As the seasons change, we inevitably turn our thoughts to tasty autumn dishes. Fatty mackerel, crisp tempura, mouthwatering steak and much much more are featured in this autumn roundup of some of our favorite restaurants.
Interviews and articles by Misa Murohashi, Noriko Hantsinger, Ai Isono, Harmony Kelly, Azusa Ueda and Sumiya Kurihara. Translation by Bruce Rutledge
～Top-grade wagyu in Japanese fusion style～
It’s a unique name for a restaurant: Kokkaku means “skeleton” in Japanese. But it hints at the Japanese approach to sustainability, where nothing is wasted. While the beef cooks, the bones are used for soup stock. The umami of beef is delivered in a multitude of ways. From this summer, the person manning the kitchen is Chef Kazutoshi Nakasone. In Japan, he mastered Italian cuisine at five star hotels such as Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and New Otani. Just before moving to Seattle, he worked at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore as head chef for the hotel’s Japanese meat grill department. This fall at Kokkaku, Chef Nakasone created a new menu that uses his sense and technique to combine Italian and Japanese cuisine in a memorable array of meat dishes.
You can choose your steak based on your budget and preferences. “We prepare both Wagyu flown in from Japan and American raised kinds. Wagyu from Japan is famous for its high degree of marbling, adding an extraordinary depth of flavor. Enjoy its succulent fattiness. American raised Wagyu is less marbled, but many people like its tender meat with rich flavor,” says Kokkaku owner Yuta Sugimoto. He had already been running the popular Issian Japanese Stone Grill and Ramen Man in Wallingford when he opened Kokkaku last July. “This store is all about good meat, which I love,” he says. “I produced this restaurant in the image of a Japanese steakhouse, where people can enjoy high-grade steak in a casual atmosphere.”
Popular menu items include an 8oz Zabuton Kobe American Wagyu Steak for $28, and a 12oz New York Meyer’s Ranch All Natural Premium Angus Steak for $25. The 4oz A5 Wagyu Steak from Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan ($60) is available only with a reservation two days in advance. All steak items on the menu come with grilled whole garlic and tomatoes and a homemade steak sauce. Besides beef, the menu includes popular items like Fried Half Chicken and Tonkatsu with Lan-Roc Pork Tenderloin for $18 each.
Worthy of special mention are the Japanese-Italian fusion appetizers. Wagyu Four Ways for $15 a guest is a dish that has A5 Wagyu sashimi and sushi, and two servings of American Wagyu tartare, one with quail egg and one with nori. The Foie Gras Brulee ($13) is a nice dish for luxuriating with a glass of wine. The Shrimp and Mushroom Shijo ($8) and Japanese Bagna Cauda ($8) are both just $6 during the daily happy hour from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.
“I plan to add to the menu little by little entrails, tongue and other parts of the cow you don’t see served in the US,” says Chef Nakasone. This is a must-visit for beef lovers looking to enjoy high-grade steaks.
2208 N. 45th St., Seattle | (206) 588-1568 | www.kokkakuseattle.com