Food News

Three New Japanese Restaurants Have Opened, By Tae Leaves Chophouse Row, and Dick's Is Coming To Bellevue

February 26, 2021 Edition
February 26, 2021
Capitol Hill's new Japanese barbecue spot Ishoni Yakiniku serves comfort food like kimchi udon noodles with pork belly. (Ishoni Yakiniku)

Seattle now has three new Japanese restaurants, including the creative izakaya Itsumono, the Japanese barbecue destination Ishoni Yakiniku, and the sushi bar Kamakura Japanese Cuisine Fremont. Plus, By Tae has exited its Chophouse Row home, and several new exciting restaurant openings are on the horizon, including a Dick's Drive-In in Bellevue and a Cycle Dogs restaurant in Ballard. Read on for that and more food-world updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Dough Zone Dumpling House
The rapidly expanding dumpling chain has expanded with a new location in the former space of Swiftwater Cellars in downtown Bellevue, serving its signature juicy xiao long bao (soup dumplings), q-bao (fat, fluffy-crisp pork buns seared in a pan), lacy pot stickers, and other Chinese dishes. The chain has also closed its original Bellevue location inside Crossroads.
Pickup, delivery, or limited indoor dining

Kaname Izakaya, which was taken over by its current owners Mike Vu and Hisato Kawaminami in 2019, officially reopened as Itsumono ("regular" in Japanese) in January. Chef Sean Arakaki's menu features unique dishes like Nashville hot chicken-inspired karaage, loco moco Scotch eggs, sweet 'n sour pork spare ribs, and teriyaki burgers. There's also a selection of sake and cocktails.
Chinatown-International District

Ishoni Yakiniku
This Japanese barbecue restaurant, which was announced in January 2020, had its grand opening on February 20 and is now open for takeout and limited indoor dining by reservation in the former space of Rooster's Tex-Mex BBQ. Guests can grill high-quality meats (such as Kobe and Wagyu beef) and seafood on their own tabletop grills. The menu also features cheese tonkatsu curry, beef don, kimchi udon with pork belly, and other comforting Japanese dishes, as well as sake and Japanese beer.
Capitol Hill
Pickup or limited indoor dining

Gravy and Salt and Schmaltz
Dre Neeley and Pepa Brower's cozy Vashon Island restaurant Gravy had its grand reopening on Thursday, February 18. In addition, the couple is also opening another restaurant concept called Salt and Schmaltz in the same space. The menu features a variety of Eastern European-influenced and Jewish deli-style comfort food, stuffed cabbage, noodle kugel, potato latkes, smoked brisket Reuben sandwiches, tuna melts, and BEC (bacon, egg, and cheese) sandwiches, plus à la carte deli specials like schmaltz roasted chicken, fried chicken, meatloaf, turkey, and smoked brisket available by the pound.
Vashon Island

Kamakura Japanese Cuisine Fremont
The popular Lacey sushi restaurant Kamakura Japanese Cuisine has opened a location in Fremont. In addition to a menu of sushi, sashimi, bento boxes, and Japanese dishes like chirashi bowls and pork belly yakisoba, there's also an extensive vegan menu that includes sushi made with plant-based versions of tuna and crab meat, plus vegan entrees like vegetable yakisoba and okonomiyaki.

Salty Blue Fish and Chips
The latest addition to Renton's burgeoning dining scene is this Australian-inspired spot serving fish and chips made with New Zealand hoki and wild Alaskan halibut, plus shrimp, calamari, fish tacos, burgers, and chicken schnitzel.


Big Little News
This newsstand and bottle shop appears to be preparing to open soon in the former space of the vintage store No Parking on Pike in Capitol Hill. According to Capitol Hill Seattle, the store will stock magazines, newspapers, beer, wine, and various other sundries.
Capitol Hill

Cafe Avole
The Brighton-based Ethiopian coffee shop is opening an outpost next to Communion at the Liberty Bank Building in the Central District this spring.
Central District

Cycle Dogs
The popular vegan hot dog stand is opening its first permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant in the former space of No Bones Beach Club this spring.

Dick's Drive-In
The beloved Seattle burger chain is expanding with a location in Bellevue's Crossroads Shopping Center later this year. The fast-food favorite previously had a location in Bellevue decades ago, but it closed in 1974.

This trendy-looking spot promising "delicious food from fresh local-based ingredients, coffee with the best beans, stylish furniture, [and an] inviting atmosphere" appears to be opening near Bonchon on First Hill soon.
First Hill

Bale Breaker & Yonder Taproom
This well-received local cidery Yonder Bar, which closed its small Phinney garage cider bar on February 15 to avoid fines for violating small business regulations, announced this week that it will be teaming up with Yakima-based Bale Breaker Brewing to open a new taproom in the former space of Populuxe Brewing this summer. Meanwhile, Yonder may get to keep its Phinney location after all, as new legislation has been introduced to relax restrictions on small food and drink businesses run out of homes or garages.


