The creatively designed invitation looked good enough to eat with photos of colorful, life-size sushi on it. It was after all, an invitation for the much-anticipated opening of the newest Mikuni Japanese restaurant located in our neck of the woods at the Village-at-Northstar (five other Mikunis are in the Sacramento area and another is opening in Las Vegas). To RSVP invitees had to log on to a Web site and enter the password wasabi, a very clever touch. Apparently a lot of people are computer literate as close to 700 guests indicated that they would be attending.Mikunis restaurants have become quite a phenomenon in the Sacramento area with a huge following of sushi devotees. A joint-venture team was put together to bring this Japanese wonder to Northstar with partners Taro Arai and Derrick Fong of Mikuni and local Truckee resident and restaurant czar Ray Villaman. Villaman's other local restaurants include Fireside Pizza in the Village at Squaw and Rubicon Pizza; right near Mikuni's in Northstar, not to mention his other numerous restaurant interests out of the area. The new 4,900-square-foot Mikuni in Northstar features lots of unusual art and dcor with a colored wave wall, a blue fin tuna sculpture that changes color, and a unique blend of traditional Japanese and alpine dcor. Adjacent to the restaurant is a grab andamp; go Mikuni store with bento boxes of prepared sushi to go.
For the opening bash so many partygoers attended that they also spilled out onto the Village walkways, and into True North retail store where a special sake bar was set up with hot, cold and flavored sake tastings (the blueberry infused sake has lots of antioxidants!), and into Rubicon Pizza where martini and cosmo bars were churning them out faster than you could say pickled ginger. Lots of tasty passed hors d'oeuvres including sushi, crab rolls, tempura, shrimp, and Yakatori chicken left everyone wanting to come back to Northstar again for dinner. The traditional Japanese ceremony of smashing the sake barrel was one of the many highlights of the evening.Saying sayonara after a few sake and sushi tastings were Linda andamp; Larry Danto, Lisa Dobey and Debbie Cole, Betty and Rick Brown, Pam Jahnke, Mary Lou and Don Cooper, Becky and Mike Kerton, Sally Mars Carey, Heather Arst and Matt Locati, Martha and Jim Simon, Julie Maurer and David Schotzko, Lauren Schaake and Jake Hudson, Lucy and Steve Isbell, Carol Fromson, Liz Welch and Andrew Bolam of Bolam Galleries, Chris and Andy Otto, Karyn Frazier and Mike Murphy, Martha, Jim, and Brooke Simon, Patti and Ron Florian, Pattie and Hartley Lesser, Benita and Greg Tiller, Krista Kastanos and Max Stein, and Marilyn and Bill Forni.In her spare time Vicki Kahn is a Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Tahoe City. You can e-mail her at Vicki.firstname.lastname@example.org.