Address: 631 Corydon Ave
Phone: (204) 452-3656
In Winnipeg’s ‘Little Italy’, chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce have quickly become as ubiquitous as piping hot pizza and pasta. On the Corydon strip from Stafford to Osborne, seven sushi eateries have popped up in the past decade, mirroring the city’s affinity for Japanese cuisine.Of the Corydon sushi spots, Kenko Niwa (‘healthy garden’ in Japanese) is the biggest fish in the koi pond. Offering a perfect combination of well-prepared dishes and three unique dining atmospheres under one roof, the 153-seat restauarnt has a mood and meal for all tastes. In warmer months, take your sashimi on the striking stone patio, a tranquil space despite the bustle on the avenue.The eatery and its sister restaurant Kenko Sushi, also on Corydon, both opened in 2007. New owners took over at Kenko Niwa in January, prompting us to take a look.At first glance, private tatami seating is offered at the front in a bright, partitioned space. The mood drastically changes to that of a cosmopolitan Tokyo-style dining room, with sexy plush red velvet chairs, red napkins, polished dark woods and sleek sushi bar. A third dining area is drenched in sunlight thanks to an overhead skylight.While the decor impresses, the food is equally captivating.The lunch bento boxes, featuring 35 options, are a favourite with the business crowd and a steal starting at only $10.95. It’s worth the $2 substitution for half of Kenko Niwa’s signature Love Love roll that leaves taste buds swooning for more. A generous portion of pollock, avocado and crisp cucumber fill the centre; moist pieces of salmon and fiery tuna, golden tempura crisps and a top secret sweet house sauce perfect this exquisite sweet and savoury roll.
Surprising smoky taste leaps out of the house special green roll, named after its striking lime-green soybean paper wrap. Each decadent piece of roasted garlic shrimp combined with avocado, julienned cucumber, tobiko and tempura is caressed with sweetness from juicy mango slices.
Between sushi bites, savour the incredible nutty, buckwheat flavour of soba noodles bathed in cool, refreshing rice vinegar dressing. Edamame, julienned vegetables and thin, glass-like slices of lemon complete the salad’s simple, yet elegant presentation.
Try the innovative Japanese tortilla for a Mexican twist. Cold, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of tuna and salmon are layered with avocado, thin curls of onion and carrot and radish sprouts atop a bubbly, crispy crust. A drizzle of pink honey plum sauce rounds out this fusion fiesta, making it the menu’s must-have dish.
Kenko Niwa is open Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm; Mon-Thu 5 pm-10 pm;
Fri 5 pm-11:30 pm; Sat noon-11 pm; Sun noon-10 pm.