Photos: Aoba, a new Japanese and sushi restaurant, opens in LoDo

Lori Midson
A glitch with the size of the front door may have created frustrating zoning issues for owner Cindy Wang, and brothers (and sushi chefs) Mike Nakanishi and Ken Zheng, but on Monday, Aoba, a new Japanese and sushi restaurant, finally opened in the former Organixx space at 1520 Blake Street.

"We had to change the door -- it was too tall -- and we had to move it back to where it was originally, but we got it all sorted out, and after having a big party over the weekend, we opened on Monday, and things are going well," says Nakanishi, who cooked in several sushi restaurants in Las Vegas and New York before moving to Denver -- a city, he says, that has "incredibly nice people" -- three months ago.

The serene space, complemented by a large sushi bar, a bar-bar shelved with sakes and wines, stark white booths and tables, ebony floors, exposed brick and sconce lighting, looks -- and feels -- moneyed, and the food, a litany of sushi, sashimi and rolls, more than a dozen salads, a large selection of noodle dishes, rice plates and skewers and an impressive section devoted to nothing but tempura dishes, should give Japanese cuisine aficionados a swank space in which to hobnob.

And the fish, contends Nakanishi, is as good as it gets. "We use a Tokyo-headquartered Japanese supplier with a branch in Denver -- we trust them -- to get really great quality fish, and in the future, we're going to start importing some of our fish directly from Japan," he says.

Here's a glimpse of what the sushi chefs and kitchen are turning out, along with snapshots of the space.

Lori Midson

Lori Midson

Lori Midson

Lori Midson

Lori Midson

Location Info


1520 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Tried this place last night and was surprised to see how empty it was on a Friday. Get there soon because once word spreads it won't be so easy to get in on the weekend.

The food was absolutely fantastic. From the blue crab miso, to the fried salmon cake all the appetizers were top notch. The sushi itself was some of the freshest you will find in Denver.

Thanks for the tip Westword. 


My partner and I just stole an hour away from work to check this new place out. Day five of opening and it's got a lot of stuff right already-- service was impeccable and food delicious. It was a great deal for the amount of sushi we got-- we each got 12 pieces of sashimi (lunch special) with miso soup, we shared a cucumber roll, and had some tea. With tax and tip we got out at $25/person. High for lunch, but the perfect Friday treat!

Also, if you're gluten-free, this place really pays attention. The waiter warned me about what I could not order in the future and checked with the kitchen about the miso soup and confirmed with me, all without me asking him to.

Definitely the best sushi downtown. Better than Ifish (substantially better in fact) and sonoda's. Not as good as Sushi Sasa or Sushi Den. 

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