Kenko: A Long Awaited Asian Fusion Restaurant

When I first came to Case Western Reserve University, I was disappointed by the lack of Asian restaurants around campus. Kenko, an Asian fusion restaurant that specializes in sushi, teriyaki and bubble tea, is one of the newest additions to University Circle. I was most excited about the bubble tea; before Kenko’s opened, the closest place to get it was Koko’s Bakery on Payne Avenue, which is not exactly accessible unless you have a car.

When I first tried the bubble tea at Kenko, I was a bit disappointed: It was sweeter than I prefer. (If you’re going to order the bubble tea for the first time, I’d recommend ordering it with less sweetener.) However, Kenko has a lot more than just bubble tea; they offer flavored milk drinks, slushes and punches, and they offer a variety of toppings including pudding, nata and herbal jelly, along with the usual tapioca pearls.

Kenko sells more than just drinks: They also offer sushi and teriyaki. The sushi bar is customizable and made fresh, right in front of you. The sushi is good, perhaps not as good as the sushi at Dynomite or Pacific East, but for $7 and the convenience of being in Uptown, it’s not a bad deal. My only warning is to be careful how you customize the sushi, as it is 50 cents extra per any additional fillings, toppings or sauces.

The teriyaki is a little pricey for $8 a bowl, but it’s probably the most filling option. I also appreciate how they give it to you in a to-go container, so you can save some for another meal. My only complaint is that the rice is a little mushier and wetter than what I prefer, but overall Kenko offers some tasty meals.

Bottom line, Kenko is worth the walk. Right next to Tropical Smoothie, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the North Residential Village. While I do have some criticisms, what I really like about Kenko is their range of options, and I really appreciate the introduction of more traditional Asian flavors to a broader audience. The drinks are fairly affordable at about $4-5.

I was also impressed by how customizable the orders were; the limitless potential for combination ensures there is something for everyone, and you can try something new every time you go. The customer service was excellent—the workers at Kenko are consistently positive and helpful, as they always take care to explain the flavors of the more foreign names and give great recommendations. Susan Oo, a CWRU student and Kenko employee, states:

“Kenko has so many great options, so what I recommend trying really depends on your appetite and what flavors you like in general. If you’re hungry, definitely get a teriyaki bowl, because they’re pretty filling—and don’t forget the Yum Yum sauce with it! The Little Delicious, a specialty sushi roll, is a bit pricey, but it definitely holds up to its name. As for bubble tea, my recommendation for milk tea is taro, but if you prefer fruity flavors, I like the mango green tea. But honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with any.”

So if you’re feeling like something cool on a hot day or craving some sushi or teriyaki, I encourage you to head to Kenko: It’s definitely worth trying.

Restaurant: Kenko: Sushi & Teriyaki
Address: 11310 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland Ohio
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11am – 10pm, Sunday: 1pm – 9pm
Price Range: $4-13