Home Food Japanese Cuisine Towa /永遠

Japanese Cuisine Towa /永遠

Japanese Cuisine Towa

By Jaejun Jeon
Translation by David Yamaguchi*
The North American Post
*The original Japanese version of this article is in “Soy Source”

Executive Chef Yoshinori Morita We make extra Nambu tekki rice so please consider taking some home he says

On September 26, I Love Sushi on Lake Bellevue opened the kaiseki restaurant “Towa” (Eternity) in Redmond with the concept of “introducing Japanese flavors beyond sushi to a wider audience in America.” It is currently the most anticipated restaurant where you can feel the spirit of Japanese chefs.

Heading “Towa” as executive chef is Yoshinori Morita, a native of Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. As a child, Morita became fascinated with cooking. After graduating from high school, he attended culinary school, where he spent two years immersed in the world of cooking. He then worked in a French restaurant from the age of 20 for six years before making a fresh start at a Japanese restaurant at 26.

The world of Japanese cuisine is known for its strictness. Morita reflects on the first six years of his career in it as the most challenging period in his life, without respite.







▲Various kaiseki (set menu) dishes made with delicate consideration and skilled techniques.

Everything was about prioritizing the customers, with his own needs taking a back seat. During his apprenticeship, he mainly handled tasks like preparation and clean-up, which meant he rarely saw customers’ faces, making it difficult for him to maintain his motivation. However, enduring such rigorous training solidly cultivated his knowledge and skills. For his last eight years in Japan, he led a restaurant as its head chef.

▲Authentic Japanese tableware imported from Japan enhances the kaiseki cuisine. Photos: Keith Manembu (Graphic Designer / Shogun Enterprise Inc.)

Towas interior exudes a sense of luxury and modern Japanese style From the counter seats of the open kitchen you can witness every aspect of the cooking process The wall art inspired by mountains and seas features handmade Japanese paper creating a captivating atmosphere

Driven by a spirit of challenge and a desire to explore the potential of Japanese cuisine overseas, Morita came to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. It was a particularly trying time for the restaurant industry, but Morita remained positive, patiently waiting for an opportunity when people could once again enjoy a leisurely dining experience in restaurants. Eventually, he opened “Towa” as a sister restaurant to I Love Sushi on Lake Bellevue.

Towa has 20 seats and offers only dinner service, with seasonal kaiseki courses priced at $150, $200 and $250. Morita pays great attention to the order in which dishes are served.
“Kaiseki is served one course at a time, freshly prepared, so it takes about two hours to complete the meal. Therefore, I aim to create a visually vibrant story where flavors and textures change along the way. I would be delighted if our guests enjoy the meal with happiness from beginning to end,” he explains.

The order may also vary depending on the ingredients sourced that day, making it interesting to observe the narrative Morita weaves through his kaiseki.

Morita’s thoughts are reflected in Towa’s interior design as well. There are no partitions between the kitchen and the dining area. Moreover, the counter seats have a charcoal grill right in front of them. The chef’s final presentation is a perfect performance, bringing excitement to the moments between the dishes with various artistic presentations.

Floor Manager Ms Aina The beverage selection ranges from wine to Japanese sake with knowledgeable servers ready to suggest the perfect pairing for your kaiseki experience

Overseeing the servers as floor manager is Ms. Aina, who hails from Oki Island, Shimane Prefecture. She came to Seattle right after graduating from high school, then studied business in college. She later worked at a game company and as a server at I Love Sushi on Lake Bellevue. She was promoted to floor manager at Towa.

“Some people might feel intimidated when they hear ‘kaiseki,’ but we want customers to relax without any airs. We aim to provide a homelike service,” says Aina.

The team’s goal is to have customers thinking, “I want to come back for another special occasion” by the time they leave.


Chef’s specialties

the tempura of conger eel and vegetable fritters a dish rare in the US is elegantly crafted Various creative ideas are applied such as mixing seaweed into the tempura batter
Sashimi and sushi adhere to the motto of unique sushi The rice for hand pressed and rolled sushi is mixed with sesame seeds and finely chopped pickled ginger creating a depth of flavors
Nambu tekki rice rice cooked in a Nambu iron pot takes the spotlight at the end of the meal Toppings include grilled salmon silver cod boiled toumorokoshi corn and more
Yakimono charcoal grilled dishes preserve and intensify umami flavors

Japanese Cuisine Towa
17875 Redmond Way, #144 Redmond, WA 98052
Hours: Two sessions, 4:30 – 10 PM, reservations required.
Closed: Sunday and Monday