At Kuu- Japanese gets local, seasonal touch-the raspy green stems

what caught me short was the actual wildness in some of the raspy green stems,
a welcome textural shock; and the subtle, briny intensity of the dehydrated scallop chips
that rose above the greens like ragged sails. At the end, when no scrap of green or yellow remained,
 I lifted the broad bowl and drank all the gentle rice-vinegared cucumber juice that
had served as the simplest of dressings. An exclamation point of tart sorrel leaf here
and a period of deeply roasted, peppery cauliflower there gave structure to the sentence,
which said: "Here's your autumn umami via Japan, by way of the Gulf Coast."

A cushy bar and lounge area leads into a long sushi counter, backed by a dining room with both table and booth seating. Narrow horizontal bands of faux fire pick up the reds in other parts of the room, and tiny overhead spots let diners see the food in all its vivid glory, which is good. (An Egelhoff Napa riesling and Habit sauvignon blanc from Santa Barbara, Calif., were both happy by-the-glass choices.) Even the Asian-themed cocktails are effectively done, with good balance and flavors including lemongrass or ginger that actually make sense in context and complement the food. Cautious diners can use the place as an upscale sushi spot because the last two pages of the four-page menu list all the nigiri sushi and
 sashimi standards, plus a raft of the inevitable sushi rolls - some of which I had to admit looked promising, even though sushi rolls are not my thing. (I tried a Truffle Suzuki handroll, with voluptuous sea bass in a toasted nori cone, and liked it quite a lot.) The nigiri are very good, with a beautiful drape and proportion, although occasionally a tiny overdose of wasabi will jar the .

 Kuu is best approached on an informal tasting-menu basis, by putting together a few bites of ultra-fresh nigiri or sashimi flown in from Japan's Tsukiji Market to start, then going on to one of the cold composed dishes and one of the hot dishes - each of which can serve one focused diner or two dabblers who want to share. [...] was a "madai usuzukuri," or sashimi of sea bream, the satin slices of fish lifted by a ponzu sauce touched with yellow tomato powder, so that you could actually taste the tomato bloom; then smoothed out with olive oil and picked up by crisp daikon threads hiding a compote of golden raisin.