Bushido Hires New Izakaya Chef with Sustainability Focus

Executive Chef Isamu Kanai brings sustainable approach to the Silicon Valley seafood scene.

People refer to it as Japanses tapas, but it's in a league of its own.

, at 156 Castro St. in downtown Mountain View, does serve up some typical Japanese fare—like sushi—but the restaurant wants to standout for it's izakaya dining, where friends gather for casual dining to eat, drink and be merry when out enjoying the town.

In attempt to enhance this style of Japanese dining and it's cuisine, Bushido announced this week that it's hired Executive Chef Isamu Kanai. Kanai, specializes in sustainable Asian food and he hopes to bring this awareness to Silicon Valley.

Prior to the Bay Area, Kanai trained in the izakaya style for four years in the Tokya area. Then he polished his chops at Blowfish Sushi in San Francisco where he worked for six year and at Ki Izakaya and Sustainable Sushi.

His creations have been showcased at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's annual "Cooking for Solutions" and he has spoken about the importance of sustainable seafood and what chefs can do to protect our oceans at the California Academy of Sciences. 

"I envision a menu for Bushido that is at once casual, yet in in harmony with the seasons, the environment, and the palate," said Chef Isamu. "Izakayas should be fun places, not stiff and formal. Towards that end, I’ll be refining the dinner options so that diners can enjoy an array of small plates including grilled, braised, yakitori and fried items that pair well with our full bar menu and  are satisfying for one or perfect to share."

As part of Isamu's arrival, Bushido will revamp some of the izakaya dishes already on the menu including, Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake served on sizzling platter with a choice of Mixed Seafood, Bulgogi Beef or Bacon Mochi and more than a dozen Yakitori Skewers with a choice of of two house dipping sauces.

As for sushi, sashimi, a new selection of lunchtime bento boxes and other traditional dishes will be added.

"My approach is not to offer a wide array; so much as a tight one that simultaneously pays homage to traditional roots while being in line with contemporary area tastes," Isamu said.


But izakaya cuisine if not just about taste; it's also a work of art according to owner Steven Yen.

"Isamu is hoping to preserve the art of izakaya and sushi for future generations," Yen said. "His cuisine evokes the deep flavors of our home country with and an awareness of today’s environmental concerns which we believe Silicon Valley diners appreciate.”


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lillian hinchcliff August 16, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Enjoyed this profile highlighting a local business and its new stellar chef acquisition.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Sounds delicious too! I'm already a fan of "tapas," so this is right up my alley!
Jeffrey Bottaro August 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM
The juxtaposition of the words 'sustainable' and 'seafood' conjure horror-images of 'virtual seafood' rendered digitally, as a capitulation to ecological harmony.


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