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With ‘twice-fried karaage nuggets’ and wings, Taku ready for comeback on Capitol Hill

(Image: Stephanie Forrer/Taku)

(Image: Stephanie Forrer/Taku)

Capitol Hill’s Top Chef Shota Nakajima is ready to launch a comeback in the world’s toughest food and drink reality competition — the Pike/Pine restaurant scene.

His neon-lit Taku, born mere hours before the world descended into the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to reopen as a karaage chicken bar:

Taku’s new menu will offer marinated, buttered and twice-fried karaage nuggets and wings available wet or dry in a five-piece, 10-piece or 15-piece order, as well as the return of the glorious F*ck it Bucket! Also in the lineup is a chicken karaage rice bowl, a curry karaage burger and a selection of classic Japanese sides like mac salad, furikake fries, cabbage salad, miso soup and more.

Taku’s reopening comes amid a new higher profile for the chef. CHS reported here on Nakajima’s run on the current Portland, Oregon-flavored season of the Top Chef reality TV show. Friday night, you can get a taste of Taku and say hey to the newest TV star in the neighborhood as Chef Nakajima hosts Chef Bryon Gomez for a night of special fried chicken curry sandwiches at the E Pike bar as it ramps up for its May reopening.

Asian-style fried chicken is certainly having its moment. Around the corner at E Pine and Harvard, Pelicana Chicken, the US offshoot of the popular South Korean chain, has taken over the space left empty by the shuttering of Bill’s off Broadway.

Inspired by Osaka alleyways and Shinsekai district food stalls, the cozy E Pike eatery Taku debuted in March 2020 tucked into the huge Pike Motorworks mixed-use development also home to Salt and Straw ice cream and the Redhook Brewlab.

CHS talked with Nakajima early in the COVID-19 crisis about trying to keep the E Pike bar in business on takeout orders alone after permanently closing his more upscale Adana at 15th and Pine in the first weeks of the crisis.

Taku will represent an even more relaxed approach.

“I kept the menu simple with two chicken options and a variety of wet or dry seasonings… teriyaki being my favorite! The side dishes are what you will find all over izakayas in Japan, and cabbage salad is highly recommended with karaage as it helps break down the fat,” Nakajima said in a press release on the planned reopening.

The joint’s reopening hours also will reflect the new vibe. Taku will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 3 to 10 PM for to-go orders only. “Nakajima plans to open Taku for dine-in when his whole team is fully vaccinated and when he feels it is safe enough,” the release notes.

Taku is planned to reopen Wednesday, May 5th at 706 E Pike. Learn more at takuseattle.com.


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