In our Lunching in Little Rock blog series, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the best restaurants in Little Rock and its surrounding area – all in time to get back to the office. This week, Michael ate lunch at Kemuri.

Food from Kemuri, as seen in AY's Lunching in Little Rock.

The Wasabi Tuna Poke bowl and Shrimp Bento Box at Kemuri.

Sometimes new experiences leave you questioning life choices. I am fiercely brand loyal and it takes a lot for me to try something new after I have pledged loyalty. Additionally, if I am against it, it might as well not exist. Fanta, the sugary fruit-flavored drink, is not allowed in my household. It’s a long story, but I will tell you if you ask. My wife and I like one particular sushi restaurant in town and rarely venture away, but today I stumbled on a new contender. Kemuri on Kavanaugh, which won me over with service, style and, of course, flavor.
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My sister, Rebecca, has been trying to get me to go there for months. Finally, my wife and I decided to meet there, as she needed to run a nearby errand. The restaurant itself is very stylish with its glowing white glass bar. As soon as I saw the bar and the master sushi chefs behind it, I knew where I wanted to sit. I waited on Leigh, chatted with the chefs and they gave me an incredible teaser appetizer. It was an avocado slice, topped with crab salad, crawfish and spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce. It was so good I had a hard time saving some for Leigh. Leigh arrived and we perused the extensive lunch menu. She decided on the Wasabi Tuna Poke bowl and I ordered the Shrimp Bento Box. I know it’s not very adventurous, but I am a sucker for fried rice and miso soup. My box was good, but Leigh outdid me with her bowl. It was huge and all the fish and crab looked amazing. She was told it had just a hint of spice and she said it was perfect.
The real show stopper was something we only saw: Smoked Hamachi. It’s an appetizer on the sushi menu. I won’t tell ruin the surprise and tell you more, but it’s impressive.
Kemuri Japanese Restaurant was a great surprise and I can’t wait to go back. I will still be loyal to my other sushi restaurant, but Kemuri has won a piece of my heart. Go visit them this week and let them surprise you.
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