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Star Chef Shota Nakajima’s New Capitol Hill Restaurant Set to Open in Late January

Taku features kushikatsu and a dish called the Fuckit Bucket

A top-down view of various Japanese deep-fried skewers and rice dishes from Taku.
Taku will specialize in Japanese deep-fried skewers.
Stephanie Forrer

The new year is going to bring an exciting Capitol Hill restaurant opening. After some delays, star chef Shota Nakajima’s upcoming Japanese spot Taku — dedicated to Osaka’s famous kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) — is finally coming into greater focus, with a full menu, interior details, and an officially announced opening timeline: the last week of January at 706 East Pike Street. Among the initial offerings will be snacks that include shishito peppers, lotus root, shrimp, beef shortrib, and mochi, alongside a colorfully-named dish called the Fuckit Bucket: 10-15 skewered items served family style.

Over the past year, the 2018 Eater Young Gun has honed his vision for the new restaurant, which will be more casual than the carefully plated, multi-course meals at Nakajima’s Adana. Born in Japan, and raised predominantly in the U.S, Nakajima moved to Osaka at age 18 to apprentice with chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto — and Taku’s decor reflects that time in his life, specifically the Shinsekai district’s lively food stalls. There will be street signs, Japanese lanterns, manhole covers, anime posters, a giant Godzilla head, and a custom unicorn door constructed by Adam Heimstadt of Unicorn Seattle adorning the small space, which will seat around 30 at a counter and communal table.

On the drinks side, patrons can expect boozy slushies, cocktails, wine, sake, and bottled Japanese beer, as well as a Toki highball machine (one of only a few in the city). Rachel’s Ginger Beer will also be served, following a spirit of collaboration prevalent for Taku, which also plans to serve Salt and Straw ice cream for dessert. These will be just a couple of the nearby businesses when the restaurant opens.

Nakajima also hopes to keep diners on their toes. Once a week, on “What’s this Wednesdays,” Taku will offer surprise new menu items available that day only, including potentially a pizza katsu dish and some of the chef’s favorite grocery store snacks breaded and fried.

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