Quick Facts: Kuni’s is traditional Sushi restaurant located near the Elmwood Village on Lexington Ave. After running a sushi shop on Elmwood Ave and essentially introduced Buffalo to proper Japanese Sushi, Kuni Sato opened “Kuni’s to Go” on Lexington. In 2009, he expanded his location to house proper seating and a bar. The restaurant offers some of the most unique fish around and their Sake and Japanese beer selection is very impressive. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and their prices range from $5 rolls to $32 large combos.
Our Meal: It’s embarrassing to say this, but it took us over six years to finally visit Kuni’s. Last week we met my brother and his girlfriend for an impromptu Friday night dinner at this popular Sushi restaurant. Kuni’s doesn’t accept reservations and they have a very small dining room, so plan on arriving early for dinner or kill time next door having a cocktail at Vera Pizzeria. We lucked out and grabbed the only table available when we showed up around 7pm. We decided to order a variety of dishes, from cooked items to sushi rolls. Alli ordered her favorite roll, Spicy Tuna, and was very satisfied by the quality of tuna and the balance of spicy sauce. The Spicy Salmon Tartar special for that day really stood out, a finely chopped pile of flavorful and fresh Salmon topped with some avocado and spicy sauce.
We decided to order one of their more adventurous specials that day and tried the Ankimo, steamed monk fish liver pate. It was incredibly creamy and delicious, the liver had just the right amount of funk and the sweet soy sauce offset it perfectly. Because we can’t turn down dumplings, we also ordered the pork filled Wasabi Shumai. They were filled with juicy, tender pork but some bites had a strong wasabi punch while others were quite mild. Their fried chicken was incredibly crispy on the outside but the chicken was a bit dry and bland, the ginger sake soy sauce really added some needed flavor. The best dish that we had was easily the Uzaku, grilled eel with cucumber and seaweed. The light soy sauce was just strong enough to add flavor to the dish without being over powering and the eel was delicious and tender.
Summary: If you are looking for legit Sushi in Western New York, Kuni’s is really one of the only game in town. Unlike other sushi restaurants, their menu is filled with authentic Japanese sushi (no crunchy rolls here). The restaurant is small and intimate but can also get a little too crowded, during peak hours we felt like we were sitting on top of other diners. Not every dish was perfect but if you’re looking to have a more upscale sushi experience and enjoy trying new things, Kuni’s is a must.