First Call: Kushibar's Mr. Roboto Goes Great With Dragon Balls

The Watering Hole: Kushibar, 2319 Second Ave., BELLTOWN The Atmosphere: The narrow restaurant, adorned with a colorful paper lantern and a wall filled with Japanese characters, offers inviting views from nearly every angle—whether you're cozying up beneath the eyes of expert chefs flipping kushiyaki (grilled skewers) in the open-air kitchen, or enjoying a few specialty cocktails on the covered deck alongside bustling Second Avenue. Locals come here to escape the crowds spilling out of the hood's rowdier bars, to be able to gorge on Japanese street food with plenty of elbow room. During the weekends, the bar can get a bit congested, but this doesn't seem to last once curious partiers realize the area serves more as a mature meeting ground than a quick hookup spot. The Barkeep: Will Doherty, whose early years were spent in Fair Lawn, N.J., before his father moved the family to Seattle. Kushibar's camera-shy part-owner, Doherty used to mix drinks at Bada Lounge before it was replaced by Umi Sake House, He spends most of his time mixing drinks and seating hungry guests, which doesn't take away from his charm. The Drink: Doherty makes a tough decision from the bar's repertory of humorously named cocktails, choosing his favorite, the Mr. Roboto. The pint glass contains Pimm's No. 1, Hendricks gin, lemonade, and Thomas Kemper ginger ale, topped with cucumber slices. The Verdict: Perfect for anyone just breaking into gin, as Mr. Roboto's alcohol is masked by the sugary lemonade and ginger ale, making a dangerously smooth concoction that might result in gulps rather than sips. Fans of alcohol-soaked vegetables or fruit should also try the Lychee Lemonade, with Stoli Vanil, Soho lychee liqueur, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and a tender pear-like lychee that looks like a glowing orb on the bottom of the martini glass. Not a fan of sucking on fruit? Be sure to try Kushibar's dragon balls (scallops wrapped with bacon). food@seattleweekly.com

 
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