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This minimalist room on Tilikum Place in Belltown is home to Seattle’s only kaiseki restaurant. Chef Hiro Tawara devises a single menu for each month; the six-course version is available in the dining room, but the counter, with its eight courses explained by the chef himself, is a far more engaging experience. Tawara trained in kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto; here he adapts Japan’s oldest form of fine dining to fashion a parade of small dishes that celebrate the season. His food is subtle; Wa’z isn’t a place for umami bombs or drizzles of spicy sauce. But at its best, the supremely subtle food challenges diners to slow down and appreciate how beautifully a sweet fig lends itself to tempura, or the nuance that a gelee of reduced dashi can bring to an otherwise spare arrangement of chilled vegetables. While the food is restrained, the sake menu is downright expansive.

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