Restaurateur Alberto Lombardi is trying on a new cuisine with his latest concept. They call it KĀI, although we'll probably go with Kai, because all caps are not cool; it's an original Japanese-themed concept opening at the booming Legacy West development in Plano.
Construction recently began at 7301 Windrose Ave., and they anticipate a "late summer" opening.
This is the third Lombardi Family Concepts restaurant to open in Legacy West, following the Italian restaurant Taverna which opened in November 2017, and the French concept Toulouse, which opened in March 2018.
Kai is centered around an open robatayaki kitchen. As you already know if you've googled "robatayaki," it's a method of cooking similar to barbecue, in which food is cooked over hot charcoal.
The restaurant will serve sushi robata Asian offerings with some Chinese, Japanese, and Thai influences.
Chef is King Dey, which a release describes as a "world-renowned highly educated culinary mastermind" with more than 20 years of experience. He began his career training in Bangkok and Toyko where he learned Pan Asian and Japanese cuisines. Most recently, he was executive chef at Walker Bluff Winery and Restaurant in Illinois, 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, where he managed four different restaurant concepts.
In a release, Alberto Lombardi says he's been envisioning Kai in his head for years, but was waiting for the right time and location.
"When I learned about the plans for Legacy West, the stars finally aligned, and I am thrilled that my vision is now unfolding," he says. "As with all our restaurants, Kai will offer more than an extraordinary menu featuring unexpected dishes and something for everyone. It will also be a one-of-a-kind dining destination where our guests can gather and feel like they've been transported to the Orient. Chef King is truly outstanding and the menu he is creating will be unlike anything else in the area."
The 5,500-square-foot restaurant will feature a light and airy interior, with a full-service lounge, private dining room, three bars, and two patios overlooking the skyline. Which skyline, they do not say.
The space will draw inspiration from American mid-century modern design, with inviting wood tones.
Kai will serve lunch and dinner daily, staying open late at night: Sunday-Wednesday until midnight and Thursday-Saturday until 1 am. KĀI will also serve brunch on Sundays.