Wine shelves, glowing in the near-black azure of the deep sea. Undulating waves set in the smooth surfaces of columns and sushi bar. Bubble-like sheets of lights. The easy flow of Haiku Sushi & Seafood Buffet seems to mimic the smooth rhythm of the eatery’s namesake poem. Patrons slip through the restaurant, gazing at a buffet laden with a rotating selection of sushi, clams, fresh-cut sashimi, and lobster. Like snow tires stored for the summer, the seafood options stay cool on thick beds of ice, and the nearby grill releases merry crackling as chefs place made-to-order entrees on its rippling-hot surface.
A luxurious interior welcomes men to Weldon Barber, which blends a warm, modern aesthetic with rustic accents, such as a fireplace tucked into a stone wall. While waiting for a cut or shave, guests sink into plush leather chairs and sip complimentary coffee, cola, or bottled water while feasting eyes on a flat-screen TV or a selection of men's magazines.
During signature haircuts—the shop’s bread and butter—stylists commence to pamper with a shampoo and a scalp massage before snipping away extraneous strands to craft a custom haircut inspired by a favorite celebrity or janitorial mop. A delicate detailing of brows, ears, and the nose eliminates rogue facial hairs, and a hot face towel and neck shave leave visages smooth. Clients can pair cuts with a timesaver or a signature shave to quickly and comprehensively free jawlines of five o’clock shadows. Throughout the entire andro-aesthetic adventure, stylists lavish clients with Aveda, Jack Black, and American Crew products.
The Japanese have plenty of words for different styles of dining, from omakase (chef’s selection) to izakaya (a Japanese pub with great food). But kappo might not be on the tip of many tongues. Legendarily rooted in Osaka starting in the 19th century, kappo dining puts the chef on display in the dining room, where diners can watch their meals form before their very eyes. Even better, there are no imaginary lines here between cook and customer: the other distinctive part of kappo are the many close interactions between the diners and chef, making it a learning experience for both parties.
You could say it’s the Japanese way, but here, more than anything it’s the Tamura way: creating a menu based on whatever fresh, local food chefs can obtain that day. With produce plucked from the rooftop garden or shrimp caught in Skagit Bay, chefs create a brand-spankin’-new menu every day. That means you may not have much control over what’s offered, but with the chefs’ degree of skill in the kitchen, that essentially doesn’t matter.
When Seattle Magazine named Sushi Kappo Tamura the Best New Restaurant in 2011, it lauded it’s sushi as the best in Seattle. That might seem like a big enough accomplishment in itself, but it’s not the only trophy in this restaurant’s case. Seattle Magazine readers’ choice voters agreed with the critics, deeming it Best Sushi in 2014. Travel + Leisure called it one of the Best Sushi Restaurants in the States. Maybe it’s the freshness of every ingredient or Kyoto-born chef Taichi Kitamura’s constant strive for perfection, but Sushi Kappo Tamura keeps racking up accolades that leave the rest of the pack lagging behind.
On the sign that denotes the entrance to Rain Modern Japanese Cuisine, twisting neon lights outline a blue fish with a cartoonish grin and an orange umbrella. This colorful introduction extends inside to the dining room, where Rainbow rolls, golden tamago nigiri, and ruby-red salmon roe add pigment to each stark white plate. Sushi dominates the menu, which boasts nigiri by the piece as well as maki wrapped in soy-paper or bundled with tempura and glazed with sauces such as avocado salsa and housemade teriyaki. Chef Takashi Ogasawara and his staff's other handcrafted creations include the namesake Rain roll—shrimp tempura capped with creamy scallops—and the Sasquatch, a meaty morsel of shrimp, tobiko, and tuna nestled in seared salmon. In addition to sushi, diners can sample beef-short-rib appetizers or play cat's cradle with hungry spirit animals via udon and yakisoba noodle dishes.
Diners at Shilla Restaurant have a choice: become the masters of their own culinary fate or let the chefs do all the work. At tables inset with Korean barbecue, they can flip slices of bulgogi beef, calamari, pork belly until they're perfectly seared. At the sushi bar, chefs roll more than 30 varieties of maki, while in the kitchen others are busy turning out an expansive menu of steamy Korean cuisine such as bibimbap.
Guests cook or slurp up kimchi in a sleek, monochromatic dining room. Beneath paper lampshades, they can counteract bites of spicy Korean entrees by drinking sips of sake.