Originally from San Francisco, half Vietnamese-half Japanese chef Chris Kinjo moved to Atlanta (with his brother, Alex) to open Midtown's MF Sushibar and Nam.
OK, let's get this out of the way -- many people think MF stands for something kinda naughty.
MF stands for "Magic Fingers," which is my nickname because I work so fast. At first we wanted to name it just MF, but then we added the Sushibar part.
How'd you get your start?
I've been making sushi for 16 years. I've cooked in probably 30 restaurants in Florida, New York and California. When I was 15 and living in Los Angeles, I was a troublemaker. I didn't know much about my ethic background. I worked with my first sensei in a 16-seat restaurant. I fell in love with it: Here's a guy having a great time, talking to customers, making beautiful dishes with no cooking, drinking sake. I was amazed by how beautiful a piece of fish could be.
What would you offer folks who are squeamish about sushi?
I get straight to the point. Instead of California rolls, I give them the best piece of fish I have. With real sushi, you don't have to put anything on it.
What's your signature?
It's all about my wild blue fin toro from Toyoko. I have nightmares about getting it. It is a rare fish, 600 pounds, almost extinct. I'm getting one in tomorrow I only order the front portion of the belly, that's one-tenth of the fish and it weighs up to 100 pounds. I'm the only one that will pay that kind of money for fatty tuna, so I get the call.
What's the strangest fish you ever ate?
In English, it's called the ice fish. It looks like sperm. It's like a thread, two or three inches long, skinny, and pure white, with two little bitty black eyes. It's slimy and scary-looking. I try to get people to eat it but it looks too hardcore.
MF Sushibar, 265 Ponce De Leon Ave. 404-815-8844. www.mfsushibar.com.
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