By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Apr 25, 2019 at 11:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

There’s a new menu of modern Asian cuisine to relish in Wauwatosa. That’s because Kin by Rice n Roll opened quietly last week at 7484 W. State St.

The restaurant’s decor conjures a modern industrial vibe with plentiful glass windows on the north and west, polished concrete flooring and natural accents in stone and wood. All in all, there’s seating for about 80 guests at low tables as well as a small sushi bar where guests can enjoy freshly made nigiri and maki.

Over the past week, Kin owners Tony Kora and siblings JJ and Tammy Lert have been busy introducing their new West Side customers to an impressive (but abbreviated) soft opening menu.

Kora says the inaugural menu, along with slightly abbreviated hours, will be in place through mid-May, when the restaurant will introduce a more expanded grand opening menu and Sunday hours.

Despite its slightly abbreviated format, the menu features much of what guests can expect from the new venue, including a selection of bites and appetizers, street-food-style Thai dishes, specialty items and a large sushi menu.

Menu highlights

Guests will find plenty to try on the new menu, which includes a variety of soups and salads, bites like edamame ($4) and crab rangoon ($7) and a variety of appetizers, including chashu pork, duck and portobello buns ($7-8), ceviche ($10) and Kin Wings, which come with a choice of Asian BBQ, Sriracha buffalo or yuzu sauce and wasabi cream (six for $8; a dozen for $14).

Thanks to the restaurant's full bar, snacks can be accompanied by sake (premium, specialty and nigori), sake flights, bottled beer and wine along with non-alcoholic options including coffee, tea, soft drinks, thai iced tea or coffee, bubble tea and fun options like the Amethyst Ocean, a sweet drink made with butterfly pea flowers which changes color from deep blue to purple with the addition of fresh lemon.

Kitchen specialties include jumbo lump crab meat fried rice ($18), khao soy chicken, a Northern Thai curry with soft and crispy egg noodles ($14); salmon miso, featuring miso-glazed grilled salmon, asparagus and salad ($16); and Thai style grilled beef served with mixed salad and Thai lime dressing ($16).

Meanwhile, a selection of Thai street food dishes includes khao man gai, a Thai variation on Hainanese chicken rice served with an herbal ginger dressing, cilantro and cucumber ($12, pictured below), khao mok gai, a Thai take on chicken biryani featuring turmeric chicken, rice, cilantro and cucumber ($12) and panang curry with snow peas, bell peppers, crushed peanuts, and lime leaf ($12; add chicken, tofu or shrimp for $3 more).

Donburi (Japanese rice bowls) feature guests choice of fish, from a chef’s assortment ($21.95) to hamachi with green onion and nori ($16.95), sake (salmon) with ikura (red roe) and nori ($14.95) tekka (tuna) with green onion and nori ($16.95) and unagi ($16.95). The bowls are served with a choice of salad, seaweed salad or miso soup. Brown or black rice can be substituted for $2 more.

On the sushi menu, guests can choose from nigiri or sashimi with white, brown or black rice. Options include standards like salmon, tuna and unagi along with octopus, sweet shrimp, inari (sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu), tobiko and ikura. Chef’s selections are also available in six or twelve piece combinations ($11.95-$22.95).

Sushi bar specialties include tuna or salmon zuke (fish marinated in soy sauce), escolar tataki (lightly seared and served with fresh lime), spicy Hokkaido scallops with masago and negi saba (mackerel) with scallion (priced $7-9 for two pieces). There’s also Kin poke featuring tuna, salmon, guacamole, furikake, seaweed salad, tempura flakes, spicy citrus shoyu, ponzu and wonton skins ($15.95).

Meanwhile, Kin features a variety of both classic and vegetarian maki (priced $5-12) along with specialty rolls like the Hot on the State with softshell crab, cream cheese, avocado, jalapeno, seared spicy tuna, spicy mayo, unagi sauce and microgreens ($15); and the Bobby with spicy tuna, tempura, tamago, cucumber, crawfish salad, scallions and red tobiko ($15).

There are also options like the Pink Lady with ebi, snow crab, unagi, lettuce, avocado, cucumber, masago, scallion, daikon, spicy mayo, red tobiko, unagi sauce and soy paper ($18); and the Tosa Fab featuring yellowtail, avocado, cilantro and spicy sauce topped with seared white tuna, curry mayo, microgreens and black rice ($16).

Lunch specials

Lunch specials include sushi combos priced $9.95-10.95. Each features 11-12 pieces of maki and chef selected sushi or two full rolls (guests’ choice) served with salad or miso soup. Guests can also order specially priced rice bowls featuring chashu pork or teriyaki tofu, portobello mushrooms chicken or beef served over white rice with a sunny-side-up egg, kale, cabbage, onion, squash, carrots and shiitake mushrooms ($9-11). Each bowl comes with salad or miso soup. Seaweed salad can be substituted for $2 more.

Kin’s soft opening hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m.  Both dine-in and carry-out are available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.