Sushi Hana brings New York Fusion to Tulsa

By on May 24, 2013

There was a time in New York when fusion restaurants were so common that it seemed you couldn’t walk a block without tripping over one. Most of them weren’t very good. It’s not easy to blend widely divergent culinary techniques and traditions. And now, years after the trend has become passe, along comes a New Yorker who opens one in Tulsa. And guess what? It’s really good! Not surprising perhaps. When you have a Chinese guy from the Big Apple opening a sushi restaurant in Oklahoma, there’s bound to be some fusion going on.

I hadn’t planned on interviewing Kenny Chan but I ended up talking with him for quite some time. Perhaps he enjoyed gossiping with a fellow New Yorker. Or perhaps it’s because he’s the kind of guy who wants to spend time with every new visitor to make sure their needs are met. He’s been in the restaurant business all his life. His family owns East Buffet, a big flashy Chinese banquet hall in the multi-ethnic gourmet paradise of Flushing, Queens (a part of NYC). When still a boy, he started every morning at 3 AM by heading for Manhattan’s Fulton Fish Market, a raucous riotous jam-packed cavern of a building where thousands of vendors haggle with hordes of buyers, and all before sunrise. Later, he managed other restaurants owned by his family. And now here he is in Tulsa.

Sushi Hana Interior

He managed to take a lot of New York with him. The decor has, for me at least, the feel of one of the more elegant restaurants in Flushing. And in fact Kenny told the Tulsa World that the booths, aquarium, and just about everything else were bought in New York. And he also told the World’s reporter this: “My wife and I have traveled all over the world, and I have picked up things, such as jellyfish noodles from Korea and curry from India. I have recipes inside me all the time, and I like to try different things.” Now that’s what fusion restaurants are (or should be) all about. It was immediately apparent when my entree arrived.

Sushi Hana Duck

This is crispy duck in tamarind sauce ($20). One look at that photo and you know that the elegant presentation is worthy of the finest restaurants. It looks more Western than Asian. The duck, a bit overcooked for my taste and somewhat lacking in flavor, was redeemed by the incredible sauce, which blended fruit and spice with a bit of sweet added to the mix. The bok choy was unusually good. I liked the tiny red dots (cherry tomato slices) at the edge.

Since the place has sushi in the name, and since some of the chefs have trained for many years in making it, we decided to order sushi. But not a staid traditional plate of sashimi or nigiri. No, we went for a flashy California-style roll.

Sushi Hana Roll

This one’s a winner. Invented by Kenny Chan and his crew, is a lot better and more creative than most I’ve had. It’s called “Dancing Shrimp” ($13). Slices of juicy mango and tender crabmeat are wrapped in thin slices of cooked shrimp. On top, fried shrimp dance. The flavors all worked together. There’s a lovely mustard cream sauce too, and a rose of radish and green wasabi, which can be better seen here.

Sushi Hana Roll 2

And then we had fried rice.

Sushi Hana Rice

I’m not a big fan of fried rice. I loved this one. It’s Hawaiian Rice ($10). According to the menu, it has crabmeat, shrimp, jellyfish noodles and cucumber with a Japanese wine mayo dressing. I think there are pineapples in there too. The upshot is that the rice was sweet, creamy, most pleasant to eat. Perfect fusion.

Sushi Hana
9904 Riverside Parkway
528-6688
Open daily (except Sunday) from 11 AM to 2:30 PM and from 4:30 PM to 10 PM
http://www.sushihanatulsa.com

Brian Schwartz: Author

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

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