Slideshow: First Look: TanakaSan Tackles Contemporary American Asian Food in Seattle

Osaka Pancake
Osaka Pancake
The Osaka Pancake ($13) is TanakaSan’s version of okonomiyaki, studded with bacon and shrimp. The pancake is topped with green onions, mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, and the tell-tale dancing bonito—shaved fish flakes which flutter from the heat.
Nuka Pickles
Nuka Pickles
A plate of Nuka Pickles ($5) contains vegetables which have been fermented in rice bran (nuka). This serving includes daikon radish, cucumbers, and kohlrabi, with a kimchi dip topped with fried shallots.
Soft Tofu Custard
Soft Tofu Custard
Housemade Soft Tofu Custard is TanakaSan’s version of hiyayakko, which is chilled tofu with toppings. The basic version ($8) comes with soy sauce, green onions, and a ginger tuile for texture and flavor, but more luxe toppings include shaved bonito and salmon roe ($12).
Chili Char Squid
Chili Char Squid
Chili Char Squid ($13) offers both body and tentacles with a fragrant herb “salad.” Slices of jicama provide crunch, and it's served with a fish sauce and lime dressing.
Smoked Duck Sausage
Smoked Duck Sausage
TanakaSan’s head chef, Bryan Walczyk, was previously at Brave Horse Tavern, where he prepared Wisconsin-esque snacks like pretzels and brats. The Smoked Duck Sausage ($12) is a natural extension of his experience. In contrast to the popular Momofuku buns, these have duck sausage with green garlic and pickled daikon, though there’s still a smear of hoisin sauce. Seeds on the “poppy pinch buns” are the finishing touch.
Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen
Ramen finally comes to downtown Seattle at TanakaSan, with two versions available. Pictured is Tonkotsu Ramen ($13), with a pork bone broth, thick slices of braised pork belly, and a brined soft egg. There are also pickled mushrooms, green onions, and an “umami bomb” of dried mushrooms, parmesan rind, kombu (kelp), and duck fat on top. Whole wheat for the straight noodles is an unconventional choice. Soft and almost soba-like, these noodles will likely generate controversy, so it will be interesting to see if TanakaSan sticks with them as the ramen evolves. (The Shoyu Ramen, $11, comes with wavy noodles made from regular flour.)
Eric Tanaka at the Kitchen
Eric Tanaka at the Kitchen
Eric Tanaka, in green, at the kitchen. The counter seats are well-positioned to catch the cooking action.
Godzilla
Godzilla
Godzilla keeps an eye on the condiments at the tables.
Sake Slushies
Sake Slushies
Part of the bar area features a machine to make sake slushies.