To enter Kirin is to be transported from the bustling 81st and Mingo corridor to a rich, elegant and sophisticated world of flavor and service. It’s a place that restores and refreshes and seems to invite guests to slow down and enjoy. It is fitting, then, that owner Yichao Easter chose the mythical creature Kirin to embody the spirit of this Asian Cuisine and Sushi restaurant. According to Chinese legend, the Kirin is a mythical creature similar to a Unicorn. Gentle and good to those who do good deeds, the Kirin protects and blesses those who host its statue and bring prosperity.
On our visit to this upscale restaurant, we visited with General Manager, Thomas Ware, who took us through a culinary tour of all that is offered at Kirin. Kirin’s menu is extensive, featuring Asian classics, Sashimi, Sushi rolls and a complete Sushi Bar experience. Its modern interpretation of classic dishes and insistence on using only the best ingredients make Kirin a delightful choice for lunch or dinner.
We began with Chinese Sausage with fried rice which is a distinctive Kirin dish full of flavor and beautifully plated. Also offered with chicken, beef or vegetable, it’s a classic way to experience Kirin’s best.
Pineapple Fried Rice, served with a choice of brown or white rice is a specialty dish designated in the “Journey to Asia” menu segment. These are dishes that uniquely convey the taste and beauty of Kirin and should not be missed. Included on this part of the menu are Steam Buns, an Asian classic, which comes with a service of egg drop soup. It was my personal favorite and one that I highly recommend.
Chirashi exemplifies the complexity and elegance of Kirin that is highlighted on their sushi bar entrée. Served with sushi rice, it captures the imagination of the diner and portrays the skill of Mr. Bae, a thirteen-year traditional sushi chef and the creator of beautiful dishes at Kirin.
Sashimi, a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into then pieces, is also a Kirin delight. This part of the menu is ambitious with an extensive selection of fish including yellowtail, smoked salmon, squid, octopus, mackerel and others.
Specialty sushi rolls make up a large part of the menu and offer exotic combinations that will excite diners with their variety and spice. The menu also offers several spicy dishes that are designated on the menu for ease of selection. Additionally, gluten-free and vegetarian items are also available upon request.