We've been hearing rumblings about a new concept from the Boom (formerly Boom Noodle) folks for a while now, and recently the company closed its Bellevue location and started transforming the space into a new enterprise called Kaisho.
Jeffrey Lunak, the culinary vice president of parent company Madison Holdings, describes it as “our interpretation of a higher-end izakaya.” Before this job, Lunak served as corporate chef for Masaharu Morimoto, aka the Iron Chef and restaurateur extraordinaire. He’s hoping to get Kaisho open by the end of November and says the new spot will be approachable, heavy on the small plates, and, like Boom, pull from a variety of Asian influences.
He threw out an example of Thai-style fried chicken with kimchi waffles, coconut butter, and five-spice maple syrup. “We’re definitely taking the essence of an izakaya, not the catalog.”
Lunak says he’s particularly excited about Kaisho’s chef de cuisine, Kalen Schramke. As he explains it, Schramke’s balance of French and Asian experience means he and his boss are aligned in not viewing “American slash Asian comfort food” as a vehicle for excessive ingredients and overwrought flavor combinations.
Also on the agenda at Kaisho: Local purveyors and a focus on local artists (including some blown glass art) in the dining room. Kaisho will seat between 90 to 100 and hit that “come several times a week” price point, according to Lunak. This will be a family friendly sort of place, but since drinking is a critical part of the izakaya equation, expect a bar full of aged Japanese whiskies and Japanese beers, plus plenty of local libations.
Kaisho was designed specifically with Bellevue's needs in mind; Lunak says the company doesn't currently have plans to roll out other locations, though I'm sure that could change if the crowds descend.