Chef Kim Serves Up Seriously Tasty Sushi at Caneel Bay Resort


Caneel Bay Resort Sushi Chef James Kim and (L to R) sous chefs Shamoy, Aline and Dario, serve up top notch fish selections and speciality rolls during lunch and dinner hours.

The Baja California: a spicy tuna roll with cucumber, cilantro and avocado, wrapped with yellowtail and topped with slices of jalapeños.

Not many experiences on Love City make one think they’re on the island of Manhattan instead of St. John.

But the sushi kitchen at Caneel Bay Resort just might make you pause and question if in fact you’re in a swanky Manhattan Japanese restaurant for a moment. Yes, it’s that good.

Chef James Kim opened the resort’s new sushi kitchen, located adjacent to Caneel’s popular lunch bar and grill area, in November 2012.

Kim brought more than 27 years of experience as a sushi chef to the luxury resort. After learning the ropes at culinary school in his native Japan, Kim worked in NYC for 10 years before opening his own restaurants in the Virginia Beach area.

The chef operated two popular restaurants in the Virginia Beach area for more than 15 years. During that time he won numerous awards, including sushi chef of the year for several years and best sushi restaurant. Kim also worked as a sushi chef instructor at Johnson and Wales University’s Maryland campus.

Kim sold those restaurants last year and moved to St. John to head up Caneel’s sushi kitchen. Since opening in November, the chef has been wowing island residents and Caneel guests alike with his expert knife skills and inventive specialty rolls.

He’s also been training sous chefs Dario, Alaine and Shamoy who have lately impressed even the teacher.

“I’ve been training my helpers since last November,” said Kim. “Everyone is doing a very good job. They are making great rice and showing knife skills.”

Those skills are evident in each expertly prepared roll from the resort’s impressive sushi menu. While there are traditional nigiri and sashimi options available, choose from an assortment of fresh fish including tuna, salmon, mahi and fresh water eel, diners won’t want to miss trying one of Kim’s enticing appetizers or specialty rolls.

Begin the meal with red tuna poke, fresh tuna marinated in garlic, onion and lemon juice and served with pine nuts and a seven spice mix. Or try the tropical flavors of the fresh salmon and mango roll, served with cucumber and avocado, wrapped in sliced salmon and served with a wasabi and vinegar sauce.

Another appetizer standout is Kim’s ceviche, brimming with salmon, wahoo and calamari, tossed with yellow onion, mango and seaweed in a yuzu-konbu vinaigrette.

All of Kim’s specialty rolls, which range in price from $18 to $26, are sure to please. One favorite is the Baja California, a spicy tuna roll with cucumber, cilantro and avocado, wrapped with yellowtail and topped with slices of jalapeños.

The Volcano, a tuna and salmon roll fried in a light, crisp batter and drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce, is another top seller at Caneel’s sushi kitchen.

Other highlights of the menu include the Hybrid, a spicy tuna and asparagus tempura roll, wrapped with seared tuna and topped with scallions and kabayaki sauce, and the Clipper, a California roll topped with spicy tuna and seaweed salad.

There’s actually not much on the menu that doesn’t entice and based on the kitchen’s popularity it seems that word of Kim’s talent is spreading.

“Since we opened we have increased sales each month,” said the sushi chef.

After one taste of Kim’s fish, it’s no wonder Caneel Bay’s sushi kitchen is a favorite for so many residents and island guests.

The resort is also featuring live music at the bar and grill on Friday evenings this month. Stop by between 6 and 9 p.m. and hear Marty Beech on piano while enjoying Kim’s scrumptious sushi.

For more information about Caneel’s sushi kitchen, call the resort at 776-6111.