Taste, Culture, Sushi Kato
Managed by the operators of a long-established fishery, Sushi Kato arrives on the Niseko dining scene in style.
Sushi Kato has arrived in Niseko, on Yotei-zaka only a short walk downhill from the Hirafu intersection. The team behind this new restaurant are well-known in the world of seafood, having operated a fish export business in Hokkaido for over 50 years.
When it comes to fresh and delicious Hokkaido crab, there are few businesses more credible. Knowing this, it's a given that the food will be good, but the atmosphere and architecture they've created inside the restaurant is, surprisingly, just as impressive.
When entering the restaurant, you find yourself in BAR KATO, a lounge style bar with a calm atmosphere, the ideal space should you have to wait for your table. With a round window looking out onto an open porch and a sake-lined shelf, it would be easy enough to spend the whole night here!
Japanese and international whiskeys are aplenty, with a range of precious, hard-to-get bottles and knowledgable sommeliers on hand to talk you through what's available.
Open the door from the bar to the restaurant and an arched passage that resembles the entrance to a tea room faces you. As if going through a secret tunnel, welcome to the world of Sushi Kato.
Now it's time to indulge!
The restaurant counter is manned by veteran sushi chefs who have been preparing Japanese food for more than 40 years. Their showcase dishes are made from freshly caught crab and seafood such as kinki fish and sea urchin, caught last night and transported directly to the restaurant this morning. The beauty of the interior design, even now with a full plate of food grasping our attention, remains ever-present. Square embellishments surround each light bulb and ranma-panels adorn the walls. From the large window at the back of the counter, you can enjoy views of the tranquil, snowy landscape.
Three set menus are available, named pine, bamboo and plum. We tried the plum.
A beautifully golden dashi broth soup is the first dish to arrive and is gentle and tender. This same broth is used throughout the set.
Sea urchin, hairy crab, fresh flounder and large fatty-tuna sashimi from the famous coastal waters of Iwanai follow. Then simmered kinki fish and assorted tempura rounds out the seafood course.
Next it's Shiraoi beef steak as the chefs show their versatility alongside exquisitely composed sushi using fresh Hokkaido ingredients and local rice. The dessert is quintessentially Japanese and served with make-your-own Matcha tea.
All-in-all, Sushi Kato brings authenticity to the Niseko dining scene, a restaurant not just for Western tourists, but a genuine, and good, Japanese restaurant for Japanese people to enjoy too.
Sushi Kato is open year-round.
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