Located between Recoleta and Palermo, Kokoro Sushi is an ideal spot for a relaxing evening out with a couple of friends, family or your lover. The Peruvian-Japanese fusion strikes a familiar tone in comparison to one of London’s best restaurants: Sushi Samba. The sky-high, swanky vibes can’t compare but the cuisine certainly can.
It’s that restaurant that you walk past almost every day and never thought anything of because from the outside it isn’t quite as trendy looking as Olsen or as buena onda oozing as Las Cabras, but it’s worth paying the little black eatery a visit.
The restaurant’s menu boasts a vast selection of foods. So many that choosing can prove to be a difficult task. There are “geishas”, tulips (rice bases with flower shaped slices of raw fish), temaki, hot rolls, maki, ceviche, sashimi, nigiri, gyoza, black rice, yakimeshi and more.
Zen is immediate. The deco is minimalistic: black, white and red. Focus is placed where it belongs – on the food. It’s a sushi restaurant after all, not an izakaya (sorry aficionados, there are no Japanese beers but they do have sake). Some cherry blossom, a Japanese sword, a giant origami and a vase suffice. The lights are dim and the jazz lounge beats play just loud enough to set the scene.
While you browse the copious menu your first contact with the cuisine is a sun-dried tomato and salmon mouthful placed on a bed of cream. The soft yet crunchy and slightly spicy combo kick starts the culinary experience pretty well; as does the accompanying shot of homemade ginger lemonade to open up the palate.
The selection is huge and I can’t speak for every single item on the menu but what I did try I very much could have had more of. The fish was on point, both raw and cooked. The sauces and salads were all customized perfectly to the staple of the dish, be it salmon, octopus or white fish. The presentations were each more beautiful than the other and the textures were incredibly satisfying, always tender (the fish), perfectly sticky (the rice) and sometimes crunchy (deep fried breaded sushi, yes. More on those later).
Out of the incredibly aesthetically pleasing selection of six dishes, three were outstanding.
First came the seafood “Mar y Fuego” dish (on the feature photo) which quite frankly blew my mind, from a standpoint of both the visuals and taste. My plate was literally on fire, except for once it wasn’t a cognac infused dessert at the end of the meal. The oh so tender, slightly spicy yet buttery and lemony mix of fish and shells set the bar very high.
The second highlight was the breaded sushi. To be honest all the ones I tried were pretty damn tasty but the best ones were breaded. More precisely they were filled with salmon, avocado, shiso, spices, cream and accompanied by a teriyaki sauce. So the chef, Damián Shiizu, tells me, these are fried in such a way or with such a breadcrumb that doesn’t absorb as much oil as milanesas. So go ahead and order double. While I wouldn’t normally go for the phili-filled sushi, here, the softness of the cream cheese worked wonderfully with the crispness of the outside.
The last position of my top three is awarded to the white fish sashimi. As with the other dishes, this little plate was served looking like a work of art. The flower shaped fish slices were lined with a creamy aji amarillo purée, parsley and salty grilled corn for added texture; all topped with a squeeze of lemon.
(We said three, not four, but the pulpo AKA octopus — let’s stick to pulpo before psychology takes over taste — is also worth the courage.)
Too full on fish to order dessert, curiosity still had me eyeing up the dulces and ladies and gentlemen here’s the deal: passion fruit cheesecake, brownie with ice cream, suspiro limeño or — the ultimate option — a combination of all three.
Final take away – The flavors are innovative and the sauces compliment these perfectly. The rice is sticky and the fish is fresh. Plus, unlike ninety percent of Argentine customer service experiences you’ll have, Kokoro’s staff are legitimately attentive to their customers’ needs. You won’t need to order your bill at the same time as your starters. In terms of the onda its brand of no fuss zen lets you focus on the food – which is enough to be wowed by. It is not the place to be ordering ten shots of sake before a heavy night of boliche-ing. If that’s what you’re going for though do go ahead and get a Kokoro Sushi Delivery with your wild previa. Because yes, they still deliver.
On a weekday, get there for 9.30PM, just as it fills up with customers ranging from their early twenties to trendy middle aged couples yearning to revive their romantic flame with an evening of aphrodisiacs.