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Capitol Hill food+drink | 9 of Capitol Hill’s most anticipated summer, maybe fall Asian restaurant openings… ever

Jeffrey Lunak is bringing his Kaisho -- and some sort of burger to E Pike (Image: Kaisho)

Jeffrey Lunak is bringing his Kaisho — and some sort of burger to E Pike (Image: Kaisho)

It’s a joke we’ll roll out again and again. Nacho Borracho replaced a Mexican restaurant that took over a space on Broadway where the DPD permit once simply said the next project was to “replace the old Thai restaurant with a new Thai restaurant.” But do not disrespect the Thai. Even in an environment as competitive and chock full of food and drink investment, a few friends and family-backed ventures are ready to make a go of it on Capitol Hill. They join a small 2014 wave of Asian and “Asian-inspired” restaurants set to join the area’s dining scene.

Though aspiring to feature the best of Asia, the projects are diverse in cuisine — Thai, Japanese, Korean and more. They also range from small, family-backed ventures to concept-driven investments.

  • (Image: @cdrabkin via Twitter)

    (Image: @cdrabkin via Twitter)

    Manao — Set to join the new Collins on Pine building on 13th at Pine, Manao is a hybrid — a Thai concept backed by restauranteurs with longtime experience with traditional more traditional Thai restaurants. Teeraya Cezeaux and Montida Lertkiatsakul plan Manao — Thai for lime — as a “street food”-styled offering. “We’re going to do a lot of street food,” Cezeaux tells CHS. “Our own recipes (will) make us special. Street food like broccoli with pork belly, spicy noodles. In Thailand, noodle soup is a street food!” she said. Cezeaux acknowledged being inspired by nearby walk-up Little Uncle but said using Manao’s unique recipes and flavors will be the key. “Let’s say, some people might like our pad thai,” she said. The partners previously owned Kent Station’s Banyan Tree and Lower Queen Anne’s Thai Fusion separately before collaborating on the new project. Manao will be designed around takeout but will have room for around 35 diners. Cezeaux is planning an August opening. Her neighbor is another for the new Asian offerings on Capitol Hill list — Shibumi opened in the building earlier this spring.

  • Somsiri Thai — Owner Supharat Chimyindee’s new restaurant might be considered a more traditional take on Capitol Hill Thai. Filling in a restaurant space universally recognized as pretty much cursed, Chimyindee has opened Somsiri to serve northern Capitol Hill and the neighbors of Roanoke Park. “We are confident that you will love our food because we have the professional chef and many experience from our Somsiri Thai Restaurant at Chehalis,” Chimyindee tells CHS by email. We wish Somsiri the best. Like we’ve said before — North Capitol Hill gotta eat. Meanwhile, Somsiri neighbor Abay Ethiopian is also making 10th Ave E work.
  • Kaisho — 
    (Image: Kaisho)

    (Image: Kaisho)

    On the other end of the investment spectrum, Kaisho should open later this summer in the former home of Boom Noodle on E Pike. Backed by the same corporate entity behind the Blue C and Boom Noodle ventures, Kaisho is the creation of Madison Holdings Chief Culinary Officer — and “former protégé of “Iron Chef” Morimoto,” apparently — Jeffrey Lunak. Talking to us from Napa, Lunak told CHS the Kaisho concept was shifted from Bellevue to E Pike as the company decided a plan to expand Blue C would better suit its larger Eastside space. Unlike Blue C’s goals of global sushi conquest, Lunak says Kaisho and its base $200,000 upgrade is “our first step into partnering with very talented chefs” to create unique, single-location dinging experiences. At Kaisho, you’ll find “Chef de Cuisine” Kalen Schramke, formerly of Terra Plata, and a “combination of global influences, Asian flare and local ingredients.”

  • U:Don Fresh Noodle Station — Included
    (Image: U:Don)

    (Image: U:Don)

    in the artistic elements set to inhabit the new 12th Ave Arts building when it opens this fall is the expansion of this U District favorite.

