Takao Saito, owner and main chef of Winslow’s latest culinary experiment, is just about ready to roll out the goods in the former space of Shima Sushi on Madison Avenue, just a(n authentic) Ramen noodle north of Winslow Way.
When I popped in on Saito today, March 19, he was standing in a state of controlled chaos holding a power drill in the semi-renovated space now called Tokyo Tapas Japanese Sushi & Cuisine.
Saito has spent 20 years as a restauranteur in the Bellevue/Kirkland area. Looking to move from a frustrating rental arrangement in Kirkland, on Craig’s List Saito stumbled upon the Bainbridge rental opportunity and was quickly charmed by the relaxing ferry commute, lower rental costs, and relative lack of traffic here. He told me he is excited by the opportunity to purchase locally grown produce and seafood.
Tapas? Saito explained that he will specialize in serving a meal’s worth of small Japanese dishes, or “tapas,” as well as plenty of beloved Japanese entrees.
A humorous, play-it-by-ear type of guy, Saito said he plans to open his new restaurant by the end of the month at the latest. He isn’t sure of his hours yet, but he said to start he will offer lunch and dinner, with later weekend closing times.
But Saito was animated about adding breakfast for customers as soon as possible. He said he wants to offer Japanese pancakes, spicy Japanese sausage, and much more.
Saito told me the building’s landlord has cleaned up and fixed the kitchen and bathroom. He plans to seat about 50 people in his new eatery. His menu, which is at the printers, includes a beer and wine selection.
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Photos by Julie Hall.