbles, a waterscape triple-etched on glass panels. The perfect spot to get to know your date over Strawberry Jalapeño Mojitos while nibbling nigiri from the rolling sushi cart. (Which reminds us: there’s a sushi cart.)

But you’ve got eyes for the tatami room, a tiny, shoji-screened rectangle of low-rise benches just big enough for you and five friends. There, the taru sake (aged in a charred bourbon cask) will be flowing, and karaoke will undoubtedly be on the way.

Sake always prepares your singing voice beautifully.

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