By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Aug 18, 2023 at 10:02 AM

It was August of 2016 when we brought you the news that a new sushi restaurant, Sushi Yuki (pronounced you-key), was coming to Bay View. 

The eatery held great promise. Owners Jin San Koh and Jenny (Sung Hee) Kim had established a reputation for excellence with their first restaurant, Sakura Japan Sushi & Grill in Waukesha, which they opened in 2008. And the Bay View food scene, while rapidly expanding, did not yet include a restaurant that served sushi.

At first, Koh says, they hoped to simply remodel the former Puente’s Barber Shop at 2349 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. with the hope of opening to the public by mid-2017.

However, as luck would have it, the time-worn building was deemed unfit for the purpose. So Koh and Kim made the decision to raze the building and pursue new construction on the property. The original building was demolished in 2019 and, although the new building was erected, plans stalled again in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From there, Koh says, things moved ahead, but not without further delays due to interior construction, city paperwork, patio design and countless unforeseen set-backs.

Exterior of Sushi YukiX

Worth the wait

But the wait is nearly over.  Seven years later, owners Koh and Kim are preparing to introduce their long-awaited restaurant to the neighborhood. And, based on a first look at the space and menu, Sushi Yuki is likely to be an eatery worth waiting for.

“It took a long time,” admits Koh. “But we had a dream for Sushi Yuki, and we were able to build the restaurant that we wanted. It has a full basement, a larger dining room and kitchen and a beautiful patio.”

Bay View residents and curious diners are invited to get a first taste of the restaurant’s offerings during a public soft opening to be held next Friday, Aug. 25 and Saturday, Aug. 26 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The preview is open to walk-ins only with a limit of 50 customers per evening. 

Following the soft opening, Sushi Yuki will officially open to the public on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

An artful space

Sushi Yuki, which means "sushi snow", is named as an homage to Wisconsin winters, a phenomenon that took Koh and Kim by surprise when they made the decision to relocate to the Dairy State. 

“We were surprised,” says Koh. “There was so much snow here. But we found it to be beautiful, peaceful.” 

A native of Seoul, Korea, Koh pursued his culinary education in Japan where he graduated at the top of his class from the highly esteemed Tokyo Sushi Academy. 

Jin Koh
Owner and sushi chef Jin Koh

Kim, whose job included international travel, fell in love with the U.S. during her visits. Eventually, she persuaded Koh to make the move to Wisconsin where her cousin lived. And it was in Wisconsin where Koh was able to share his knowledge and mastery of Japanese fare with a larger audience.

Sushi Yuki, he says, has been a labor of love, built with the help of family. The restaurant sports clean lines and a modern industrial feel that embraces a neutral palette of black, grey and white accented by the warmth of natural wood.

Front dining room at Sushi Yuki
Front dining room at Sushi Yuki

The raw edge tables in the dining room were hand built by Koh and his son Sam, who painstakingly cut the table tops from large planks, sanding, varnishing and mounting them on their bases one by one.

Sam (AKA Gosam), an accomplished artist who earned his degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, is also the creator of the paintings which hang on the walls in the dining room, contributing to an artful, gallery-esque aesthetic.

Dining room and artX

The black bar, which stretches along the Northern wall, is backed by white tile and shelving that holds glassware for various drinks, including Japanese and domestic beer, cocktails and sake, including Sushi Yuki’s house sake, Ozeki, which can be enjoyed both hot or cold. 

Bar at Sushi YukiX

Atsukan (hot sake) served in warmed vessels will also be a feature during special winter events on Sushi Yuki’s beautiful patio, where guests will be invited to gather and experience the contrast between the Wisconsin chill and the warming effect of the fermented rice beverage.

Patio at Sushi YukiX

During the summer months, the patio – which is framed out by beautiful landscaping designed by Kim – will be open for al fresco dining. But Koh says they also hope to activate the outdoor space with special events, including some which might showcase freshly grilled Korean-style BBQ or yakitori.

Buddha in patio garden at Sushi YukiX

On the menu

The beautiful environment inside of Sushi Yuki is meant to complement the dining experience, which showcases Koh’s attention to flavor and balance.

“When I prepare food, I put my entire self into it,” says Koh, noting that his mind focuses on technique while his heart and soul rule the creative aspects of his work. “My mind, my soul and my heart are in everything that I do.”

Fans of Sakura will find some familiar dishes on the menu, along with a fair number of new items which are unique to Sushi Yuki. The lion’s share of offerings are made from scratch, including various sauces, which are created to harness umami, balance and depth. They differ from some sushi restaurants, Koh notes, which tend to serve sauces that err on the sweeter side that are made with ingredients like corn syrup to enhance their texture.

Appetizers include standards like edamame and gyoza (veggie, pork, chicken) and tempura (vegetables, shrimp and squid) along with salads, including a signature salad offered as a complimentary item to guests featuring Koh’s signature house dressing composed of soy, wasabi, garlic, vinegar and sesame.

Entrees include teriyaki (grilled chicken, beef, salmon, shrimp or tofu), bulgogi and chicken karage served with a side of rice and miso soup.

On the sushi side, guests will find a full complement of offerings from sashimi and nigiri to vegetarian and vegan, standard house rolls and specialty rolls. Groups can also take advantage of sushi boats and all-inclusive meal sets for a set price.

All offerings, Koh notes, are made with the highest quality fish, some of which he drives to Chicago to source. “It’s quality over convenience,” he says.

Guests can get a feel for Koh’s style by trying his Omakase roll, an ever-changing creation that showcases the chef’s choice of fish and accompaniments.

Also recommended is the summery Green Sky Roll, featuring yellow tail, salmon, white tuna and tilapia topped with lemon, serrano pepper slices and a unique sauce made with ponzu, basil, garlic and olive oil.

“The combination favors acidity more than most sushi rolls,” Koh says, “But it has a beautiful texture and the sauce balances the acid beautifully.”

Sushi Yuki will also feature two or three special rolls each week in addition to the offerings on their regular menu.

Koh emphasizes that Sushi Yuki’s kitchen is free from MSG and nuts. In fact, guests with specific food allergies should be sure to tell the host before they are seated; whenever possible accommodations will be made for gluten-free and low-sodium offerings. Special requests can also be honored when made in advance.

Ultimately, Koh says, they would like dining guests to leave the restaurant feeling happy and satisfied.

“We want people to come here to enjoy excellent food and drinks,” says Koh. “We want their souls to feel relaxed and refreshed. We want people to have a happy time here.”


Beginning Aug. 30 Sushi Yuki will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 9 p.m. (bar hours 3 p.m. to midnight); Friday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. (bar hours 3 p.m. to midnight); Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. (bar hours 3 p.m. to midnight); and Sunday from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.