In more booming Capitol Hill restaurant news, Japan ramen chain Kukai Ramen & Izakaya will open its third Seattle area outpost at 320 E. Pine on Thursday. The other two local branches run by co-owners Brandon Ting, Nuri Aydinel, and Jessmin Lau are at Northgate and in Bellevue, and Lau confirms that this newest 61-seat Kukai will have no major differences in menu or decor.
Under chef Masayuki Miyata (the original head chef of Kukai in the US), the Capitol Hill shop will, however, open with a new ramen flavor — Tonkotsu Shio Rich — with plans to also add a spicy miso in a few weeks. The new store will also go for "a slightly more modern and trendy vibe," Lau says, than the other local locations.
Kukai Japan first opened in 2002 in Shibuya, Tokyo. The first Kukai in the US opened in 2012 in Bellevue, then the Northgate shop opened in August 2014. Since the Bellevue opening, Lau says customers have requested a Kukai near downtown Seattle, and Capitol Hill felt like a good fit to the company.
The new Kukai opens this Thursday for lunch at 11 a.m., and regular hours will be the same as at Northgate and Bellevue: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then 5 to 9:30 pm.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.