KIGO Kitchen Pairs Authentic Ingredients with Untraditional Sauces


With one step through the doors of KIGO Kitchen (South Lake Union), you’ll feel like you’re walking through the alleyways of downtown Tokyo.  The large signs with modern Japanese calligraphy hanging from the high ceilings, flames flying in the air, and a quick “wok to order” street food concept makes this an attractive dining location for fellow Amazonians, locals and travelers visiting Seattle.

Customers can choose from six pre-selected chef’s creations (below) or customize to their flavor profile where you select the base, veggies, protein and sauce, in other words you’ll be able to dine here and try something new every time! Each dish includes 2 full servings of vegetables and 3 oz protein that is wokked to order giving increased depth in flavor beginning to end.

Kigo Classic: Kigo-Yaki on chicken, white rice
Kigo Tang: Garlic Lemongrass on chicken, white rice
Kigo Tarian: Peanut Hoisin on tofu, noodles
Kigo Curry: Coconut Curry on steak, brown rice
Kigo Ono: Pineapple Tamarind on pork, brown rice
Kigo Kick: Chili Citrus on steak, baby Asian greens

What we enjoyed the most about our experience tasting the dishes at Kigo Kitchen were the bold, rich flavors, the use of local spices, the freshness of the greens, and the creativity of the sauces.  You won’t find pre-made meats laying around but rather grilled to order giving it the maximum tenderness and taste every time.  Our favorite was the pepper steak rubbed and grilled – the smokey grilled flavor will be very apparent.  

We had the chance to talk to Co-founder Steve Hooper who came up with the the quick service Asian restaurant idea during his pursuit of his MBA at Dartmouth.  The idea was first conceptualized after a craving for something new to eat that was fresher, faster and more flavorful than their regular standbys. Inspired by the alchemy of fire and their youthful adventures off-the-beaten path, Kigo Kitchen is their answer, filling a proven void in the market.
But what makes KIGO really special?  We asked Kigo’s head chef and Stratford Connecticut native, Heather Nucifora about how she came up with the menu and the future of Kigo.  Having a background as a nutritionist and dietician as well as a culinary arts degree from Vancouver, BC inspired her to create something that was not only healthy, but full of flavor.  Nucifora emphasizes the uniqueness and specialty of Kigo are the untraditional sauces that were authentically made (nine in total with six of them being multi-dimensional).  Of these sauces you’ll find a Seattle-style sauce which is a little sweet, a tangy herby sauce, warm and savory sesame, panang style, sweet & sour to an orange and ginger soy sauce, oh and not to mention there is some sriracha in the the mix. 

Nucifora wanted to bring the “essence of foreign cuisine in a comfortable way.” 

We asked Nucifora what was coming down the pipeline and she foreshadowed the introduction of a traditional Japanese rice caked called mochi, a fried rice bowl and possibly a new location next year. Fun culinary tip from Chef Nucifora: “If you can make good sauce, you can rescue any situation.” 

KIGO KITCHEN | 210 Westlake Ave (between Thomas St & John St) Seattle, WA 98109 / (206) 805-8845


Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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