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Kone Temaki Sake Lounge Serves Fat Sushi Rolls In South Beach

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Technically speaking, Kone Temaki Sake Lounge does not serve fat sushi rolls/ But as the name suggests, it specializes in temaki, or sushi cones. Temaki looks like an ice cream cone, but is a little smaller -- the nori serves as the "cone" and raw fish, rice, and whatever else you decide to add becomes the "ice cream." But instead of melting, it spills out. These are very popular among the Japanese living in Brazil.

There are kones and there are special kones, the latter generally implying whimsy with the ingredients. We tried a "crunchy monster" with spicy tuna, crunchy tempura, avocado, eel sauce, and I'm really not certain what was drizzled on ($8.75). Another cone sampled -- one in which we could actually taste the fish -- brought small cubes of fresh yellowtail rolled with ripe avocado and scallions ($8.50). It was much better for my taste, though the sloppy, over-the-top types seem to be very popular. All the kones are under $10.

Many of the numerous cone variations utilize cream cheese, avocado, scallions, and tempura. Eating one of these kones really is like ingesting a big fat sushi roll. Granted, it's not the sushi you'll find at the finer Japanese establishments, but it's fresh fish and tasty enough to grab as a snack.

Regular sushi rolls, various sashimi, and appetizers such as gyoza, assorted tempura and agedashi fried tofu are offered as well. One such starter, "karage" chicken, looks like it would rhyme with "garage" but it does not; it's usually spelled kara-age or karaage. Any way you want to say it, the dish brings a dozen or so nuggets of tempura-crusted white meat. The coat wasn't as crunchy as one would hope, but it was well-seasoned, and the chicken within was wonderfully moist, served with a piquant mayonnaise-based dip ($8).

Kone provides indoor seating in a stylish space with a sushi bar, as well as an outdoor patio on the rather active SoBe corner of Washington Avenue and Fifth Street. The staff is very friendly, but there's delivery too if you'd rather eat in. If you want a scene with your temaki, head to Kone late at night, particularly on weekends. There are lots of sake cocktails being poured at this hour. Earlier in the evening, Kone works as a peaceful spot to enjoy a light, affordable meal.

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