by Nancy Stiles
The Hotel Ignacio (3411 Olive Street; 314-977-4411) already houses the MOTO Museum and Triumph Grill and it's about to get a sushi lounge. BaiKu Sushi Lounge (3407 Olive Street; 314-977-4411) is opening this fall from the owner of Triumph, City Diner, Alumni and Dooley's and the former owner of Miso.
See also: The 10 Best Sushi Bars in St. Louis
"I've been consulting over here at Triumph for the last five months, and I was tasked with re-concepting the cafe," co-owner Brad Beracha tells Gut Check. "I was looking at the space and knowing we had some limitations with logistics to the bar and kitchen, they have the perfect set up for a sushi bar. That was my baby with Miso, so I got really excited to bring some of the old staff back together and take another stab at it."
Chef Min Lee, whose pedigree includes Miso and last year's winner for best sushi, Central Table, is heading up the sushi while Josh Norris from Triumph is building the rest of the menu. As far as the sushi, Beracha says
BaiKu will focus on highlighting the freshness of the fish -- it's hooking up with a purveyor in Hawaii to have specialty nigiri flown in. The menu will offer the standard rolls and five to seven specialty rolls. The lunch menu will be a "noodle concept" with different types of ramen and possibly delving into udon and soba, plus a few sandwiches and some stir fry options.
The restaurant is split into six or seven seating locations, which Beracha says gives it a boutique hotel lounge vibe. BaiKu actually means "motorcycle" in Japanese, keeping with the theme of the building. Steve Smith is even creating a work of art for the restaurant out of a deconstructed motorcycle.
BaiKu hopes to be open in September -- Beracha suggests following its Facebook page to stay updated on the menu, construction, opening parties and more.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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