In a quiet voice, Masashi Nishizume speaks about the dream that brought him to America. As an 18-year-old with no formal culinary training, he left his family in Himeji, Hy¯ogo in Japan to open a restaurant in the U.S. His travels led him to upstate New York and Lexington, Ky., where he gained experience in the kitchens of Asian restaurants and the skills to run a business.

In 2006, he and his wife Junko opened Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant. His reserved demeanor is well matched to the décor and atmosphere of the establishment where he also serves as chef.

Nishizume calls the hospitality provided “omotenashi,” which means the hearty reception. His goal was an environment that offers an authentic slice of Japanese culture. From the Tatami Room to the menu created only with fresh ingredients, it provides a place for Japanese clients in Northern Kentucky to enjoy a superior traditional meal or conduct business.

It’s also a delightful experience for those looking for fabulous homemade teriyaki and sushi. Nishizume used the first syllables of his parents’ names to create the restaurant’s name, which translates roughly to “beautiful flavor.”

“I like to prepare what I’d want to eat,” says Nishizume

Among the offerings are Berkshire pork breaded with panko and deep fried, or sliced thin and sautéed with a light ginger sauce. Also featured are tempura, sashimi and seafood. Sushi 101 offers a selection – all thoroughly cooked – that includes a California roll, shrimp tempura and deep-fried halibut roll.

“People who have never tried Japanese food are a little afraid of eating raw fish, but try it and you’ll come back. Just try something once,” Nishizume says.

After a six-day work week, Nishizume and his wife, who serves as a hostess, spend Sundays together, often visiting new restaurants. He’s especially fond of Italian food. But true to his own advice, he is always willing to try new things.