Just three weeks since closing its doors under chef Mutsuko Soma, Seattle favorite Miyabi 45th will reopen tonight with a new concept, a new chef, a new menu, and, ideally, some of the same old soba magic for which the restaurant became known.
Fans of the city's only soba noodle-centric Japanese restaurant were devastated by the sudden news in January that Soma was closing her three-year-old restaurant on Valentine's Day. Sous chef Joey MacGregor departed for an apprenticeship in Japan, while Soma, now in her eighth month of pregnancy, decided to step back from the restaurant she co-owns with husband and wife team Masaaki and Hisako Ishikura. At the time, there was no concrete plan for reopening.
But after a soft opening Wednesday, the new Miyabi 45th team is ready for the public. Chef Masaaki, who also helms the couple's restaurant Miyabi in Tukwila, will bring some of the sushi concept from Miyabi to the new operation. A second chef named Johnny Tremain, formerly of Crush, has also been hired on to help run the kitchen.
Hisako tells Eater that although the new Miyabi 45th won't have Soma's famous source-to-mill-to-noodles as the center of the menu, soba will still have its place in the lineup. One of the chefs from the past iteration is sticking around to continue to make the toothsome, buckwheat treat customers love.
One dish Masaaki points to as a new favorite is the Kurobuta Tonkatsu, a bone-in pork dish she calls "incredibly tender."
The famous Foie Gras Tofu dish Soma brought to the masses is also back, albeit with a twist, as the new chef team is adding uni (sea urchin) to the dish. The Uni Shot with quail egg and ponzu is also still available.
The menu, available in full below, is now divided into four sections: From the Sea, From the Land, Soba, and Today's Catch Sashimi & Sushi. For the latter, expect daily fresh fish sashimi and sushi specials. One dish Masaaki points to as a new favorite is the Kurobuta Tonkatsu, a bone-in pork dish she calls "incredibly tender." A new bar program will introduce "cool house cocktails."
The decor will not change, though for now the hours will. The restaurant will be open Monday to Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m. The owners are considering reintroducing lunch after things settle down. Ramen, made famous at the restaurant during Soma's Wednesday Onibaba Ramen pop-up, may also make a return at some point.