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In 2017 chef Shota Nakajima recast his more formal and classically Japanese kaiseki restaurant from Naka to Adana. Same Capitol Hill digs, more come-as-you-are vibe. He heeded the cry for more casual fare with a menu of Japanese comfort food, much of it based on recipes from his mom. But he retained the aspects of Naka most important to him. Namely the coursed menu (now abbreviated down to three or eight rounds for $37 or $80, respectively, with several options for each course) and a reverence for Pacific Northwest ingredients and seasons. This everyman’s kaiseki feels casually luxe: grilled octopus topped with bright orange orbs of ikura, okra accompanied by pork belly and delicate wisps of katsuobushi, beef curry built on an hours-brewed batch of dashi. The street food–inspired bar menu skews even more relaxed; here the kitchen slings such things as a katsu sando, homey bites of panko-crust pork between slices of Japanese white bread. Doubling down on the casual eats, Nakajima’s opening Taku, a late-night kushikatsu bar, on Capitol Hill this year. 

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