Shiro Kashiba, the chef who came from Tokyo to build a career in Seattle around his love for the Northwest’s abundance (and brought the city its first sushi counter in 1970) is now officially installed in his new restaurant at Pike Place Market.
Kashiba—a man so beloved in Seattle most people simply call him Shiro—built his career on unfussy "Edomae" sushi, simple combinations of raw fish and cooked rice, minus all the mayo and jalapeno and tempura niblets and whatever else gets put on sushi rolls these days. It's what he did at his Belltown restaurant Shiro's (still very much open, though Shiro himself is no longer affiliated). This centuries-old sushi style reigns supreme at his new Sushi Kashiba, though the menu will have some other options, like tempura.
The former Marche (and before that, Campagne) space has made a dramatic shift from France to Japan—the palest of wood, black leather seats, and a massive red lacquer screen from Tokyo that greets you at the door. Behind that screen is the cocktail bar, beyond that in the dining room, a brand new sushi bar with 14 seats...expansive as far as sushi counters go.
And, let's be real, that's where most Sushi Kashiba clientele will want to sit, receiving sashimi or nigiri directly from Shiro himself.
The restaurant has 73 seats total, including the sushi bar and a few in the lounge. The menu is a la carte, but there are some omakase options, too.
When I ducked in for a quick visit, Kashiba's partner, Sam Takahashi showed me the sculptural birch branches hanging near the bar and over the sushi counter; the kanji for birch is similar to "Kashiba." He also pointed out Pike Place Market's long history of immigrant farmers and shopkeepers, not to mention Shiro's many years of walking the stalls. "It's very meaningful we can do this kind of business here," he says.
The official opening announcement should happen in the next few days, but Sushi Kashiba is open seven days a week from 5 to 10:30pm.