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Steven Han's Momiji Readying Artful Space, Kaiseki Menu

[S. Pratt]

The old Dawson Plumbing building's transformation to Momiji is complete. Steven Han's new Japanese restaurant will open for reals on Wednesday. Han is known for raucous Belltown spots Kushibar and Umi Sake House; like its siblings, Momiji boasts a sushi bar and will no doubt have its own lively sake-fueled scene. However the menu's showpiece is the Northwest-inspired kaiseki menu designed by Chikako Watanabe.

And then there's the design. Han and his team gutted the historic building, replacing a rear parking lot with a serene glass-walled courtyard, as well as another dining room. The substantial wood tables are the work of Whidbey Island craftsman Craig Yamamoto, who taught Han at UW. Part craftsman, part Asian, they are so artful it seems almost a shame to eat on them (though they're massive enough to stand up to night after night of service). Other design features include custom lighting sculptures and a spare multi-chambered space separated by Han's trademark long hallways. The exacting attention paid to design automatically qualifies Momiji one of the year's most notable openings, even if the food turns out to be woefully mediocre. Which, let's face it, probably won't be the case.

· All Momiji Coverage on Eater Seattle [-ESEA-]