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Hiro Tamara looking ready to take on his first own restaurant.

Since fast-casual dining has been the industry catch phrase for the better part of a year, we perk up slightly at the prospect of something, well, a bit more refined. Enter Wa'z, a new Japanese restaurant slated to open this March in the Denny Regrade—411 Cedar Street, to be exact.

It's helmed by chef-owner Hiro Tawara, who's worked at such Seattle institutions as Shiro's Sushi and Sushi Kappo Tamura (congratulations, once again, to Taichi Kitamura's spot on the James Beard semifinalist bill), and who grew up in the world of kaiseki in Kyoto, Japan.  

So, to nod to his kaiseki background—and proffer something beyond sushi—Tawara's Wa'z will focus on the traditional multicourse-style cuisine attuned to the Pacific Northwest seasons. Indeed, you might have already gotten a taste of Tawara's food at the Atrium Kitchen inside Pike Place Market, where his Beauty of Kaiseki popup has been ongoing since 2015. 

At his sleek, minimally styled space, which replaces a Taco del Mar that closed in 2016, expect a modern Northwest kaiseki offering: eight to 10 courses ($100–$110) only served at 12-seat counter, and a gozen menu—a smaller format coursed meal—with three different sets at $50. Oh yes, there will be sake and sake pairing options, too.

When it arrives next month, Wa'z will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, 5–10pm. See yourself to Wa'z's Facebook or Instagram for progress updates and opening news.

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