By Ed Martin, Editor
Sunny Law (right) and wife Fanny (beside him) at the grand opening Saturday (Sept. 23) of their 201 Kitchen in Hanford, adjacent to the Costco.
Sunny Law (right) and wife Fanny (beside him) at the grand opening Saturday (Sept. 23) of their 201 Kitchen in Hanford, adjacent to the Costco.

It’s a quiet Saturday night, and your overactive taste buds are sending unconscious signals that they crave Japanese food – but you want the real stuff, not the fast-food version or that tray of California rolls sitting sedentary in the refrigeration section of your local market.

Unfortunately, the typical household budget doesn’t usually allow for weekly trans-Pacific flights to Japan. So then, just how does one satisfy an unexpected sushi fix?

It’s relatively easy if you live in Lemoore, and now, as of Sept. 23, in Hanford. And you won’t need an airline ticket – maybe a GPS to find the nearest California roll.

On Saturday (Sept. 23), in the Costco Shopping Center on the outskirts of Hanford, local entrepreneur and certified chef Sunny Law, trained in one of the best culinary schools in the country, along with wife Fanny, officially opened their third Japanese eatery, and they call it the 201 Kitchen. The other two are both in Lemoore, Bobo Island, across from the Lemoore Stadium Cinemas and Sushi Table, found in the Save Mart Center.

All three restaurants prepare top-notch Japanese food – sushi, sashimi, poke bowls, and more – everything required to satisfy those pining taste buds.

Their owner, 52-year-old Law, a native of Hong Kong and trained at California’s prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), knows what he’s doing. He’s not only trained in Japanese food, but the soft-spoken and engaging chef and owner of The Sushi Table knows his way around French cuisine and several other varieties of dining.

Lemoore Chamber of Commerce members and friends helped welcome Sunny Law and wife Fanny as they opened their new 201 Kitchen in Hanford.
Lemoore Chamber of Commerce members and friends helped welcome Sunny Law and wife Fanny as they opened their new 201 Kitchen in Hanford.

And he’s bringing the same cuisine, or a version of it to his new 201 Kitchen, located at 2453 Lacey Blvd. in Hanford – in the Costco Shopping Center.

Law calls his favorite cuisine his “World of Flavors” and he captures that “world” in his Lemoore restaurants where some of the best sushi this side of Tokyo can be found. The guy wasn’t satisfied with just his one restaurant. He had to have three, including now his newest, where he specializes in the new cuisine termed “poke bowls,” a combination of sushi, rice, traditional Asian cuisine – all in a bowl.

“A lot of people they really like the Boba (Island), and they like the sushi at Sushi Table too. Two years ago, we decided to open (a restaurant) in Hanford. We decided to open the “poke” restaurant because it’s really popular in the United States now.”

Sushi Table Website

A native of Canton, China, the likable Law, who lived and attended school in Hong Kong, migrated to America to join most of his family in 1987. He has four brothers and two sisters, all of whom live in San Francisco. His 92-year-old mother lives in the Bay Area as well. Law is the youngest of the clan.

He still retains his strong, recognizable Chinese accent as he rattles off a long list of activities, which include his dabbling in the personal and private chef business, his extensive catering, his affiliation with the U.S. Personal Chef Services Private Culinary Instruction (it teaches meal design and menu planning). He also enjoys his role as a teacher in the “Master Chefs Series Presents Japanese Cooking” program. His friends call him a sushi artist.

After finishing school in Hong Kong, Law hopped a plane and joined the rest of his family in San Francisco. “My father, mother, brothers, and sisters were all here,” he said. “My grandfather came here in the 1940s.”

He said his initial plans were to learn about cooking. “I liked to cook,” he said. “I like to eat, and I like food. I guess that’s why I like what I’m doing.” Armed with his Hong Kong training, he arrived in the United States prepared to become a chef. Instead, his first job was as a dishwasher in a Bay Area restaurant. But that didn’t last long.

In 1990 he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America where he spent about two years learning the fine arts of cooking, everything from Japanese to French cuisine. “I learned French cooking, Italian cooking. The Institute had everything.”

Once ensconced with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to prepare an edible meal, Law’s first chef’s job was in the Milano Hotel in downtown San Francisco. He was there for a year before deciding to venture out on his own, opening a Japanese restaurant in San Rafael.

It was a success, and he sold it after about five years. He had other ports of call on his mind. “I went to New York and started another restaurant,” he said, “in Manhattan on Wall Street. It too became a hit with the business-suit types in Manhattan and Wall Street. The popular place opened in 2006 but closed two years later when the building’s owner decided to renovate the structure.

He arrived in the Valley where Law and a friend opened a Japanese restaurant in Fresno’s River Park area. He named it Oyamo. After five years he sold his share, and in 2010 Law and his wife Fanny came to Lemoore where they purchase Boba Island and immediately started producing sushi. “We came to Lemoore, and we liked it so we decided to stay here.” He opened Sushi Table in 2012.

There are many in Lemoore happy he’s here. Law has found a home here, and he and Fanny have come to embrace their new hometown. Their daughter Bonnie, a Lemoore High School valedictorian, is currently a business student at the University of California at Berkeley.

Local optometrist and Kings Lions Club Past President Jeff Garcia appreciates Law’s contributions to Lemoore. “Sunny has always made himself available for all of our (Kings Lions Club) fundraisers, community service events and meetings, despite the fact that he owns and operates two busy restaurants, Sushi Table and Boba Island,” said Garcia.

“He treats all of us as a family, and he understands the inherent value of service and is committed to giving back to our community and to those less fortunate without any thought of receiving recognition or praise. He gives because that is just the kind of person he is.”

Law employs 15 people in his Lemoore restaurant and will hire more people in his Hanford restaurant.