Alexandria, VA

After months of construction, Old Town’s newest sushi restaurant officially opened its doors on Wednesday.

The Handover and King’s Ransom — two different concepts from the owners of The People’s Drug (103 N. Alfred Street)– opened to the public at 728 King Street. The previous occupant of the space, Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper and the PX cocktail bar, closed last summer.

With just 14 seats, The Handover on the ground floor has a minimalist aesthetic, and offers temaki sushi rolls that are presented by skilled hands to diners one at a time, as soon as they’re ready. The restaurant’s menu is lean, too, with a dozen hand rolls, including spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, salmon and hamachi. Customers can wash it all down with an assortment of sake, beer and wine, in addition to super-sweet Japanese Ramune sodas.

Upstairs, King’s Ransom continues the speakeasy-style tradition of PX, with a darker interior and cocktail bar focusing on Japanese whisky. Some of the whisky drinks are chilled and served via a Toki highball machine, which the owners say is the only one of its kind in Virginia — giving the drinks “the perfect temperature while also producing a water with three times the carbonation of champagne, providing a unique effervescence to all highball cocktails.”

Specialty drinks include the foggy wasabi martini, which combines Haku vodka infused with wasabi, ginger green tea dry
vermouth blend and a pinch of sea salt.

The Handover is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and King’s Ransom is open from 5 p.m. to midnight from Sunday to Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The full press release about the opening is below, after the jump.

The Handover and King’s Ransom will open on the first floor of 728 King Street on February 18, 2020. Two unique concepts under the same, iconic roof, the first offers downstairs dining of handrolls and sashimi in a bright, white and minimalist space, and the latter features a sensuous upstairs cocktail bar with the meticulous attention to detail one can expect from a far east inspired restaurant.

Temaki, or handrolls, are assembled by the chef and handed over directly to the diner, without middle- men for the freshest bites. Quick, casual, and healthy temaki filled with the freshest catch placed on the finest rice pillow and wrapped in premium roasted seaweed sheets, can be enjoyed solo or with friends at The Handover. A long, skinny, bamboo bar maximizes the space for individual guest experiences with face-to-face service.

In both spaces, the bar is the focal point to reduce the amount of interference between the maker and the guest. While The Handover is bright and simple, King’s Ransom embraces dark colors and elegance. Long-time Alexandria natives will recall the legacy of 728 King Street as a hideaway for cocktail enthusiasts, a heritage that continues with King’s Ransom. Beverage director Jon Schott’s menu focuses on Japanese Whiskeys and rare spirits. Known for his unique cocktails at The People’s Drug, Schott continues to innovate at the King’s Ransom, home to Virginia’s only Toki Highball Machine. The machine gives whiskeys a water bath, chilling them to the perfect temperature while also producing a water with three times the carbonation of champagne, providing a unique effervescence to all highball cocktails. A rotation of seasonal highballs will be a mainstay at the bar ranging from complex and funky to simple and straightforward – offering something for everyone.

Chef Melvin Urrutia (The People’s Drug) will oversee The Handover’s rotating menu of temaki and sashimi. Urrutia was Chef de Cuisine at Alexandria’s Flying Fish where he sourced and executed the popular fish house menu and sushi program for five years. Chef’s passion for premium seafood and simple com- positions means the ingredients shine at this 14-seat restaurant. A selection of unpretentious temaki include popular selections like avocado miso, spicy tuna, hamachi and shrimp tempura; alongside interest- ing finds like shiitake yamagobo (Japanese pickled burdock root), oshinko (made from pickled daikon), bulgogi steak and a daily chef’s special. Diners can enjoy a small assortment of sashimi as well as nibbles like miso soup, seaweed salad, and edamame with bonito sea salt. Expect eleven regular rolls, with non-seafood and vegetarian options. Prices range from $5 to $11 for any one item. Temaki can be purchased in a combination of three, four, five, or six for $14, $18, $22 and $26 respectively.

Schott along with industry veteran Alex Taylor (Hank’s Oyster Bar) show a respect for the craft in each drink served. The wasabi martini is a riff on a classic dirty combining Haku Vodka infused with wasabi, ginger green tea dry vermouth blend, and a dash of sea salt poured into a chilled coupe glass creating a pleasant green tea fog. A gin-based tiki drink, the So Long and Thanks for the Fish, is served with Tyku Coconut Sake, pineapple, and lime, topped with hibiscus air bubbles. Since everyone deserves to enjoy a specially mixed drink, Schott’s Lovely Day Spanish-style gin and tonic uses Seedlip Garden 108 zero- proof distilled spirit.

Look for five curated highballs, ten rotating cocktails, four spirit-free options, beer and wine. (Prices range from $10-$16). Hours for The Handover are: 11:00am – 10:00pm daily. Hours for King’s Ransom: 5:00pm – 12:00pm Sunday – Thursday and 5:00pm – 1:00am Friday and Saturday.

For more information, please visit thehandoveralx.com and kingsrandsom.com, or follow the team on Instagram @handoveralx and @kingsransom.alx

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