Sarasota Sushi Restaurant Grows

On a Roll


Daniel Dokko, owner of one of Sarasota’s most loved Sushi spots, Jpan, is a very busy man. As the proverbial heartbeat of his restaurant, it isn’t uncommon to see him seat his guests, take their drink orders and check up on them throughout their meal. He cares about every aspect of his business, from the service to the food to the experience. 

As he begins work on a second location, scheduled to open in March of next year, Daniel is busier than ever and is in no shortage of inspiration. “Jpan Sushi and Grill will be a different experience than our current location,” said Dokko about the new location in the University Town Center corridor. “We can’t wait to bring a traditional Japanese style of called robatayaki to Sarasota. Vegetables and proteins are cooked at a very high heat over white charcoal, which seals in the flavors. It is a more rustic way to cook, which will offer an interesting balance to delicate sushi techniques we use.”

Every year, Dokko sets out on a culinary adventure to learn new trends, flavors and techniques in Asian cuisine. “On my last visit to Japan, I spent time at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I had a sashimi breakfast at 3 a.m., sushi for lunch and snacks and again for dinner, all at the market. It is the best place to learn and taste and get ideas,” said Dokko. “I’ve traveled to Vietnam and sampled simple food from vendors in markets that have inspired some of the fusion dishes at Jpan. A lot of what I learn on these trips is not from fancy chefs or high-end restaurants, I usually get inspired from the people who are catching fish and selling the produce. They know food on a different level.”  

Serious about technique and authentic flavors, Dokko and his team of sushi chefs know that the process of preparing fine food takes time and a dedication to skill. “Making sushi is just as much about learning a culture as it is about food. It takes three years just to master the perfect sushi rice. The way each type of fish is sliced is different. It takes a lot of patience and time to have a menu ready to serve to guests,” said Dokko. The new restaurant will offer an elevated sushi menu using specialty ingredients that don’t usually show up at traditional restaurants. These rolls will have limited availability and their preparation will include new techniques and creative engineering. “I love sea urchin (also called Uni) and working with ingredients that are harder to come across,” said Dokko in reference to the types of ingredients he enjoys the most. 

“I’m also excited about introducing Sarasota to some produce that they might not know about,” said Dokko about the emerging menu for Jpan Sushi and Grill. “Shimeji mushrooms are one of my favorite things to cook. They are buttery and delicious. Preparing them over the hot charcoal is going to really bring out their flavor. I really think people will love it.” 

Jpan is a member of Nosh, the SRQ Magazine content marketing program for local restaurants.

Jpan Restaurant | 3 Paradise Plaza | 941-954-5726


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