Monday, February 13, 2012

In Which Sushi Chef Kai is in the House!

If you haven’t been to Mt Washington lately, I highly recommend it. Sure it’s small, and sure you sometimes have to wait twice as long in the lift lines as it takes to get down the mountain and yes, sometimes it’s a bit rainy or slushy, or icy or freezing or foggy or whatever, (it is a mountain, after all, people, not a mall) but to me, none of that matters. It’s local, and that’s what makes it great. If I had to wait 15 minutes in a lift line at Whistler, I am pretty sure I wouldn't know half the people in the line, like I do at Washington. And who cares if it only takes me 5 minutes to get from top to bottom. My quads couldn’t take much more than that anyway. Raining? I am forced to stay in the chalet by the fire playing scrabble, napping and watching movies. Tough. I’ll wait a few hours for the sun then grab a cold beverage, sit in the hot tub and watch it go down (the sun…not the hot tub).

At some point, the kids, who have had the run of the mountain all day, will show up and we’ll all stretch and wander into the kitchen. Soon, baskets of crackers appear alongside cambazola and brie, little bowls of olives and salty almonds. Someone opens wine. We’ll all debrief about the day, some of us will down a couple of ibuprofen, and then we start cooking.

We have a few favourites when we travel as a group: fish tacos, tamari maple salmon, BBQ beef ribs, roast chicken. We usually try to take a night each for cooking but that rarely works out and more often than not, we’re all in there, getting in each other’s way, looking for the potatoes (check the Nordic Cupboard) or the Chips(Alpine Cupboard), laughing, and having the best time ever.

But this past weekend, we wanted to try something different for our night. If you know Mt. Washington, you may or may not know about Sushi-Mon. Tucked away down by the Hawk chair, in the old Nordic Lodge, Sushi-Mon quietly turns out some of the best Japanese Food around. It’s an unlikely location for a Sushi restaurant, but it works, considering the other food choices on the mountain. (Actually, try not to think about the other food choices…). We can usually be found in there at lunch downing a bowl of Pork Ramen or a Seafood Curry noodle bowl. It’s often a bit of a wait, but the perfectly flavoured broth, crisp veggies, and delicious noodles makes it all worth while. Chef Kai can be seen in the kitchen, head down, turning out roll after roll, bowl after beautifully prepared bowl. If you catch his eye, he will welcome you with a deep bow and a warm smile, then get right back to making sushi.

On one of our visits we spotted a handwritten sign suggesting that we, the customer, might enjoy having Chef Kai come to our kitchen and make sushi for us. Might we? Indeed we might! A few phone calls later and we had ourselves a party. I whipped up an invitation and everyone was in.


Sushi Monster

No one brought a wolf suit. Disappointing.

Chef Kai arrived with his daughter Stephanie at 4:30pm and in a matter of minutes, had transformed the kitchen into a sushi restaurant. He accepted a beer, turned to face his work area, and didn’t look up for about 4hrs.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1685

Occasionally I would try to ask him a question. He would politely answer me with his thick Japanese accent, which I couldn’t understand, and we would smile warmly at each other, whoever I was standing beside me would say “what did he say?” and I would say, through smiling teeth, “I’m not sure'”, and we would eat another slow roasted pork roll. At some point, someone turned on the Club music – I looked at Chef Kai to see how this would go over. He didn’t miss a beat and could be seen grooving, rolling and slicing.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1690

After a while, watching him became mesmerizing. Sushi rolling is a true art and Chef Kai has it mastered. I think he could do it in his sleep. At one point I watched him expertly slice a avocado into perfectly uniform, paper thin slices, his hands moving just slightly ahead of his knife as the avocado fanned out before me. He then lifted the entire row of avocado and laid it down on top of a prawn tempura roll. He turned to me and said “for decoration”. Zen and the art of Sushi.

 from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1714


from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1691

Lucky kids…

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1710

Towards the end of the night, Chef Kai made fruit rolls with cream cheese and strawberries in a pink soy sheet, and mango cream cheese rolls in a yellow soy sheet. These disappeared at lightening speed.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1715from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1716

I grabbed a strawberry roll before they were all gone

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1719

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1730 from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1729

Chef Kai left us with two plates of leftovers, after I had to beg him to stop as we had all eaten ourselves to a standstill.

from Kent's Iphone Feb 12 2012 1732

Notice how everyone has assumed the ‘no more food please’ position.

What a great night. And after all that I still have no idea how to make sushi. But I don’t need to know – I have Chef Kai.




  1. That was the best sushi I ever had and great company


  2. Thank you for your amazing review, and for being such generous and awesome hosts! I will upload more photos this week to our facebook page... Don't forget to like us and tag yourselves and your friends in the photos! We are also on, just search Sushi Mon! :)

    -The Sushi Mon team