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Oct 22, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘BaiKu Sushi Lounge’

The Scoop: Elliot Harris rolls behind the sushi bar at BaiKu

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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{Onii-san maki roll at Baiku}

Former food truck sushi chef Elliot Harris has found a new, more stationary home. Harris, who sold Chop Shop STL in December 2015, is now executive sushi chef at Baiku Sushi Lounge in Midtown.

Baiku owner Brad Beracha said Harris actually joined the restaurant in January, but the announcement was postponed while Baiku temporarily closed its doors that month so Hotel Ignacio (located in the same building) addressed structural problems in the building. Beracha said Harris used that time to tweak the sushi menu. Repairs are made and Baiku will reopen for dinner next Tuesday, April 26 and lunch on May 3. The restaurant will be closed on Sundays.

“I’ve worked with Elliot before,” Beracha said. “He is talented, creative and with him selling the truck, the timing was perfect. He is right for the future of Baiku and the direction we want to go.”

Harris has nearly 20 years experience behind a sushi bar, including time spent at Beracha’s now-shuttered Miso in Clayton. He said he will focus on nightly specials with new items slowly making their way to the menu, like a variation of the Korean poke dish Harris once served at Chop Shop.

“I want to bring in specialty fish, and there will be a focus on seasonal ingredients,” Harris said. “This will let me open up to catering to the customer and do chef’s choice or things off-menu.”

 

Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 2 p.m. Friday, April 22 with correct information about starting dates for lunch and dinner service. 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Sipping sake and Japanese whiskey at Baiku Sushi Lounge

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

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I’ve never particularly enjoyed sake. What some sip prodigiously with their sushi and miso always tasted to me like anemic milk or the dregs of undercooked rice, to put it rather uncharitably.

However, after editing Julie Cohen’s Asian spirits article for the February issue, a comprehensive ode to the Far East boozes now finding their way to St. Louis, I decided to recalibrate my Asian palate and give sake, shochu and the rest another go. It was time for a drink session at Baiku Sushi Lounge, which opened last October in the Hotel Ignacio in Midtown.

Baiku currently shares bar and drink menu acreage with adjoining restaurant Triumph (though its own bar will be ready by this summer). Nestled between craft beers and rum bottles is an impressive roster of Asian spirits, including a full sake menu, specialty liqueurs and Japanese single malt whiskey, which, as Cohen pointed out in her piece, is clinching best whiskey titles left and right lately.

“Primarily what we want to do is carry a nice array of Asian beer, Japanese single malt and sake,” said Sean Thomas, front-of-house manager at Baiku. “A lot of the Asian stuff seems to be trending again,” he said, noting that Kirin Ichiban beer slushies will be added to Baiku’s drink lineup this summer.

Three of Baiku’s six signature cocktails employ Asian spirits or sake, though the entire menu dons a quintessentially Asian flavor profile, making use of plum, pear, lychee, ginger and hibiscus. The drinks that really shine are the Oinari and Nashi-Wari, respectively tapping Tozai Snow Maiden sake and Suntory Hibiki 12-year single malt. Snow Maiden redeemed sake for me, its assertive melon nose and coconut-milk texture a pleasure to drink on its own, and equally satisfying when softened by St. Germain elderflower liqueur and grapefruit juice in the Oinari. The Nashi-Wari is less subtle – the combination of gentle single malt and local Big O ginger liqueur seems to transmogrify into a rum-and-Coke flavor, which doesn’t exactly seem Asian in character, but isn’t a bad thing either. If we can call cocktails “sessionable,” these drinks are it – balanced, delicious and eminently drinkable. Kanpai!

Sneak Peek: BaiKu Sushi Lounge

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

In July, The Scoop broke the news that Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio in Midtown was being reconcepted as BaiKu Sushi Lounge. Under the direction of Brad Beracha, owner of now defunct sushi restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka, BaiKu has come to life. The restaurant is now open for dinner and will offer lunch service beginning Oct. 6.

The sushi menu is extensive. It features specialty nigiri and sashimi, Hawaiian fish flown in daily, a selection of eight specialty rolls and unique chilled appetizers. The sushi bar is manned by BaiKu’s executive sushi chef, Soung Min Lee, formerly sushi chef at Miso as well as Central Table Food Hall. Joining Lee behind the counter is his brother, sous chef Soung Ho Lee.

Hot dishes at BaiKu are prepared in the kitchen at Triumph Grill, which adjoins the first floor of the hotel. Warm appetizers include creatively prepared bites like lobster shumai (Chinese-style dumplings), lettuce cups holding steamed Hawaiian blue prawns and steamed buns. Larger plates feature Korean-style hanger steak, Alaskan salmon and Hawaiian snapper.

BaiKu offers a variety of noodle dishes; guests can choose between soba, udon or ramen, the latter made locally by Midwest Pasta Co. The hot food menu was developed by Triumph executive chef Josh Norris. A native of Maui, Norris said he grew up eating a number of these dishes during his youth on the island.

Premium sake headlines beverage offerings. Rounding out the drink selection are more than 50 beers – including five Japanese brews – and wines chosen for their ability to pair with sushi. Here’s what’s in store at BaiKu:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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