Traditional Japanese Eatery
& Sara/ firstname.lastname@example.org
When one gets a hankering
for Asian food, they often are craving the rich and savory
flavors of teriyaki, tempura, and the very popular delicacy,
sushi. When that craving strikes, Huntingtonians have flocked
to Kura Barn since 1979. In addition to having access to some
of the most authentic Japanese fare in the area, they also
get to immerse themselves in Japanese culture for the hour
or two that they spend there.
Nestled on a small hill on New York Avenue,
Kura Barn is a picturesque home with an illustrious history.
Owner Kari Hoest said that her parents opened Kura Barn in
1975 as a gift shop—kura is the Japanese word for barn
where in Japanese tradition, people’s most precious
possessions are kept safe. Soon her mother, Noriko, began
offering cooking lessons and before long, Kura Barn reopened
as a restaurant. Since its 1979 opening, Kura Barn has developed
a loyal following and Hoest said that generations of the same
family have become regulars.
“We see generations here now; that’s
the really neat thing about being here for so long . . . also
we were one of the first Japanese restaurants in Huntington.
People didn’t even know what sushi was,” Hoest
said, referring to the explosive popularity that sushi bars
have gained. “The timing that we opened was uncanny
because Showgun was on T.V. when we opened as a restaurant.”
Each meal at Kura Barn begins with a dish
of bean sprout salad. While it is not available on the menu,
Hoest said diners often order the crunchy bean sprouts that
are saturated in a vinegar-based dressing by the pint. When
we finished our bean sprout salads—which was no small
feat as neither of us are proficient chopstick users and we
both resisted Hoest’s offer of forks—we opted
for the House Salad ($3.50). Kura Barn makes its own ginger
sauce and unlike some of the other more creamy ginger dressings
that seem to dominate the market, this was a lighter version
that unites the subtle flavor of ginger with the crunch of
the lettuce and shredded carrots.
For appetizer we asked that Chef Hitoshi
Sakurai suggest some of the menu’s best. Chicken String
Beans ($8) is a juicy, thinly sliced strip of chicken wrapped
around crunchy string beans and cooked tempura style. Negimaki
($10), similar to the Chicken String Beans, were also a favorite.
This dish features flavorful scallions wrapped in a layer
of tender beef with teriyaki sauce—another of Kura Barn’s
own recipes. Any fan of teriyaki cannot miss this sauce, a
creation that Hoest is rightfully proud of, saying that she
and the rest of the staff are, “very proud of the teriyaki
sauce.” Like the ginger dressing, it is bottled for
Another of our favorites was the Crispy Scallions
that are listed as a special in the black book, one of which
is located on every table. Also prepared tempura style, a
large scallop is encased in a flaky batter and drizzled with
miso mayo and settled on top of shredded shitake mushrooms.
In our constant quest for Foodie enlightenment,
we were eager for Hoest to share her extensive knowledge of
sushi. “It is really crucial that you know the establishment
when you are ordering sushi. We are very lucky because we
have been so blessed with the availability of impeccable fish,”
she said. “People have this misconception that sushi
means raw fish but it doesn’t. Sushi means seasoned
rice, which is generally a part of the various rolls. Sashimi
is the actual raw fish.”
Kura Barn offers a long list of sushi and
sashimi options. There is a sashimi appetizer ($14.50) and
an entrée ($23.50), a sushi combo ($19) or an option
to accommodate two diners ($58). There is also the option
to combine sushi and sashimi, for one person ($25), or for
two ($58). They do come with prearranged selections, but Hoest
said guests are welcome to make special requests.
Among the best choices is the Blue Fin Tuna
sashimi, served simply as a pile of the vibrant red meat,
or rested on top of sushi rice. The Super Shrimp Tempura Roll
was another winner. It consists of shrimp tempura rolled first
in rice, then in seaweed, and topped off with a heap of lobster
salad—an example of sushi that does not include raw
fish. Add to that list the Wasa Wasa Roll, topped off with
wasabi caviar and crushed sesame seeds, the refreshing Shrimp
Summer Roll, and a few pieces of Aji and you have a dynamic
array of the Japanese delicacy. We hope to try the Chirashi
($22.50), a group of fresh fish, such as Tuna, and Eel Fluke
sashimi style, on our next trip to Kura Barn.
As is often the case, the pairing of a complex
wine enhances Japanese food. In this case, it was Kita No
Nishki Sake, a deliciously sweet sake available only at Kura
Barn. Hoest pointed out another rampant misconception. “Sake
is a rice wine that is just as complex as any other wine,
you can have it very dry or very sweet. The very premium sakes
are best served chilled, but you are never supposed to have
it super hot. Traditionally it is served at body temperature
but absolutely never hot. When you heat it up too much, all
the alcohol is cooked off so it doesn’t make sense,”
Chris, our server, poured us shot-glass amounts
of the sake (served chilled). In another display of Japanese
culture, the shot glasses were sitting in lacquered boxes
and Chris poured the liquid until it overflowed in what Hoest
explained was a Japanese symbol of generosity. We also sipped
on a glass of the traditional Japanese beer Sapporo ($7) that
comes in a 16 oz. bottle because it is to be shared between
Before dessert, Hoest was able to give us
one more brief lesson in Japanese language; she said “Kampai”
is the translation of “Cheers!” Kampai!
479 New York Avenue
Price Range: Moderate
Lunch: Tue-Fri 12-2 p.m.
Dinner: Tue-Thu 5:30-10 p.m.
Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Sun 5-9 p.m.