Keane and Tominaga are teaming up on Thursday nights throughout October (and possibly November) to test the sushi waters. The Hana Japanese chef will work out of Keane’s kitchen, offering up his own sushi menu to compliment the usual Shimo menu.
It’s a chef bromance that’s been a longtime in the making. Keane, who is lead toque for Cyrus and co-owns Healdsburg Bar and Grill, opened Shimo Modern Steakhouse to showcase his love for Japanese cooking. Tominaga’s Rohnert Park restaurant is an institution where the Bay Area’s best chefs sup on sushi.
“Ken has wanted to come up to Healdsburg for a long time. He has a lot of clients up here, and frankly, all the chefs go down there for sushi. We’re both big fans of each other,” said Keane.
Until August, Tominaga was part of Cindy Pawlcyn’s Go Fish restaurant in St. Helena. Pawylcn changed the format of the restaurant from seafood and sushi to rustic Italian after joining forces with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable seafood program, leaving little question that the partnership with Tominaga was over.
Will this be a permanent partnership for Keane and Tominaga? It’s too early to say, but signs point to a possible relationship if demand for Tominaga’s stellar sushi is high enough. Healdsburg’s only other sushi spot, currently, is Gary Chu’s Sake’O.
Keane has continued to tweak Shimo, which opened last winter. Focus has dropped off high-priced steaks (though he still has a few) and is instead on more wallet-friendly offerings including authentic ramen and soba noodle bar ($7.95) and Sunday night prime rib dinners. Keane also dropped corkage fees in a surprising move for a Wine Country restaurant. Sushi has been a long-time desire, but Keane said he’s been hesitant to do it unless someone could really do it right.
Stay tuned for a full sushi menu coming soon.