Maru Sushi & Grill Brings New Flavor to Prairiefire
Written by Tiffany Killoren / Photo by Jami Marshall
Named after the old Korean word for “peak of the mountain,” Prairiefire’s new Maru Sushi & Grill aims to impress clientele with its top-of-the-line, unique dishes. Even the restaurant’s logo, which was designed by a Korean artist, incorporates a mountain into the name itself, a hint to customers that their experience at the sushi restaurant will be memorable and truly authentic.
Celebrating its grand opening in November 2017, Maru Sushi & Grill is the product of experience, passion, and loyalty. Owner Alex Han, who has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years and considers Oregon home, traveled to Kansas City at the encouragement of one of his chefs.
“The first time that I came here, I really liked the area and started to get more interested.” With another restaurant and his family in Oregon, Han relies on his responsible and passionate staff to run the business here while he travels back and forth.
It’s that skill and passion that forms the heart of Maru Sushi & Grill. The eclectic dishes include modern and traditional sushi, sashimi, salads, appetizers, and desserts. Consistent across the menu is Han’s goal to combine the highest quality sushi with the best possible service to turn first-time customers into regular visitors.
Traditional sushi maintains its origin — the wrapping of fermented fish in rice as a trusted way to preserve food for long journeys before refrigeration was an option. In traditional sushi, “fish is the most important thing in traditional sushi, and also perfectly cooked rice. Not too flaky and not too soft, is important to make tasty sushi” Han explains. “People who enjoy sushi want to taste the freshness of the fish. We serve fish with different kinds of sauce to maximize the taste sushi and freshness of fish.”
Modern sushi — or fusion sushi — offers a twist on the traditional. “Fusion means we use different herbs and different types of spices to create new dishes,” Han explains. His fusion sushi chef, Sky Ra, was a sous chef in New York before joining Maru Sushi & Grill and is skilled at creating new and unique dishes for those looking to branch out. (Think basil, pesto, and other nontraditional sauces.)
Jung Choi, Maru’s kitchen chef, rounds out a culinary trifecta. “The three chefs are great together,” Han says. “They all have different styles.” Although his chefs are skilled at preparing any type of sushi, they specialize in particular areas and are already making a name for themselves among returning customers.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in sushi tasting experiences, Han suggests trying the restaurant’s omakase menu, which is a premium “chef’s choice” multi-course meal. On the opposite end of the spectrum — and for the no-raw-fish-for-me crowd — Maru Sushi & Grill also offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free menu options. Like its cuisine, the restaurant offers a mix of modern and traditional design, its soothing zen-like music and comfortable seating both inviting and refined. With a semi-private space for large gatherings, Han hopes to offer private catering services as business continues to grow.
A true family man both at home and work, Han beams with pride at everyone’s accomplishments. His son, Andy, is studying art in New York and his daughter, Joy, is a sophomore in high school. “She’s a joyful girl,” Han says, laughing at a name that well-suits his daughter. Married to his wife, Shin, for 25 years, Han considers his success a team effort that starts at home. “I’m thankful to my wife for taking such great care of our family.”
Han believes the secret to Maru Sushi & Grill’s success begins with a strong foundation. “My role here is to make a good environment for people to work in,” he says. Like the mountain peak that it stands for, Han’s vision for his new restaurant is powerful in its simplicity. “I want everyone to enjoy their job, prepare the best quality sushi, and keep customers happy and coming back.”
Maru Sushi & Grill is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily. It’s located at 5621 W. 135th St., Suite 2620 in Overland Park. Call 913.258.5879 or visit marusushiop.com for more info.