"This idea has been cooking for awhile," says Scott Kim, chef and owner of Sasa (13120 Shaker Sq., 216-767-1111).
He's talking about Accent, his new Pan-Asian restaurant that will open this spring in University Circle. Part of the new Uptown project at Euclid and Mayfield, Accent will feature Cleveland's first robata grill.
Unlike Sasa, Kim's sleek sushi and sake bar at Shaker Square, Accent will feature a broader menu with broader appeal, he explains.
"With Accent I am trying to create something where everybody can be comfortable," he says. "It's a totally different concept from Sasa. There will be more of a Korean touch, more of a Chinese touch, and no sushi on the menu."
Nearly double the size of Sasa, Accent will seat 200 inside and another 100 outside. The main focus of the dining room will be the open kitchen, situated squarely in the middle of the room. There, chefs will grill all matter of Japanese-style skewers on a robata grill, a shallow charcoal grill that imparts amazing aroma and flavor. Items will include local grass-fed beef and chicken, Korean barbecue, and numerous vegetarian-friendly options.
Other menu items will include Asian noodle dishes and multi-cultural bento boxes.
Inspired by a bento box, the space will feature a divided layout with separate areas for drinking and dining. The bar side will be a casual, open environment with communal high-top tables for no-reservation snacking. The dining side, in contrast, will be calm and comfortable, says Kim.
"I wanted to create a comfortable place where you can stop on your way home from work and have a beer or two and a couple skewers," Kim says.