A New Kind of Immigrant Cuisine Comes to Dallas: Japanese-Peruvian Fusion at Nikkei

Nikkei opens this month in the same building that also houses Coal Vines’ Uptown location.
Nikkei opens this month in the same building that also houses Coal Vines’ Uptown location.
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Late last year, when chef Ross Demers left the relatively young Deep Ellum brasserie On the Lamb, the restaurant closed rather than bring in a new chef, and owners say they’re working on another concept for that location.

In the meantime, Demers has found an interesting new project: Nikkei, an Uptown restaurant from Milkshake Concepts, the restaurant group that has opened two other concepts — Stirr and Citizen — in Dallas over the past 15 months.

The word Nikkei, pronounced nik-ay, is a term for Japanese immigrants that left Japan and settled in new countries during the Japanese diaspora.

“More than 100 years ago, thousands of Japanese workers relocated to Peru, bringing along their unique traditions and culinary influences,” according to a press release from Milkshake Concepts. “Nikkei cuisine resulted as a convergence of flavors and cooking techniques from Japanese and Peruvian fare. Now, Nikkei is rising in popularity and has come to encapsulate not just the people but the food the Japanese immigrants and their children cooked in Peru through the late 19th and 20th centuries.”

What does the menu look like for a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant? These fusion dishes have certainly piqued our interest:

Offerings include Ceviche de Salmon featuring togarashi, passionfruit, leche de tigre, coriander and choclo; Texas Wagyu Tartare, a soft-boiled quail egg, black breadcrumb and pickled plum; and Pancetta-Wrapped Miso Black Cod, served with purple potato puree and salsa huancaina. Guests will also enjoy sushi from a seasoned chef serving options like the Lima Tokyo Roll, featuring Seven Spice Grade 1 Ahi Tuna, yuzu tobiko, aji amarillo and blood orange ponzu. Desserts include a trio of seasonal gelatos, or the Chocolate Matcha Hotplate, a dark chocolate molten caked topped with ice cream and served on a hot plate with sizzling green tea extract

The cocktail menu will include ample Japanese whiskey, of course, which is a spirit that’s currently on the rise. A sampling of the drink menu: “The Prinz, made with a blended Japanese whisky, yuzu, lemon juice, house made orgeat, vanilla bitters and egg white, and the El Raba made with pisco, ginger syrup, a lemon and yuzu blend, and sparkling sake.”

The 4,000-plus square foot space will feature 19th century Japanese artwork, a copper bar and a rooftop patio. Nikkei is slated to open later this month at 2404 Cedar Springs Road, in the same building that houses Coal Vines’ Uptown location, and will be open for dinner 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 6 p.m. “until late” Thursday through Saturday.

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