After more than a year of waiting for Jimmy Park’s more casual sushi concept to open in the space that belonged to Lower Greenville’s Teppo for 27 years, Kaiyo opened “quietly,” as they say, in November 2023. With bumping rap music and a panoramic painting by artist Yukiko Izumi (combining the style of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints with modern anime), Kaiyo matches the pulse of its beloved predecessor, although generally playing to a younger crowd. It was easy to get lost in a menu that includes tuna pizza and mini gyudon rice bowls. We tried a lot and while some dishes didn’t quite measure up, like the “dat salmon fuego” with Danish salmon sashimi in a distracting spicy sesame sauce, others were terrific. We loved the buttery, almost melty oyster gyozas, each dumpling seared to give a bit of crunch on one side while the other two remained soft. The novel baked green mussels with masago cream cheese and browned panko crumbs were impressively rich; they impressed even our cream cheese–hating dining companion. Not so the agedashi tofu in a gooey, tapioca-thickened dashi broth. We won’t be getting it again. We will, however, be back for the off-menu nigiri flight: seven pieces of the restaurant’s best quality fish for $50.
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Affordable sushi in a low-pressure environment on Lower Greenville Avenue.