Restaurant News & Reviews

Japanese tapas has a new home in Lexington, but don't call it a restaurant

You know a place is good when other chefs praise it: Kara Mardell, chef for Gastro Gnomes Food Truck and sous chef at Oscar Diggs, called her meal at the Yamaguchis' new place "incredible."
You know a place is good when other chefs praise it: Kara Mardell, chef for Gastro Gnomes Food Truck and sous chef at Oscar Diggs, called her meal at the Yamaguchis' new place "incredible."

A new place has opened in Lexington with faces that will be familiar to those who love Japanese food. Hidenori and Shima Yamaguchi, who closed their popular Yamaguchi's Sake and Tapas on Codell Drive in 2015, have opened SRO at 123 West Sixth Street.

The place features the Japanese-style tapas that the Yamaguchis have been serving as a pop-up restaurant at local breweries for the past few years. But it isn't a restaurant, or isn't primarily a restaurant.

The bar, which has no seating, had a soft opening on June 8. "We serve small nibbles and bar bites for our guests to mingle, hang out, socialize and relax over drinks," Hidenori Yamaguchi said. "We keep food menus small, so food will not be the focus."

SRO will be open Thursday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight, and the Yamaguchis will still do pop-ups at the NoLi Night Market on the first Friday of the month and at Country Boy Brewing every Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m.

Yamaguchi said in a message that while they serve food, it isn't really meant to be a meal. "What we serve is bar food that compliments drinks," he said. "We have great selections of sake, shochu, sprits, and craft beers."

Despite that, fans are raving about the food on social media. One praised the place as "by far the best traditional Japanese place here in Lexington! The vibe is amazing and I love that it's just down the street from ArtLab & North Lime Donuts."

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