Behold the Bold
May 10, 2017 02:16PM
● By Ashley Pape
There’s a buzz in Dallas around Nikkei, a hot new restaurant that specializes in Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. The word Nikkei, pronounced “nik-ay,” is an expression for Japanese immigrants who left Japan and settled in new countries, one of which was Peru beginning in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The cuisine at Nikkei is a creative merging of flavors and cooking techniques from traditional Japanese and Peruvian cultures. It is nothing short of mesmerizing. Praise for the food, atmosphere and the distinctive dining experience seems to be never-ending.
So who are the masterminds behind these phe- nomenal new dishes served just a stone’s throw away? Should we be surprised that Texas natives are at the helm? Chef Nick Harrison, Nikkei’s corporate chef, has traveled the globe study- ing the culinary arts at some of the world’s most notable institutions, including Le Cor- don Bleu in Paris. He is classically trained in cuisine and pastry creations and even served as a chef consultant in Chile and Lima, Peru. The multifaceted chef has now returned to his Texas roots right here in Dallas.
Executive Chef Ross Demers is the other half of the dynamic duo in the kitchen at Nikkei. Chef Demers grew up spending time in his grandparents’ garden in New Hamp- shire, where he says his fascination for food began. He, like Chef Harrison, also grew up in Texas, but traveled west to California to study at the California School of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. He became well-known in the culinary circles of Los Angeles and then Vail, Colorado, before returning to Texas. At Nikkei, Chef Demers relishes the development and execution of the “sometimes experimental” dishes that he and Chef Harrison create on a daily basis. Together, these two incredibly diverse chefs are able to flawlessly create Japanese-Peruvian cuisine at Nikkei, prepar- ing dishes with honor and respect in the footsteps of the cultural elders of these two regions. Chef Demers passionately describes his style as “in the moment, heartful and soulful.”
When asked about their favorite dish to serve at Nikkei, neither chef hesitated. Their favorite menu item is the Rare Seared Scallop in Spiced Cashew Butter. “The dish really represents the balance and contrast of both worlds,” Chef Harrison says. “You have the raw sweetness of the scallop against the crisp saltiness of the seared side. You also have the earthy fermented flavor of shoyu against the creamy sweetness of the cashew butter. The Jaguar Paw cock- tail pairs well with its sweet and savory fruitiness.”
If Japanese-Peruvian cuisine is new to you, the chefs recommend starting with the salmon at Nik- kei. “Black Garlic Salmon is a nice and easy introduc- tion,” says Chef Demers. “Salmon is approachable and this dish has some amazing Japanese-Peruvian layers on it.”
Nikkei’s dedicated sushi bar is equally as excit- ing as the menu, featuring an abundant array of spe- cialty and prominent classic rolls and sashimi offer- ings. “One of the most popular items among Nikkei’s discerning clientele is the Doble Cangrejo Roll with crisp lump crab, shiso panca, garlic, chili, creamy snow crab and a soy wrapper,” notes Chef Demers.
Chef Harrison created the entire menu at Nikkei, but he humbly passes the kudos on to his culinary colleague. “A menu is just words on a page,” says Chef Harrison. “The true culinary skill comes from Chef Demers. He has really brought those words on the menu to life with amazing execution.”
Saving the best for last, we inquired about the most popular dessert after a Japanese-Peruvian feast. “We probably sell Matcha Hot Plate most,” says Chef Demers. “It’s a molten chocolate cake with a gooey center served on a hot cast iron plate and drizzled tableside with Matcha extract. It’s bubbly, gooey and delicious.”
As for the atmosphere at Nikkei, consider it the ultimate spot for a sophisticated date night. Between the rooftop patio with stunning city views and a soundtrack of mod tunes inside, the entire space feels urban and upscale. Visit for dinner and drinks on the weekend, and the entire venue transforms from restaurant to late-night destination. If you’re in the mood to be daring on your next night out, let Nikkei wow your senses.