Kushibars wonderfully prismatic pork fried rice.
Kushibar's wonderfully prismatic pork fried rice. Kushibar FB

Kushibar is Kaputt

"Can you please please find out why one of my fav restaurants in Belltown, Kushibar, closed, seemingly without warning?!" a reader recently wrote to ask. Indeed, their closing was not marked with any big announcement or farewell party, simply a message on their website that read, "We are sad to announce that Kushibar is permanently closed. Thank you all for 9 years of business and very fond memories!"

To get the inside scoop, I emailed Cook Weaver's Nile Klien, formerly the bar manager at Kushibar. Turns out, it's a lease thing.

"The lease was up and everyone met to talk about whether to renew or not—the staff and owners—and they all decided maybe it was time to let the old man go," he wrote. "Most of the people are getting rolled into positions at Umi and Momiji, I think, so its a pretty smooth transition."

The fact that not only restaurant employees but actual restaurants are being priced out of the city is a bummer, but at least this isn't another story of workers being left high and dry. And it's not like there's any shortage of good izakaya places in Seattle these days. I know it's probably not nearly as convenient for our crestfallen reader, but might I recommend a consolatory trip to Suika?

Speaking of Delicious Japanese Food

Wallingford's brand new "Japanese-inspired meat house," Kokkaku, just added a happy hour. Rudy Velasquez, formerly of Brunswick & Hunt, partnered with the folks behind Issian Stone Grill to do a high end Japanese steak house. Think miso-braised Painted Hills rib bone and whole fried chicken and a Lan Roc pork cutlet tonkatsu and a bunch of rad cuts of Wagyu by the ounce.

Happy Hour is between 5-6pm and 9-10pm until Nov. 1. After that, it's between 4-6pm and 9-10pm. They've got such wonders as chicken wings and bonjiri (the chicken's "oyster"), pig ears and frisée, fried pig tails, and braised daikon. Like I said, there's great izakaya everywhere these days!

Happy Grillmore Now Open on Jefferson

The burgeoning restaurant hub between 12th and 14th on Jefferson has expanded to include Happy Grillmore, a burger joint from the folks behind Nate's Wings and Waffles, reports CHS Blog. The burger joint, which began as a food truck and also boasts Portland locations, will serve up a succinct menu of specialty burgers, including one that intriguingly features longanisa sausage. Sides and drinks are also short and to the point, and they're only doing six beers in cans and bottles. Really though, what else do you need with a greasy burger besides a tall can of Rainier?

Also Open on the Hill: D'La Santa

Capitol Hill's newest Mexican joint is in the opposite of a burgeoning restaurant area: the famously impossible-to-succeed-in space next to Padrino's Pizza on 10th Ave E. The space was home to the ill-fated Skelly and the Bean, which had "so much heart" but so little success, then a smattering of other attempts. None triumphed.

However, based on photojournalist Alex Garland's write up of the new venture for CHS Blog, I'm not quite ready to write off the newest challenger. For one, his photos indicate that the place looks very, very cool on the inside. There is a huge fake tree festooned with paper lanterns in the center of the restaurant, for starters. There is also a wall of interesting crosses, and the space looks airy and open and accessible.

Beyond that, the food porn Alex posted is pretty top notch. I have yet to go find out if it tastes as good as it looks, but they're open 11am-9pm daily if you'd like to. Buena suerte!

Goodbye to Kokoras Greek

The Morgan Junction Greek joint is no more, according to West Seattle Blog. A sign in the window cited "employee conflict," and a post-closure visit by WSB to the restaurant, including a conversation with the workmen on site, yielded only the vague assurance that they were remodeling.

WSB also reports that their outpost of the Matador has added a 4-6pm happy hour, if that is in any way relevant to your life.

I Can't Say It Better Than Christopher Did

So I'll just post the link to the sad news he broke: Cafe Racer is closing for good. When they announced the space was up for sale, we were all hoping someone would step in to preserve the Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA), but that's not to be. Their last night was the 18th.

In Case You Wanted Some Herring on the Fly

The Old Ballard Liquor Company's lovely Nordic cafe fare is now available for delivery, including their wonderful pickled herring.

"You know those terrific sandwiches we do at our Tumble Swede booth for Seafood Fest every year? Well now you can get them (almost) any time!

Starting next Tuesday the 17th, our popular seafood sandwiches, Tunnbrödsrulle and pickled herring will be available on multiple delivery platforms during weekday lunch. 11am - 1:30 pm Tuesdays - Fridays."

They're on Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, and Caviar, with Caviar being their preferred platform. Perhaps because they allow restaurants to include a service fee covering the cost of their labor on to go orders. What a novel idea!