Where some people would see a homely, 25-foot gravel patch, Biwa owners Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz see opportunity. On Thursday, July 9, the couple will unveil their latest brainstorm: an open-air yakitori grill destination and a covered tachinomi (standing bar) custom-made from charred cedar, steel and green bamboo—and just the place for a Japanese plum beer, sake, or bottled cocktail. It even has a name: Kotori. At its red-hot center sits a fancy Japanese grill, fueled by traditional binchotan charcoal. Rosen’s vision is built around traditional, beak-to-feet yakitori skewers from farm-sourced chickens and seasonal vegetables. Wings, hearts, skin, gizzards, and other obscure chicken parts will all factor into the list. “It will change week to week, from different chicken farms,” says Rosen. “No part is sacred.”
Kotori will be open every Thursday-Sunday, 4 pm to sunset, through late September. The bar will hold 20, with a few small tables for sit down table service. Rosen and Voelz hope to add other grilled surprises, like real Japanese Wagyu beef, aged duck, live scallops, and Japanese potato salad. For drinks, expect a small, varied collection, from sake and rosé to bottled cocktails and beer, including Gigantic Brewery’s plum-flavored brew, made exclusively for Kotori.
How will Kotori differ from Biwa’s yakitori list? “We’re grilling more deliberately butchered and sourced poultry over beautiful charcoal without the distraction of a huge menu of other items,” says Rosen, a former butcher. “We’re putting in the extra work at the butcher shop. It makes a significant difference in quality. It’s just better. Biwa is a busy, crazy restaurant…this is a chance for us to work with the little details that define the best yakitori.”
Corner of SE 9th and Pine Street
Opening Thursday, July 9
4 pm until dark