In another boon for Capitol Hill, Japanese-trained Chef Shota Nakajima (formerly of Sushi Kappo Tamura and Japan's Michelin-starred Sakamoto) is bringing refined Japanese culinary techniques and traditions to 1449 East Pine with his new kaiseki restaurant this June. Naka will offer a series of intricate dishes both in courses and à la carte in the restaurant, as well as a collection of simple, more casual plates in the bar.
The three tasting menus will extend between five and 15-20 courses for $75 to $175. In the smallest meal, guests choose five courses from the menu; in the larger two meals, the kitchen selects. The longest-coursed meal, the specially designed chef kaiseki, needs a reservation a week prior (and sounds worth the wait). A la carte restaurant plates between $10 to just above $30 are also available, rendering Naka accessible to diners of various styles and budgets. Anticipate Wagyu Beef Katsu (beef breaded with fresh Japanese bread and fried rare), Cedar Smoked Black Cod (marinated cod grilled and cedar smoked), and more on this list of 15 to 20 dishes.
The more easygoing bar menu ($10 to $20 a plate) includes the a lot of the same ingredients as the main restaurant fare, Nakajima says, prepared in different ways. Look for the Uni Tempura (deep fried uni wrapped in shiso and nori) and the Chicken Mabushi Rice Bowl (chicken sautéed in sharp soy with an egg blanket atop rice). Drink-wise, Naka is planning on a full-on craft bar stocked with Japanese whiskey, sake, and shochu.
With Graham Baba architects and DMC Tenant Improvement Services collaborating on the buildout, the restaurant is planning a "rustic but contemporary aesthetic," Nakajima says, with 48 seats in the main dining area, plus 22 in the bar.
After growing up in Bellevue, then moving to Japan at 18 to attend Osaka's Tsuji Culinary Arts Institute and eventually training at Sakamoto, the young chef is most excited about bringing technique he learned in Japan back home.
"What I got to learn there I haven't seen here or anywhere else, and I'm excited to introduce that to the Seattle area," Nakajima says.