Kazumi Japanese Steak & Sushi Bar opened last month in Holt. The traditional hibachi-style grill took over the location of Famous Dave’s, which closed last December.
Metro Lansing’s newest restaurant acts as both dinner and a show for local culture hounds looking to multi-task on their date nights. Last month, Kazumi Japanese Steak & Sushi Bar opened in Holt, inspiring diners on the south side to eat all their grilled veggies because, hey, the chef’s working hard over this grill for YOU, pal.
“We get everyone from people who don’t even like Japanese cuisine but really like the way we cook our steaks to people who eat sushi five times a week,” said Kazumi general manager Alex Lin. “But first and foremost, this food is healthy. It’s cooked with very little oil in a traditional Japanese style that maintains the flavor of the fresh ingredients.”
Kazumi is a teppanyaki, commonly known as hibachi, restaurant, where you can belly right up to a massive iron griddle where your steak, seafood and sides are all cooked to order. The style of restaurant was popularized in the U.S. by the Benihana chain, where the chefs serve double duty as entertainers.
“People love the flair,” Lin said. “It’s probably the main reason they come in. We’re really popular for special events like birthday and graduation parties.”
Kazumi features eight grilling tables where diners get up-closeand-personal to giant balls of flame shooting off the grill, eggs spinning on spatulas and shrimp being flipped through the air onto plates — or into pockets and hats if the chef thinks he can get a laugh. Lin’s family opened the original Kazumi — the name means “beautiful harmony” in Japanese — in Muskegon in 2012. The success they found in West Michigan inspired them to branch out.
“Holt is central to a lot of interesting and diverse neighborhoods, so it was just a matter of making it work,” Lin said.
Like the new location, the first Kazumi opened inside a former Famous Dave’s barbecue restaurant. Lin said his family worked with Famous Dave's operator Big Ten Ribs Inc. on the Muskegon store, and that relationship facilitated the expansion. The Famous Dave’s in Holt closed last December, citing low sales volume, but Lin said he thinks Kazumi has what it takes to flourish.
"There aren’t a lot of sushi options in Holt, and no other hibachi restaurants,” Lin said. "It’s exciting to bring something cool to the area. It seems ready for it.”
Kazumi anchors the south in the Lansing-area Japanese steakhouse market, joining the 25-year-old Ukai Japanese Steakhouse, 2167 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos, and the two Ukai Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar locations, 754 Delta Commerce Drive in Delta Township and 2314 Woodlake Drive in Okemos.
The menu ranges from traditional surf and turf options — filet mignon, shrimp, lobster, and red snapper — to more adventurous cuisine, including a roster of sushi and sashimi offerings. The menu also includes traditional pan-Asian dishes such as pad thai, coconut shrimp and General Tso’s chicken, as well as a full bar.
“We’ve had a great reaction based on our first few weeks being open,” Lin said. “It’s really like an all-in-one date night spot.”
Kazumi Japanese Steakhouse 2457 Cedar St., Holt 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday (517) 889-5118, kazumiholt.com