Iyasare Softly Opening Tonight in Berkeley

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Seating in the dining room at Iyasare. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The divider between rooms at Iyasare. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, chef Shotaro Kamio is getting ready to open his new project, ~IYASARE~, on Fourth Street in Berkeley. We have word that the new spot is softly opening tonight, November 26th.

The space, which was designed by Sean Gaston, is spare and modern, with a gorgeous skylight in the front room, gently rounded walls, and dark wood booth seating along the walls. There is seating in the dining room for 35, at the bar for 12, and on the heated patio for 25. The bar is sleek polished wood, with pendant lights and a mirrored back bar. There are two seating areas along the wall opposite the bar, which are separated by a wall with a large circle cut into it. On the walls are framed pieces of cut paper artwork, hammered metal light fixtures, and “sculptures” of fabric that are beautiful, simple, and will probably help with noise control too.

As for the food, Kamio is looking to his native Tōhoku, in northeastern Japan, for inspiration. He describes the food as rustic and simple, with a focus on seasonal produce, seafood, and grains. Along with this style come distinct preservation techniques, like fermented foods in the form of miso and koji, sun-dried items like seaweed and seafood, and cured items. At dinner, Japanese charcuterie will be on offer, as well as dishes like whole-roasted fish like a branzino topped with ikura, nabemono, and Japanese-influenced pasta dishes with toasted spicy cod roe, ikura, uni, shaved bonito, and other ingredients. When lunch begins, look for set meals with miso soup, salads, and daily specials like soba and onigiri rice balls. Take a look at the current dinner menu right here.

At the bar, a variety of sakes are being poured, along with some artisanal Japanese beers. There’s also a selection of local beers, plus wine on tap. It’s all about sake-based cocktails at the moment, but a full liquor license is in the works. Right now, the space is softly open, with an official opening date of Sunday December 1st. It’s only open for dinner for now, with lunch coming two weeks after that, in mid-December. Congrats, Sho! 1830 4th St. at Hearst, Berkeley, 510-845-8100.