Founded in 1999 on Sawtelle Boulevard, Chef-owner Ken Namba named the restaurant Kiriko after Edo (present day Tokyo) Kiriko, a Japanese glass craft with the technique of cutting patterns into the surface of glass cultivated amongst the townspeople during the Meiji era (mid-19th century). The craft introduced western influences while preserving traditional techniques. Ken envisions his restaurant will carry out the same philosophy.Kiriko delivers an authentic taste of Japan with creative flair from the modern influences of sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Chef Ken provides a daily tapas style (small plate) menu that changes with the season and offerings of the marketplace. The setting seems simple but the high quality sushichef from Kiriko present delectable varieties. Chef Shinji, Chef Kiyoshi and Chef Tomotaka were trained in Japan, and they share the same passion to preserve the purity of the Japanese taste and style.
Born in Tsukiji, Japan, Ken Namba has spent most of his life in “The Tsukiji Market” which is known as the largest wholesale marine products market in the world. His training reaches back to childhood, where he grew up in the kitchens of his mother’s restaurants in Tsukiji. In 1974, he became a sushi apprentice at respected sushi restaurants in Urayasu, Chiba and four years later, Ken left his homeland to bring authentic Japanese cuisine to Los Angeles, working at Teru Sushi as kitchen supervisor. In 1992, he opened his own restaurant in Korea Town. Upon selling his restaurant, he traveled the globe with stops in Ecuador, Bali and Malaysia where he worked as an executive chef. In 1999, he returned to Los Angeles with a new perspective and opened Kiriko.
Ken is active in his community, participating in food charity events for homeless children. Ken’s food has been recognized by Jonathan Gold at L.A. Weekly as “one of the most magnificent mouthfuls of food imaginable”. He has also earned recognition in The Michelin Guide.
Ken possesses a wide range of knowledge, and is able to bring creative menus using the most outstanding fish, the freshest produce and his own sense of style. As a professional chef and a certified sake sommelier, he respects the primary ingredients and creates a balance of image, textures and flavors. The inspiration of the seasons, blended with South American, South East and East Asian training enable Chef Ken to manifest himself not only as a chef but also as an artist.