Sushi chefs, like many culinary professionals around the world, are getting on board with the growing plant-based movement, which has transformed from a small faction of people to a 4.6 billion dollar industry. With the help of culinary expertise, sushi no longer has to be all raw fish and roe, and with creativity, it doesn’t have to be as simple as a seaweed-wrapped avocado, asparagus, or cucumber roll.
Kingfish Grill’s own classically-trained sushi master, Austin Katoh, had rolled sushi in many places before settling in at the Kingfish back in 2012. Here he has found a place where he’s able to flex his innovative skills and create visionary twists – like the vegetarian Tree Hugger, a huge and satisfying roll, offering around eleven filling pieces of unique deliciousness.
It’s the first time I have eaten sushi and chosen to skip the soy/wasabi combination so as not to overpower the complex flavors. Instead of traditional seaweed wrap, Chef Austin uses a mild-tasting, melt-in-your-mouth spinach soy paper. Inside, you sink your teeth into creamy edamame hummus, cornmeal coated and flash-fried tempura artichokes, crunchy fresh asparagus, and soft sweet potato. Tangy goat cheese, balsamic glaze, and honey linger on the palate after each bite. Toasted almonds finish the roll and send it over the edge.
Located at the docks of Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor directly on the Intracoastal, Kingfish Grill has some of the most spectacular views in town. The restaurant, owned by Paul Mackey who is originally from coastal New England, has been a St. Augustine favorite for seafood since 2005.
The restaurant has several other sushi rolls and a handful of dishes like the Thai Vegetable Spring Rolls that can also be prepared to accommodate both vegetarians and vegans. And though there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly selections, Chef Austin and his innovative take on sushi keep people coming back for more.
Kingfish Grill is located at 252 Yacht Club Drive. Learn more about them at www.kingfishgrill.com. Photography by Tammy Harrow.