Seattle 'Top Chef' contender Shota Nakajima to reopen Taku with new Japanese fried chicken menu

Following an "emotional roller coaster" of a year that saw both of his restaurants close, Taku.

The Osaka street food restaurant closed in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and reopened briefly with a takeout model before closing again indefinitely. Now, the wooden shutters are finally coming off as the restaurant prepares for its reopening on May 5.

The newly reopened space right in the heart of Capitol Hill will have a menu focused on Japanese twice-fried chicken known as karaage. For Nakajima, the menu is a return to the comfort food of his youth spent in Japan.

"My favorite lunch growing up was my mom’s chicken karaage and rice," Nakajima said in a news release. "The nostalgia and comfort I feel for this 币圈app都有哪些homemade dish inspired me to make it the focus of Taku’s new menu. I can't wait to convey the simplicity of Japanese fried chicken to Seattleites."

Along with buckets of marinated, battered and twice fried chicken nuggets and wings, the restaurant will serve karaage rice bowls and burgers alongside Japanese-inspired sides like furikake fries, cabbage salad, edamame, miso soup and macaroni salad.

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"I kept the menu simple with two chicken options and a variety of wet or dry seasonings, teriyaki being my favorite," Nakajima said. "The side dishes are what you will find all over izakayas in Japan, and cabbage salad is highly recommended with karaage as it helps break down the fat."

To-go cocktails and rotating flavors of Jell-O shots are also on the menu as the Washington legislature recently updated the state's liquor laws to allow takeout booze to continue.

The space itself emanates the street vibes of Osaka with bright neon street signs and plenty of eclectic decorations like Japanese lanterns, manhole covers, anime posters, Japanese pop culture stickers and even a giant Godzilla head.

The space will initially open as a takeout window, but Nakajima says he plans to reopen for dine-in once his team is fully vaccinated and comfortable serving indoors again.

But Seattleites won't have to wait until May to get their Taku fix: Nakajima and fellow "Top Chef" contestant Chef Byron Gomez are holding a special pop-up takeout window on April 23 to give fans a taste of the show. Until then, foodies can still catch Nakajima competing on "Top Chef: Portland" Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

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