Charlotte’s freshest catch and sushi.
Executive Chef/Partner Gene Kato and his team take the freshest catch from fishermen across the country and forge remarkable, Asian-inspired dishes each day. They also source the very best in American beef, lamb, pork, and fowl to create exciting riffs on Pacific Rim traditions. The restaurant’s full sushi bar features a variety of artful rolls, as well as sashimi and nigiri, all prepared with the freshest fish on the market. Grab a seat in Upstream’s comfortably chic lounge to indulge in local craft beers, inventive cocktails or fine wines while noshing on shareable small plates. With a passion for fresh seafood and local ingredients, interesting wines and spirits, and exceptional hospitality, Upstream is a must-visit in Charlotte.
Chef/Partner Gene Kato
Gene Kato, an innovator of Japanese cuisine in the U.S., is best known for his chef-driven restaurant, Sumi Robata Bar, in Chicago. Here he presented the traditional takumi or artisan experience of robata grilling using sumi, a distinct Japanese white charcoal. During his tenure at Sumi, Kato received numerous accolades, including a Jean Banchet Award of Culinary Excellence as 2017 Chef of Year nomination and James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2017.
Prior to opening Sumi, Kato’s career path had already positioned him as a visionary of Japanese cuisine on a national scale. In addition to his culinary work at Chicago’s Ohba, he dedicated nine years to working as executive chef and partner of Japonais, launching the modern Japanese restaurant in Chicago, New York, and Las Vegas. His signature dish, “The Hot Rock” garnered him national and international acclaim.
In early 2018, Burke Hospitality Group welcomed Kato back to his hometown of Charlotte, NC, and to Upstream where he worked some 15 years ago. Now Partner and Executive Chef of the restaurant, Kato returns to his roots where he first learned to cook the foods so integral to his heritage and culture and where he is bringing a whole new dining experience to the city.
Kato is a loving father to his son. And, in his spare time, he enjoys delving into other great ethnic cuisines at other restaurants in the city.