A soft opening for the East Sacramento location of Kru was held on Oct. 9, 2016. Chris Macias
A soft opening for the East Sacramento location of Kru was held on Oct. 9, 2016. Chris Macias

Appetizers

Dishing the news about the Sacramento area food scene

Appetizers

Three things to know before the opening of the new Kru restaurant in East Sacramento

By Chris Macias

cmacias@sacbee.com

October 10, 2016 11:23 AM

The new location of Kru in East Sacramento was in soft opening mode from 6-8 p.m. Sunday night, a much anticipated event that attracted a who’s who of the local restaurant industry.

Proprietor Billy Ngo is known as a true chef’s chef, the person even the most jaded food professionals seek when it’s time to savor an exceptional meal, which in the case of Kru is impeccably prepared sushi and other Japanese inspired dishes.

Among those snacking on hand rolls and bites of taro tonkatsu on Sunday night: Ian and N’Gina Kavookjian (South), Adam Pechal (Murieta Inn & Spa), Jim Mills (Produce Express), Simon de Vere (de Vere’s Irish Pub), Ravin Patel (Selland Family Restaurants), Mason Wong (Cafeteria 15L, Iron Horse Tavern) and others.

Now sharing a building with Randall Selland’s OBO’, Kru formerly was located at 25th and J streets in midtown Sacramento. On Sunday, Ngo, sporting a short haircut for the first time in years, worked the room to greet guests and answer questions. Here are three key things we learned about the new Kru from the event:

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1. Kru’s targeted opening date is Nov. 1

Ngo said some work on the restaurant is yet to be done, but if all goes to plan, the restaurant will open to the general public at the beginning of November. On Sunday, the kitchen was operating in a limited mode, with chef de cuisine Tyler Bond and others crafting the pass-around appetizers. In terms of soft openings, this was about as plush as it gets since the opening is still about three weeks away. But enough of the interior is done to start showing off the space and building a buzz. Speaking of which ...

2. Kru’s interior design is sophisticated and gorgeous

Designer Whitney Johnson nailed it here, with a mix of Japanese minimalism and California warmth that sets the restaurant apart from the crowd. Be sure to check the private dining room, an uplifting space with a large wood table featuring a mini rock garden set into its middle. For an edgier bit of design elements, look for a giant tattoo-like mural near the restrooms that’s similar to the ink on Ngo’s arm. The mural also nods in its imagery to the Sacramento area’s rice fields and the migratory birds that populate them.

3. Kru will have a retail shop for Japanese spirits

Many cocktail aficionados were ogling the line-up of Japanese whiskey behind the bar, which includes such sought after bottles as Yamazaki 18 Years, Nikka Coffey Malt Whiskey and others. The good news is some of these bottles will be for retail sale. The plan is to housed them in the lovely cabinets located in the private dining room. Expect this room to hold sake and other spirits tastings as well.

Stay tuned for more Kru news as the opening date approaches.

Learn the steps and tips for creating tasty Hawaiian poke in your kitchen. The fresh seafood salad is popular in Sacramento restaurants. Chris MaciasThe Sacramento Bee

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias