Some of their larger, more elaborate rolls too have an element of whimsical design, like the crazy roll which, as its name would indicate, looks pretty crazy.
—Mike Green, food columnist
Being a bit of a sushi snob (as we really all should be) I'll admit I was a little choked when I moved to Winnipeg from Vancouver last year. In Van, quality sushi is pretty easy to come by. But here, after Edohei closed, I was left lamenting that I wouldn't be able to find a new place to get my sushi on.
Such was the case until I decided to try Kudara, which turns out is within crawling distance from my house.
Like many good neighbourhood restaurants, it's located in a rather obscure spot; a Domo gas station hides it from the front of the road, while it is kind of visually dominated by the 7-Eleven it shares a wall with. But never mind the facade (although they did just get a pretty jazzy new sign), because the door at Unit 2 - 427 Academy Road is well worth opening.
Kyung Jae (KJ) Lee and her husband Bko Lee (Mike Green)
Run by husband and wife Bko and Kyung Jae Lee, along with their son Simon who makes most of the sushi, Kudara has constantly satisfied my sushi cravings while also highlighting some nice Korean dishes from their home city of Seoul.
The couple bought the restaurant about six months ago, and has transformed it from primarily a take-out joint to a nifty little number where four tables are put to good use.
"The size is nice for me" said Kyung Jae when we first met. "A bigger size would have been not good for me. But this size, this small restaurant, is enough...I love that."
Having a background in design (graphic design to be precise), Kyung Jae's former occupation has been put to good use. The room is a funky mix that maintains a balance between sleek and campy. Some of their larger, more elaborate rolls too have an element of whimsical design, like the crazy roll which, as its name would indicate, looks pretty crazy.
For recommendations, you can't really go wrong with any of their special rolls like the white dragon and the aforementioned crazy, but I would strongly recommend you try some of the more Korean-inspired dishes that they've been putting on the menu lately.
"Most people here [in this neighbourhood] don't yet know Korean food. But we are making it a little bit" said Kyung Jae. "Some people order the Bibimbap (a Korean rice dish with vegetables, chili paste and usually beef) and after they say 'so good'... so that makes me happy," said Kyung Jae.
If you ask, you can try some of their Korean style rolls made with home-made kimchi and bulgogi (Korean style BBQ short ribs) that are a nice break from the California and spicy tuna rolls that most people usually order.
At Kudara they are doing sushi a bit differently, and I think you will approve.