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A Changing of the Guard at Shiro's Sushi in Belltown

It might just be the only restaurant in Seattle with a line on the sidewalk half an hour before opening time.

Takai starts cutting tuna.
Takai starts cutting tuna.
Ronald Holden

Founder Shiro Kashiba sold the controlling interest in Shiro's years ago, when he reached "retirement age," to fellow Japanese restaurateur (and sometime golf partner) Yoshi Yokoyama of I Love Sushi, but he still turned up behind the sushi counter several nights a week. Now Yoshi has announced a new lineup of six chefs, but promises to keep the traditional edomae menu of seafood classics at the Belltown restaurant.

Heading the team is a relatively young Jun Takai, a seafood expert who learned his trade in the fish markets of Kyoto. He gave a demonstration of his prowess Wednesday, carving up a 73-pound, $2,000 Bluefin tuna for the cameras. Providing the gravitas is Toshio Matsudo, a 47-year veteran sushi chef who will be on hand three nights a week to create special omakase dinners.

Shiro-san himself (who learned the craft under Jiro Ono of Jiro Dreams of Sushi) made a surprise appearance and confirmed to Eater the rumor that he's on the hunt for a little place where he can do his own thing, independently. Boundless energy, that man.​


2401 2nd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 206 443 9844 Visit Website