Even since shuttering Hokusei, one of the city’s best sushi restaurants, chef Cody Auger (Hokusei) has been holding outstanding 19-course sushi dinners through his Fukami pop-up, and the chef tells Eater he’s ready to channel his sourcing and slicing skills into a new brick and mortar called Nimblefish.
Nimblefish will take over the old Boxer Sushi venue just off the corner of SE Hawthorne and 20th. It’s a joint project between Auger, Kurt Heilemann (Davenport), and Dwight Rosendahl (Masu Sushi), and Auger says the goal is competitive pricing in an old-school format.
“We’ll serve nigiri sushi by the piece and handrolls,” he says, adding that Nimblefish will be a sit-down sushi bar but will also be geared toward those on the go. “To be as efficient as possible, we’re doing a really simple format, where you get the sushi card at your table and tick off what you’d like.”
But nothing Auger does is simple — although “pure” could aptly describe his style of sushi. Auger excels at seafood sourcing, finding things like seasonal, line-caught mackerel from Japan (mackerel is almost always net-caught).
“The sushi program will be like what I’ve been doing for the past few years,” he says, “but we’re also adding some farmed products like kona kampachi and hamachi (aka yellotail tuna) to maintain competitive pricing.”
Auger says omakase — the practice of naming your price and having the sushi chef improvise your meal — won’t be an option, but if all goes as planned, Fukami’s many coursed omakase dinners could will pop up at Nimblefish on the nights that it’s closed.
Nimblefish’s lease has been signed, and the restaurant is aiming to open in October 2017. It will have a full bar but focus on saké and wine, and the roughly 30-seat restaurant plans to be open for dinner only.