By Tae
The nationally acclaimed hand roll counter, which earned a spot in Bon Appetit's list of the 50 best new restaurants in the country in 2019 and received a James Beard nomination in early 2020, announced on Instagram this week that it is exiting its tiny Chophouse Row space and that it had completed its final service on Friday, February 19. According to the post, the restaurant is searching for a new location.
Capitol Hill

Dragonfish Asian Cafe
Charles Mudede writes, "Not long after Tuesday's soul-rattling hail burst, I came across, during my walk to Westlake Station, a very dead Dragonfish Asian Cafe. The restaurant's location was the ground floor of the Paramount Hotel. It was a popular joint with those who wanted to have a good time on a tight budget...Those who know even a little something about Dragonfish know this one thing about the restaurant/bar: It had a gloriously generous happy hour, which happened twice a day during the weekday (2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close)."


Washington Growler Days
Check out beer specials and limited-edition growlers with Washington-themed art from participating breweries at this event hosted by the WA Brewers Guild. $1 of each purchase will go towards WA Brewers Guild.
Various locations, Friday-Saturday

Mt. Bagel Pop-Up
Haven't been able to get your hands on an order from the sought-after bagel maker Mt. Bagel? They'll be slinging their rings of dough at this pop-up at the women-owned amaro distillery Fast Penny Spirits at this pop-up—no pre-order necessary. Stamp Act Coffee will be onsite with some coffee to go with your cream cheese-shmeared snack.
Fast Penny Spirits, Saturday, 11 am-2 pm

SAD Outdoor Winter Beer Festival
Stave off the winter blues with Figurehead Brewing's SAD (Strong and Dark) Outdoor Winter Beer Festival, which will feature five different beer samples from three breweries, live music, and steaming bowls from Midnite Ramen.
Figurehead Brewing, Saturday, 12-8 pm

Black Restaurant Week Northwest
Black Restaurant Week, a national culinary campaign founded in Houston in 2016 with the goal of shining a light on local Black-owned businesses, is coming to the Northwest for the first time. Several restaurants across Washington and Oregon will be participating with prix-fixe menus, specials, and more. Besides dining at featured restaurants, such as Lil Red Takeout and Catering and Delish Ethiopian, you can also get involved by checking off items on the event's official bingo card, which features challenges like taking a food truck selfie or a screenshot of a positive restaurant review. You'll get a chance to win some treats and other prizes.
Various locations, Friday-Sunday

18th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival
Each year, Brouwer's celebrates its Hard Liver Festival with a wide selection of barleywine (a particularly potent style of beer, boasting a whopping 6 to 12 percent alcohol by volume). This year, they're modifying the festivities by spreading them out over the course of four days (with limited indoor dining for parties of five or less and outdoor dining for parties of six). You can also bring the experience home with their "Hard Liver: The Home Game," featuring limited mixed packs of six to eight barleywines.
Brouwer's Cafe, Friday-Sunday

Eggs Isle Pop-Up
The pop-up Eggs Isle will sling breakfast sandwiches at Chuck's Hop Shop in the Central District, slinging elevated egg sandwiches with luxe additions like juicy fried tomatoes, fresh crab, New York steak, smoked pork belly, Beecher's white cheddar, and more.
Central District, Sunday, 9 am-2 pm

Li'l Woody's Burger Month
The popular local burger joint chain Li'l Woody's has revealed the lineup for its annual Burger Month series, which features burgers dreamed up by local chefs. The last remaining special is a "Neon Torta" with pulled pork, avocado mayo, cabbage cilantro slaw, sauteed onions, and jalapeños from chef Monica Dimas of Little Neon Taco (February 23-March 1).
Li'l Woody's (Ballard, Capitol Hill, and White Center), February 26-March 1

Soul of Seattle
James Beard Award-winning chef Edouardo Jordan of JuneBaby and Salare is teaming up with Northwest Harvest to offer a series of virtual fundraising events throughout the month of February to benefit local Black chefs and organizations that focus on youth of color. The programming includes live cooking demos with local chefs hosted by Matt Lewis and Wayne Johnson, a live panel discussion with national and local Black culinary leaders, gift baskets with items from Black-owned businesses, a virtual dance party with DJ Topspin and Questlove, a weekly silent auction, takeout meals from local Black-owned restaurants, and more.
February 26-28

Field to Table
Lumen Field will be transformed into an open-air dining room catered by local chefs and restaurateurs, seating two to six people (from the same household) per table. The dining spaces are covered and heated, but you're invited to bring blankets.
Lumen Field, Wednesday-Sunday through March 18

Puffy Jacket Pop-Up Dining Series
This new pop-up series from Columbia Hospitality is making the best of winter al fresco dining by encouraging local diners to bundle up in their most voluminous outerwear for outdoor meals with cozy cocktails at 12 different venues in Washington and Oregon. The menus are inspired by the Pacific Northwest—for example, Copperleaf will serve a seafood beach boil alongside a 2bar Spirits whiskey flight, while Hearth will feature foraged ingredients like mushrooms, oysters, and lamb and a pine whiskey sour playfully named the "Socks and Sandals."
Various locations, Friday-Saturday through March 27


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Renee Erickson's stylish oyster bar is currently serving a (Princess Bride-referencing?) cocktail called "Cliffs of Insanity," made with mezcal, Amaro Ciclista, and orange bitters.
Pickup or outdoor dining

White Swan Public House
The South Lake Union seafood spot has added shrimp and grits to its menu, as well as a grilled octopus special.
South Lake Union
Pickup, delivery, outdoor dining, or limited indoor dining