Japanese Food

Kenzi Hibachi Express to open in Pekin with Japanese food

Kenzi Hibachi Express is coming to Pekin at least partially as a result of a Google search on the part of the restaurant’s co-owners.

When Ikomang Kembaryasa and his wife, Niwayan K.S. Utari, decided to relocate from Rockford and open a Japanese restaurant, they were searching for a community where they could break new ground. They chose Pekin because it was a community where they could be the first to offer Japanese cuisine.

“I was searching for places that don’t have a lot of Asian food,” said Kembaryasa. “When Pekin came up, we saw they don’t have any Japanese restaurants here.”

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The working space of Kenzi Hibachi Express is nearly ready to go with new appliances and kitchen supplies.

Kembaryasa, a chef with 15 years of experience, developed his craft working at a Japanese restaurant in Wisconsin before deciding to go into business for himself. Kenzi will feature the cuisine typical of a Japanese steakhouse — including steak, shrimp, scallops, salmon and noodle dishes — but will offer it from a mobile kitchen rather than cooking it tableside in a sit-down restaurant.

“It’s a hibachi restaurant without the show,” Kembaryasa said. “Hopefully, the community will welcome us and come and try our food.”