Capitol Hill has a new Japanese restaurant on the way, with some bells and whistles. Rondo plans to open at 224 Broadway E later this year, featuring bento, noodles, donburi, sake, and cocktails, including some made by a Suntory Toki highball machine. Owner Makoto Kimoto — who runs the Japanese pubs Tamari Bar and Suika on Pine Street — claims the contraption delivers a more refined carbonation to whiskey and soda drinks (Tamari Bar has one already). There will also be a charcoal grill serving up small snacks on weekend nights.
Rondo will take over the space vacated by Junkichi Robata Izakaya, another Japanese restaurant whose gimmick was a charcoal robata grill … featuring an actual robot. Last month, Junkichi mysteriously shut down, claiming it was “due to renovations” — but apparently the closing was more than temporary (Eater Seattle reached out to Junkichi for an explanation, but did not hear back before this article was published).
Instead of robots, Rondo will deliver an izakaya experience more steeped in Japanese mythology. The name is inspired by a tale of a young fisherman who visits an underwater dragon palace. In that respect, expect some dragon-like dry ice and smoky cocktails to make it onto the menu. “I like to focus on surprising my customers, making them want to talk about their experience,” Kimoto tells Eater. “Not only with food and drinks, but also service and atmosphere.”