Not that Seattle was lacking in Japanese cuisine—Adana's still holding it down on Capitol Hill a year later, chef Taichi Kitamura of Sushi Kappo Tamura is a James Beard semifinalist this year, and before it went on hiatus Iconiq was serving up some masterful food. And, lucky us, the boom of Japanese restaurants just keep coming...
Chef Mutsuko Soma first brought her handmade soba noodles (outside of her occasional popups early on) to Miyabi 45th in 2013. Fast forward a few years, one kid, and many skeins of fresh soba to last fall, when Soma opened Kamonegi in the old Art of the Table space on Stone Way. Read our Kamonegi restaurant review in the March issue of Seattle Met.
Though Miyabi 45th shuttered last year, this Japanese-inspired meat house quietly opened in September, filling its void at 2208 North 45th Street. In lieu of soba, Kokkaku brings the beef, namely Wagyu cuts aplenty from flap steak to rib cap. General Manager and sake buff Julie Shizukuishi (front of house alum of Miller's Guild, Cafe Campagne, Flying Fish) oversees the restaurant's growing collection of sake. Meanwhile chef Dylan Herrick has installed himself in the kitchen, replacing chef Rudy Velazquez who exited Kokkaku three months after opening. Herrick, who hails from Microsoft/Compass with Barking Frog and Miller’s Guild likewise on his resume, throws down the likes of Wagyu beef fat brioche with koji butter, shoyu mallard duck breast, and 19-ounces of Wagyu New York steak.
Even on weeknights this place is teeming with ramen-slurping folks on East Pine. Ramen Danbo is the lastest international ramen chain to call Capitol Hill home. Indeed Seattle is the first place Ramen Danbo will come home in the U.S. Danbo launched in 2000 and currently has over 30 locations across the globe. Its pork-based tonkotsu broth arrived early last fall, joining the neighborhood's cache of ramen joints like Ooink, Betsetenjin, and Tentenyu. Here, though, you can customize you ramen down to the broth (miso, shio, negi-goma) and thickness of the noodles.
After a delayed opening (over a year, yikes) this yakiniku restaurant has officially come to Bellevue. The global chain—franchised and owned locally—softly opened in January, then officially the following month. What to expect: Diners are presented with plates of thinly sliced raw meats and then become amateur pitmasters, managing each table’s small gas grill. Gyu-Kaku specializes in a variety of dry-aged, miso-brushed beef, along with dishes like sukiyaki bibimbap and something called a “spicy tuna volcano.” Once everything is running smoothly on the Eastside, a Seattle location will soon follow.
The folks of Suika have taken over the space formerly occupied by World of Beers and have flipped it into a most charming izakaya gem. Take in the wonders of a staircase of sushi or double down on sous vide chicken teriyaki, whatever your Japanese-style tavern fare loving heart desires. Croquettes, Wagyu beef curry, noodles upon noodles? Yep. They have that too.
While not open just quite yet, stay tuned for this kaiseki restaurant coming to the Denny Regrade (née Belltown) at the end of March. Chef Hiro Tawara plans to bring the art of meticulously coursed Japanese cuisine to a space that once housed Taco Del Mar burritos.