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A view of the upper level at Momosan Seattle, with a long table for diners, silver chandeliers, and a bar to the left.
The upper level of Momosan Seattle, with a bar featuring chef Morimoto’s signature sake.

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Morimoto’s Striking New Seattle Ramen Destination Opens Tomorrow

The “Iron Chef” brings bowls of broth and noodles, seared jellyfish, and yakitori galore to the International District with Momosan Seattle

World renowned “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto still beams with pride when he remembers throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a May 2003 Yankees-Mariners game at Safeco Field — ”a strike, of course,” he says. It was one of his first visits to Seattle, and Morimoto — who was a promising baseball player in Japan before an injury derailed his athletic career — started to form ties to the city from that point on. He befriended Mariner all-time great Ichiro Suzuki, and connected with the owners of the Uwajimaya market in the Chinatown-International District. As Morimoto’s star continued to rise and his restaurant empire grew into the double digits, the celebrity chef would return multiple times to the area, waiting for an opportunity to launch a new project.

Now, the highly anticipated Momosan Seattle is set to open on Thursday, across the street from Uwajimaya and a few blocks from the ballpark. It’s the third outpost of Morimoto’s ramen and izakaya restaurant, and his 17th restaurant overall (an 18th is coming this fall with Morimoto Kyoto).

A bird’s eye view of three bowls of ramen soup, with chopsticks and a spoon laying on top. From left to right: Tokyo chicken soup, spicy tan-tan, and tonkatsu ramen.
From left to right: Tokyo chicken soup, spicy tan-tan, and tonkatsu ramen.
Morgan Schuler

Like the two other Momosan Ramen and Sake locations in New York and Waikiki Beach, ramen is naturally the main event at the new Seattle restaurant, including silky tonkotsu, spicy tan-tan, and Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema’s top pick, tsukemen, which separates broth from noodles. But patrons can expect plenty of other options in the encyclopedic menu (seriously, it has diagrams of the pig parts used in various dishes, along with a short history of ramen and a sake temperature guide). There are pan fried pork gyoza in scallion ginger sauce, duck fat french fries, wagyu cooked tableside, and seared jellyfish with yuzu soy — a Seattle exclusive to the Momosan franchise.

A closeup view of a row of raw, headless chickens.
The menu features plenty of meat, especially in the yakitori section.
A view of the open kitchen at Momosan, with chefs preparing food and a row of stools out front.
Momosan’s open kitchen allows diners to see all the activity.

Chef Morimoto and his team also expect to make good use of the roomy, open kitchen, with a yakitori grill serving up 14 different kinds of Japanese skewers, including beef intestines, chicken gizzards, and pork belly in a teriyaki glaze. Those looking for more shareable snacks can find flash fried frogs legs and grilled pig’s feet with kochujang sweet miso. Oh, and a few sushi rolls, too, just to cover all the bases.

A closeup of two hanging lights with a display of Japanese robots in the background lit by the soft glow.
Chef Morimoto was very hands-on in Momosan’s design.
A closeup of a silver chandelier with spiky accents.
The silver chandeliers bring some flash to the dining area.

Unsurprisingly, the chef’s imprint is everywhere, from the silver chandeliers hanging over the upstairs bar, to the shelves stocked with Japanese toy robots, which he thought would be a playful touch. Morimoto even designed the labels to his signature sake from the Fukumitsuya brewery in Ishikawa, Japan. That heads up an extensive drinks list, which includes signature beers (in collaboration with Oregon’s Rogue Ales), cocktails such as shochu sours, and Japanese whisky. Once the restaurant gets into a rhythm, Morimoto is even considering keeping the bar area open late (right now Momosan will be open for dinner from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.).

A closeup of a shelf filled with Japanese toy robots and other knick-knacks, behind a cage.
Many of the toys on display were sourced from Tokyo.
A view of the bar, with a row of Japanese whisky on top and a row of sake on the bottom, with chef Morimoto’s face displayed on the labels.
Chef Morimoto designed the labels on his signature sake, with his face on them.

Flexibility appears built into Momosan’s design. The cavernous bi-level restaurant— located in the historic Publix building — is striking in all its clean lines and stark metallic accents, but also has a loose, casual vibe. There are two separate entrances on opposite sides, along with communal tables and plenty of spots where diners can see the kitchen in action. There’s an outdoor area right next to neighboring Dough Zone Dumpling House that may turn into patio seating sometime in the future. The restaurant won’t take reservations — it’s first-come, first-serve only. So expect a wait when the doors open Thursday.

A view of the main Momosan dining area, with a window looking out onto the street and the kitchen on the left.
A view of the main dining area from the top level.
A view of the Momosan kitchen, with a row of stools and chefs preparing food.
The kitchen in action.
A view of a communal table at Momosan, with empty glasses, white plates, condiments, and chopsticks on display.
There are communal tables as well as a few seats for smaller parties.
A view of the Momosan sign from outside looking into the bar.
Momosan is located in the historic Publix building, once housing for immigrants.

Meanwhile, this little corner of the International District is quickly becoming one of Seattle’s top dining destinations in itself. Not only is there the aforementioned Dough Zone nearby, but the buzzy Filipino coffee shop Hood Famous Cafe and Bar is in the same building as Momosan, the wildly popular Dochi doughnuts is drawing crowds across the street, and the acclaimed Sichuan chain Chengdu Taste looks to be on the way to Publix. Morimoto’s new spot promises to be a heavy hitter in a potent lineup.

Momosan Seattle

504 5th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104

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