Kotaro “Taro” Arai, Mikuni Japanese Restaurant Group

Taro Arai w_Fish Head_2013
Kotaro “Taro” Arai was born on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu. He was virtuous, carefree, radical, and was forever being sent home from school. At age 15, with the money Taro had saved from doing his paper route, Taro’s father decided to move to America.
In 1987, Taro’s parents opened a modest Japanese restaurant called Mikuni in Fair Oaks, a suburb of Sacramento, California, to provide a living for the family. More than twenty-five years and several locations later, Mikuni is one of the most successful restaurant businesses in the region.
Sushi chef Taro Arai is imaginative, inventive, personable, unpredictable, energetic, eclectic, and even a little bit outrageous. He’s one of the hottest and most renowned sushi chefs to hit the restaurant scene. With eight Mikuni restaurants flourishing in Northern California, Taro is setting a fast pace in the world of sushi. Taro has a natural instinct for creating gastronomical delights that range from traditional Japanese-style sushi to variations designed to please the American palate. He presents a menu unequalled by any sushi bar in the western United States, and has a knack for understanding and satisfying the distinct tastes of his customers. Mikuni has been the winner of the “Best in Sacramento” readership survey continuously since 1998, and under Taro’s leadership, Mikuni sushi chefs have conceived more than 300 original creations—many of them named for their loyal guests.