  • Yuzu Japanese — Once a rumored home for McDonald’s, the nearly completed development at 10th and Union (no, not that one… this one) will be home to a planned Yuzu Japanese restaurant. More about the new 3,000 square-foot project on E Union soon.
  • 23/Madison Thai — We don’t know if it’s anything more than a rumor and we don’t know its name or anything about ownership… but… with Veracruz-flavored coffee roaster El Portal’s shuttering, we’ve been told a Thai restaurant just might be next for the highly challenged space at 23rd and Madison.
  • Trove — File this under Korean and then some. The enormously ambitious Capitol Hill complex project in the overhauled Greenus Building at E Pike and Summit was reportedly just a little bit behind schedule last we checked in. Husband and wife team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, creators of Revel and Joule, are planning multiple parts to fill a gargantuan space, bringing together Korean BBQ, noodles, ice cream… and beer. “It is definitely very densely designed space which makes it some what complicated but again, that’s the fun of it,” Yang told us earlier this year.
  • (Image: Oma Bap)

    (Image: Oma Bap)

    Oma Bap — Another Bellevue ex-pat, this fast-food style restaurant with “Korean-inspired” cuisine is being readied to open at 12th and Cherry beneath Seattle U student apartments in July.

  • Zhu Dang — The project to transform a failed E Olive Way nightclub into an “updated” Chinese restaurant “with a Northwest vibe” continues this summer as Zhu Dang is prepared for its debut. First-time restauranteur Steve Cheng was planning a late summer opening for his project — pronounced “Zoo Don,” by the way. We’ll have to check back in to find out how the buildout is going.
  • Monsoon — Bonus! Brother and sister Capitol Hill food and drink veterans Eric and Sophie Bahn opted to spend as much expanding their 19th Ave E Vietnamese favorite as it would have cost to open a new restaurant. The new Monsoon — nearly double in size and with a rooftop deck — is slated to open “soon.”

    (Image: Monsoon)

    (Image: Monsoon)

 Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • Capitol Hill High’s cafeteria, Oddfellows, introduces its “Grab & Go” lunch:10500461_10152245559129538_5097661077512253815_n
  • Following a summer solstice preview party, 10th and Thomas’s Cafe Solstice will open for good later this week.
  • Inspired by “family dinners among friends,” Leon Baham and chef Zac Reynolds are teaming up on Food at Cortona every Friday and Saturday night in the Central District.
  • Meet the people behind Broadway Farmers Market vendor The Chai Place. CHS introduced you here to the other new and returning food and drink operators at the weekly market.
  • Look for Miss Marjorie’s plantains on your favorite store’s shelf.
  • Coastal Kitchen says: “Some JERK tried to steal our sign last night!! Our HERO/Head Bartender, Darren, chased the guy down the street and got our sign back!!!!! Hurray for Darren!!!”10492168_511282185638852_7788424907668868063_n (1)
  • PR says: “Vacuumed-packed and kept in ice at 40-degree temperatures, the new burger is first cold smoked on hickory and mesquite before being finished in a hearth oven. The delicate cold smoking technique used to prepare the Old Sage Burger (priced at $15) preserves the fat content in the all-beef Painted Hills meat.”
  • “The Capitol Hill neighborhood has embraced the return of a beautifully updated favorite watering hole.
  • “I had slowly done it in my house. It happened naturally, and then when Molly Moon and her husband came to me and asked if I was interested in opening a bakery, that’s when everything started.”
  • Ethan Stowell’s Eat Run Hope fundraiser and 5K has changed dates this year — somebody thought it would be good idea to hold on Pride Sunday.
  • Last day to sign up for the 2014 High 5 cherry pie bake-off is July 1st. Registration info and obligatory Twin Peaks imagery here.
  • Patio watch — Canon debuted its newly expanded space on 12th Ave:

    (Image: @canonseattle via Twitter)

    (Image: @canonseattle via Twitter)


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14 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | 9 of Capitol Hill’s most anticipated summer, maybe fall Asian restaurant openings… ever

  1. I stuck my head in the door of Solstice while some workers (or maybe the owners) were taking a break. It looks lovely on the inside, but you sure have to know where to look for it. I hope the neighborhood supports it, because it’s certainly not going to lure many accidental customers off Broadway (even if they put a sandwich board up on the corner). Personally, I like the idea of a “secret” cafe just steps off the main drag (the old Cafe Allegro in the U District springs to mind), but that doesn’t always make for a viable business. I’m sure they’ll see more traffic when the Sound Transit station opens (they’re nicely positioned for folks wanting to grab a cup or bite on the way from the North and East, particularly if you want to skip the corporate bagels on the other side of the building) but until then I hope they get the customers they’ll need.

  2. I can’t believe they’re opening another Kaisho. They had one in Bellevue at the old Boom Noodle location, and that place was always a ghost town. I had a mediocre lunch in there with some coworkers and we were outnumbered by employees.

    I don’t get why they had to ruin Boom Noodle in the first place. The original menu was decent faux Asian food.

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