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Shibumi promises a real ramen experience on Capitol Hill

IMG_2253The cauldrons of broth are finally bubbling behind the ramen bar at Shibumi as Eric Stapelman opened his Japanese eatery this week at 12th and Pine. The restaurant is the latest addition to the newly constructed Collins on Pine building, a big change for Stapelman who ran his previous Santa Fe ramen joint from a 19th century-built structure.

Shibumi features two bars, one for ramen and one for booze, and plenty of table seating. The vaulted ceilings and blue steel finishes give a slick overtone to some old-world elements, like the hand-burned wood panels to surround the ramen bar.

“A touch of modern with old world,” Stapelman said.


In September, CHS first reported on the Capitol Hill arrival of the “notorious” and “provocative” restauranteur.


Shibumi’s base is traditional ramen pork broth, which takes two and a half days to prepare. Stapelman said he starts with 100 quarts of stock, reduces it to 60, brings it back up to 100 through adding more bones, reduces it to 60 again, then a final reduction to 18 quarts.

“You want a consistency that makes your lips stick together,” he said. “It’s been a challenge to find great ramen soup.”

In preparation for opening day, Stapelman said he put 80 cases of bones in storage — a supply that will only last a few weeks.

Japanese appetizers, small plates, and three types of Wagyu beef sold by the ounce round out the rest of the food menu. Shibumi also offers an impressive sake menu, but Stapelman said Shibumi’s substance is in the soup.

“We don’t want to become a craft cocktail bar, there are plenty of people doing it well already,” he said. “We’re focusing on old school Japanese food and country cooking.”

Shibumi is located at 1222 E Pine. The izakaya is open 5 to 10 PM on Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 11 PM Thursday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays. You can learn more at shibumiseattle.comIMG_2106 IMG_2224 IMG_2132 IMG_2180

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13 thoughts on “Shibumi promises a real ramen experience on Capitol Hill

  1. Welcome! It’s so nice to taste craft as opposed to the omnipresent expensive ingredients with addresses listed then thrown together in the hope that something emerges!
    The prices are low too.

  2. Seattle NEEDS good ramen, but Shibumi won’t be it.

    1. $15 for a bowl of ramen is insane
    2. $5 for miso is even more insane
    3. What’s with the menu also in Japanese? There’s not a single thing authentic about Shibumi.

    Why can’t Seattle have a Ramen Santouka?

    $5 for a bowl of miso soup is low?

    • The food is amazing, and very authentic for anyone that knows Izakaya. We had an incredible meal. This is a modern interpretation that provides a fine culinary experience at a fraction of the cost of a fine culinary experience in Seattle.
      Too bad RamenLover is looking for cheap ramen noodles – maybe thats something that Seattle needs too – but I was looking for great food – and this was it. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to go back.

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  4. I’d avoid this place for a couple week. Went with friends last week, service was incredibly slow and we had to send back the ramen because the meat was cold and the noodles uncooked. The small plates are also very small – barely enough to share with more than one person. Lots of promise…just need some time to work out the kinks.

    • Wow – a comment like that makes me think this was written by a competitor, not a diner. We went last night and had one of the most memorable meals we’ve ever had – and the highlight by far was the soup! Just incredible. The service was polite, knowledgeable and attentive, and the Wagu beef was to die for. They also served us Japanese whiskeys that we’d never heard of that were delicious – we spent today trying to find them ourselves to serve at home.

  5. Finally had the opportunity to stop in and try Eric’s wonderful creations at Shibumi last night and I was definitely impressed! I’ve seen the hardwork and labor that goes into this place on a daily basis and it really pays off in the quality of the food. Spicy Pork Gyoza, Green Beans with Sesame Dressing, Vegetable Tempura, PORK BELLY, and Tonkotsu Ramen…. not to mention sake and Japanese whisky… we may have over done it a little bit! Thanks to Eric and Shibumi for a great night out. We’ll be back soon!

  6. I have been to Shibumi 3 times since it opened. First visit I tried the gyoza and enjoyed it very much. I also had the tonkotsu soup and thought it was just ok but there was enough substance to make me want to go back and try again.
    My second visit was with a friend just moved here from Japan and I told him about an American man cooking ramen in Capitol Hill. He smiled and agreed to try.
    Surprise to me, it was much much better than the first time and my friend was really surprise that it was very good and he liked the gyoza a lot.
    On my way home last night I walked by Shibumi and it looked exciting inside so I sat at the bar and there was two other Japanese people eating Ramen. I asked how they like it and they were very surprised that it was so good. It was really really good and I was so pleased.

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