What is Ken Sushi?
As a guest of Ken Sushi you sit at the sushi bar opposite the chef(s). During the omakase you will be surprised by the chefs, who freshly prepare the sushi with lots of love and passion, with an explanation of the ingredients. We serve omakase sushi like in a traditional sushi bar in Japan, with Ken's own interpretation and signature.
Eating at Ken Sushi is really an experience. Not only the delicious, high-quality food and the story behind it, but also the attention, hospitality and cozy atmosphere complete the experience. This distinguishes us from other omakase places.
Who are we?
We are a small family business with big dreams. Founder, owner and Head Chef Ken has had a long-standing desire to start his own omakase sushi bar. In 2019 this dream became reality and he opened his sushi bar in a small shared location in Amsterdam Oud West. After some wanderings and temporary locations, we now finally have our own spacious place in the center of Amsterdam. Ken runs the restaurant with his younger brother, co-owner and Sous Chef Tom.
Ken is self-taught and trains his cooks himself. The brothers have Thai roots and the love and passion for good food has been there since childhood. Although their personalities differ, their professional paths have crossed again and again. Both succeeded time and time again in turning their passion into a job. This is how they started as skate instructors / performers and literally and figuratively rolled into the theater. They toured at home and abroad with various performances and transferred their skills during youth projects. After their theater careers, both brothers became sushi chefs and Ken had the dream of starting his own business. Because of his great passion for omakase sushi and the great desire to support his family financially, Ken Sushi was created!
Our nephew, host and bartender Sky, chefs (apprentice) Jonathan and Mark complete our team. In addition, we regularly have help from the best teammates as extra support in the Front of House. Read more background information about our team members at 'our team'. On social media we also regularly share about our Ken Sushi and family adventures.
Our new location used to be a restaurant and cocktail bar, which we took over. We will open partly 'plug and play' with Ken Sushi from March 1, 2023. This means that the location still largely has the interior of the previous owners with some minor adjustments and additions by ourselves. We are also not yet starting with all the plans we have for this building.
For example, in the future, as soon as we have the opportunity, we would like to open a cocktail bar where you can also order a small snack and which is also accessible to guests without a reservation. For these guests we have a small menu available with a mini Ken Sushi tasting, a Japanese snack platter and our favorite Thai street food, inspired by our roots. There is also enough space in the building to realize karaoke booths. Another wish that we would like to fulfill in the future. Often guests who visit us have something to celebrate and we think it would be great to offer more festive options like the ones mentioned above in addition to the omakase.
Since February 2023 we have our own permanent place at a beautiful fantastic location in the center of Amsterdam, near Central Station. We were able to realize this place with the help of our great community through a crowdfunding. Here we have all the space to fully expand Ken Sushi and position it as Ken originally intended.
May 2019 Ken started this adventure with the desire to offer affordable omakase sushi and introduce guests to his omakase style. In a small setting on the Lootsstraat, he was given the opportunity to start his own business and build a beautiful and successful company together with his family. Here he started with his wife Bee and had a small bar where a maximum of 10 people could join for an omakase or okonomi dinner. This was unexpectedly fast and surprisingly well received! He shared the building with a Surinamese/Caribbean catering company, which meant that take-away guests or delivery drivers regularly walked through the space. Despite this special setting, things quickly went crazy, especially after flattering reviews in, among others, the Westkrant and the Parool.
Out of necessity, his brother and nephew joined, who have never left and have been a close-knit team ever since. Together they put their heart and soul into ensuring that the family business remains a success and continues to grow. Not much later an extra chef was needed and from then on we worked three shifts a day, at fixed times, to meet the demand. Bee, meanwhile, had taken a step back due to the pregnancy and birth of their first son Kenji in July 2020, making another dream come true. Nowadays she takes care of the administration and desserts!
Due to the enthusiasm of our guests, we have built up a very nice and loyal fan base over the past four years, who regularly come to eat and continue to support us in good and bad times. For instance, at the bar we always have a nice mix of regular guests and new guests from all kinds of backgrounds.
Unfortunately, a lot changed due to the time-long corona restrictions. In April 2021 we left the Lootstraat to offer takeaway bento boxes at a temporary location. We were overjoyed when we heard that we could stay on the Amsteldijk and reopen our restaurant at this great location with a pleasant space. In ten days we transformed the old office building, including catering in the zoning plan, into our sushi bar with lounge. Unfortunately, we were soon stopped by the local government and this dream only lasted a few months.
In October 2021 we were given the opportunity to temporarily settle in the lobby of the Olympic Hotel, until we found our own location. This 'temporary' took a little longer than hoped, but thankful that our guests continued to visit us regardless of the location and we were able to keep our restaurant running in such a nice environment.
After all these wanderings, we have now, at the beginning of 2023, settled on the Geldersekade and continue to build on our dream! Due to various factors (corona restrictions, rising purchase prices, expansion of the team and our own location), we unfortunately can no longer offer the omakase for a bargain price. We regret that this makes us less accessible to a wider audience. We hope to change this in the future by opening the cocktail bar to guests without a reservation and offering a small menu with Asian snacks. At the moment the bar is only open for guests with a reservation, who can enjoy drinks and games before and after the omakase. As soon as we can expand the team, that will change!