Wasabi Sexy: Kinki Sushi

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A staple of the Ottawa dining scene, and a stand-out amongst the mostly lunchtime fare (or late-night nosh) in the Byward Market, Kinki Sushi has been serving up fresh, innovative Asian fusion for over 10 years now. To give you an idea of just how innovative, think of a deep-fried maki roll with salmon, tuna and shrimp served on… a live naked model.

Sex and the City fans may recall the episode where Samantha tries to seduce her live-in lover Smith by decorating her nip/tucked body with sushi rounds and sashimi. At Kinki, you have your choice of a male or female live naked model—laid out by the hour in one of their private party rooms—with the only difference being the thin bamboo leaf between the model’s body and your nibbles, which does double duty for hygiene and a serving plate. As with their fresh, sexy take on Japanese cuisine, Kinki tends to tempt their customers to go all the way, as they did for their 69 party last year, where they celebrated sister resto Mambo’s 6th anniversary along with Kinki’s 9th, by inviting Chippendale’s International male strippers to entertain a crowd of ribald ladies in a blow-out charity event hosted by the Champagne Sisters, an Ottawa drag duo. (All the proceeds of the event when to the Children’s Wish Foundation btw). It’s this combination of sexiness and soul that has given Kinki its staying power and vivacious reputation.

“At Kinki we think outside the box: we’re always changing while preserving the art of sushi,” explains the eatery’s events and promo sweetheart Claire Calderone. Owner Marisol Simoes has a no holds barred approach to food and entertainment: everything at sushi has a twist. Whether it’s the edamamé (steamed soy beans in pods) that are drizzled in chilli oil, or the catered parties where you can request Geisha servers, pole dancers, or naked models, Simoes and her team have a deliciously  irreverent take on a food tradition better known for quietude and Zen elegance. Much of the fusion in Kinki’s menu can be attributed to Mrs. Simoes’ fiery Spanish heritage and all-embracing approach to food and people, exemplified by one of their signature rolls: the Diablo. An original take on a California roll, it’s a jalapeño pepper stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in smoked salmon. Are you drooling yet? Although it also makes for good wordplay, Kinki is the name of a region in Japan known for its saké and countercultural joie-de-vivre.

You get the feeling talking to Kinki’s staff that they want you to feel complicit in something naughty, whether it’s their Rockabilly Burlesque parties, or merely the number of times they say the word “Champagne.” On that note, they must be the only sushi restaurant this side of the Pacific that has a ladies’ night (Thursday) that involves a table d’hôte of Champagne, sushi, and chocolate. And by that I mean: they serve sex in the form of Asian food.

“The best feedback we get from customers is that we really stand out, no matter what you’re looking for. People in Ottawa have really enjoyed and accepted us,” Calderone chimes endearingly. With a Thurs-Fri-Sun evening schedule of resident DJs, a permissive, enchanting staff, and a location that can’t be beat (the popular LGBT watering hole The Look-Out is right upstairs), Kinki Sushi has become a gay favourite in Ottawa and beyond.

Come and enjoy a taste of Kinki Sushi’s mouth-watering fare at the 2Bmag and Entre Elles launch for Capital Pride at Venus Envy (320 Lisgar St, Ottawa) Wednesday, August 24, 8-10pm! Featuring photo exhibit by Rah Illa and Nathan Hoo. The launch will celebrate the new revamped Entre Elles and give Pride-goers a chance to see what the mags (and Kinki) are made of.

Kinki Sushi
41 York St., Ottawa, K1N 5S7 613-789-7559

www.kinki.ca

Danniel Oickle + C.C. Trubiak, photographed at Kinki Sushi by Dan Ziemkiewicz