A Taste of Tokyo comes to Westboro via Santiago, Chile By Shawna Wagman
Westboro may have lost one of its travel-gear shops, but it has gained something that’s in much shorter supply in the neighbourhood: a place to grab a quick, healthy bite to eat. José Ponsoda and Myriam Yared, co-owners of The Expedition Shoppe in the ByWard Market, recently closed The North Face Shoppe, their satellite location on Richmond Road, and opened Naked Fish Sushi. Ponsoda, who is also part owner of the Gatineau brewpub Les Brasseurs du Temps Inc., figures the location — right next door to uber-trendy apparel shop Lululemon — is the ideal spot for a “hip, fun, and urban” sushi restaurant. He says his Italian-Spanish background and zest for global travel have exposed him to many great meals, including some of the “freshest sushi in the world” near Tsukiji, Tokyo’s famous fish market.
The plan for Naked Fish Sushi began to take shape in 2005 when Ponsoda’s assistant introduced him to Khosro Gharhemani, a chef at Sushi Go in the Market. They discussed the idea of opening a restaurant in their lingua franca, Spanish. Iranian-born Gharhemani lived in Japan for eight years, where he trained in sushi-making and subsequently opened his own sushi restaurant in Santiago, Chile, where he lived for 10 years before moving to Ottawa in 2005. As the third partner and chef for Naked Fish Sushi, Gharhemani has created a soup, salad, and sushi menu based on what he believes suits Canadian preferences. “Each country has different tastes,” he explains. “In Canada, people like avocado.” The so-called Westboro roll — a combination of Japanese crabstick, cream cheese, cucumber, masago, avocado, and mayonnaise wrapped in a sesame-seed-speckled ribbon of smoked salmon — has already become one of the most popular menu items.
Naked Fish Sushi: 342 Richmond Rd., 613-728-6678, www.nakedfish.ca
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.