Shige Sushi on a roll toward opening

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Shige Sushi & Izakaya hosted prominent members of Sonoma County’s Japanese-American community at the new Maxwell Village restaurant’s soft opening last Sunday. Attendees saw the décor difference from the former Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen immediately, with lots of colorful lanterns and ceremonial jackets.

The most fun was the Kagami Wari Sake Barrel Ceremony in which people break the wooden top (symbolizing a mirror) of the wooden barrel to release a god figure to bless the location, or restaurant in this case. Participants ladled sake into plastic cups and the party was off and running.

Despite the soft opening, owner Shige Mori recommends guests wait until the official opening March 12 to come in, even though he is there training with the staff to make sure everything goes perfectly.

Mori is promising the freshest of ingredients, including usual and unusual fish, all prepared with the deepest reverence for Japanese tradition, with an actual collector’s-quality menu of premium sake. Expect soups, sashimi, 15 roll choices, Japanese salads, and desserts such as green tea ice cream and lychee sorbet, and lots more.

Both Maki Aizawa, who is creating the calligraphy for the Shige sign, and Mitsuyo McDermott will bring in guest master chefs for pop-up dining events. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. 19161 Sonoma Highway.

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