We made our way up to Lawrence to try one of the most highly anticipated restaurants on our list, Japú. Japú is serving up Japanese-Peruvian fusion, also known as Nikkei. Nikkei is an extremely popular style of food in South America where it was created, but it has been slow to make its way north. Famously, Nikkei uses Peruvian ingredients in a Japanese style.
Arturo, the owner of Japú, started his culinary career in Chile and has worked in all parts of the restaurant industry. When he came to Lawrence, he saw an abundance of Hispanic food. Columbian, Caribbean, Mexican, Brazilian, you name it– it can be found in Lawrence. But, what Arturo could not find is Nikkei. He saw this as the perfect opportunity to share the food he loved with the city.
At Japú, they have all the Peruvian classics you know and love, such as ceviche and lomo saltado. They absolutely crush these classics, but what makes Japú unique are the dishes that you won’t find at your traditional restaurant. We are still dreaming about the shrimp trilogy. This is shrimp that is cooked tempura-style with a sweet and spicy sauce on top. The tempura coats the shrimp in almost a fried dough-like consistency.
Japú of course has your classic sushi, but Arturo also has many “fishless” sushis, which are perfect if raw fish isn’t for you. He calls it your “entry-level sushi.” It is everything you know and love about sushi, but with Panko chicken. We love our classic sushi, so we were skeptical at first, but once they brought out the roll we were easily won over. The rolls were constructed to perfection, with a delicious house made spicy mayo and eel sauce. They were packed with a ton of flavor, and instead of a buttery fishiness there was more of a savory finish.
We can see spending many an afternoon drinking Pisco sours or one of their various other cocktails and enjoying the patio by the river. The patio is filled with hand-painted tables from local artists and is located by the mills on the water. A bridge in the backdrop reminds you of Lawrence’s mill town heritage.
Japú is bringing a fresh, new style onto the food scene that is dearly missing. With inventive food and drinks it is well worth a trip and many more trips back.
Find Japú on their website and on Instagram: