This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:
Sung Chung, a veteran chef whose 20-year career began in California and has locally included Asuka and Hayashi, has opened Kai Sushi & Sake Bar (7713 Lead Mine Road; 919-870-4923) in Greystone Village.
Chung has given the former Stella Mare space a complete makeover, transforming it from timeworn pizzeria into upscale-casual Japanese restaurant with an understated decor in earth tones.
The sushi offering covers all the bases, including a list of nearly 30 specialty rolls.
Sprinkled in among familiar names like Rainbow, Spider and Volcano, a handful of signature rolls inspired by raw fish traditions of other cultures set Kai’s list apart from the crowd. The Hawaiian Poke Tuna Roll, for instance, and the Peruvian Pearl - which gets a note of authenticity from a South American aji amarillo chile sauce.
Kai’s kitchen menu serves up a few surprises, too, among them a section dedicated to char-grilled robatayaki fare. Other alternatives to the usual tempura, teriyaki and bento routine include tuna hotpot, Korean bibimbap, and broiled-eel-and-grilled pineapple kabayaki.
The bar lives up to the restaurant’s second namesake specialty with a selection of half a dozen or so sakes, including at least one premium unfiltered bottling.
Kai Sushi & Sake Bar serves lunch Monday-Friday, and is open for dinner nightly.
The restaurant doesn’t have a website yet, but you can find it on Facebook.
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