A new restaurant comes to Deep Ellum with some Las Vegas energy. Called Hibiki, it opened on October 8 at 2651 Commerce St., in the space that was previously Amsterdam Falafelshop, next-door to the now closed Parlor bar.
Hibiki comes from a pair of chefs — Franky Shin and JB Kim — who worked together at a sushi restaurant in Las Vegas.
Chef Shin was first to relocate to the Dallas area, and opened Sushi Lover, a restaurant in Plano. Kim moved here last year and the two decided to partner up on a new restaurant, says spokeswoman Vicky Kim.
"They met after working together at I Love Sushi, one of the busiest Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas," she says. "After Franky moved to Texas, he saw the opportunity to open a restaurant here, so he and JB formed a partnership."
They looked for the right location and discovered Deep Ellum. They've done a good job transforming the Amsterdam Falafelshop space, for starters getting rid of the strange community table that used to stop traffic (not in a good way) in the center of the restaurant and turning it into a sleek space lined with chic, dark wood, with a sushi bar to the right.
"We found a great place in Deep Ellum," she says. "Deep Ellum is ideal because it has so much foot traffic. It's also promising because there aren't many other sushi restaurants, so we have less competition."
They also met up with a surprisingly friendly landlord in Asana, the North Carolina-based company that owns many properties in Deep Ellum, who specifically wanted businesses that were not just bars. "For Deep Ellum, they are looking for people who do regular restaurants, who do just dining," she says.
Hibiki has some of your prototypical dishes including chicken teriyaki, noodles, and tempura.
"We offer a lot of appetizers, and people seem to love the small dishes," she says. "If you've heard of the izakaya Japanese pub concept, it's a little like that — like tapas, where people can come and have drinks and snacks."
They're also filling another big niche — the affordable lunch — with bento boxes.
They have a massive selection of specialty rolls, somewhere between 70 to 80 rolls, depending on what they're offering for specials.
And while they are not a bar, they do have a bar, with Japanese whiskey, a current trend, along with sake, sake bombs, and other cocktails. They stay open late on weekends — until 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights — and have a happy hour Mondays-Thursdays from 5-7 pm with drinks specials and select sushi rolls.
"But we'd like to think that we will also be introducing high-quality sushi and Japanese food," she says.