An alum of the Thomas Keller Group and one of Sacramento’s longtime chefs have joined forces for an upcoming Japanese restaurant.
Aji Japanese Bistro is set to open in the first week of December in El Dorado Hills’ Town Center (4361 Town Center Blvd.), which is also the home to Selland’s Market Cafe and Bistro 33.
Co-owner Nick Dedier is the former general manager of Ad Hoc in Yountville, the family-styled restaurant overseen by Keller which features one prix fixe menu per night. Dedier is also a former Elk Grove resident, who previously served as a maitre d’ at Las Vegas’ Daniel Boulud Brasserie and manager at Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, among other stints.
But Dedier received his first restaurant server work at Sumo Sushi in Elk Grove by chef/owner Russell Okubo, who is now partnering with Dedier on Aji Japanese Bistro. Okubo also served previously as chef at The Firehouse and Fat’s Family Restaurants, along with opening a string of eateries around the Sacramento area.
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Aji Japanese Bistro will focus on a variety of Japanese foods and beyond, including sashimi, ramen, katsu chicken sandwiches, Asian-styled sliders and more.
“We’re not building a Japanese or sushi restaurant,” said Dedier. “It’s a fun bistro that serves Japanese food.”
But what diners won’t find are umpteem varieties of saucy sushi rolls, which seem to define much of the “Japanese” eating experience around Sacramento. Prepare instead for more of a streamlined approach to its sushi offerings.
“Every Japanese restaurant in the area has a four-page sushi menu with the same eight ingredients combined in different ways, and then baked or broiled,” said Dedier. “I took a page from my previous employer and kept it simple: 12 classic rolls and six designer rolls, each with different ingredients. There will be no sauces on top of the roll. We’re not going to drown everything in garlic-miso, Sriracha and mayo.”
The exact opening date of Aji has yet to be determined, so we’ll keep you posted on that.