Seattle means "coffee" to many people, Tammin Kim included.
The town also has teriyaki going for it. Inspired by the Japanese dish, generations of Korean American cooks have tweaked the recipe and opened shops selling the glazed, grilled meat, plated with rice and some sort of salad.
They can be found on every street corner, said Kim, 36, whose family moved to the Pacific Northwest when he was 3: "Like hoagies and cheesesteaks are here."
Kim just moved on from the coffee business on the Main Line (Green Bean in Gladwyne, which he closed three weeks ago after eight years) to a life behind the grill in Center City with a shop called Seattle Teriyaki (1608 Sansom St.). It occupies the short-lived home of At Ramen (aka @Ramen), which lasted only a few months. You may remember the storefront as Giwa, and before that, as the quirky How-to-Do-It Book Shop.
"I've thought about doing this for years," Kim told me. "I've been tinkering in my spare time."
Kim is keeping the menu simple with four teriyaki choices — grilled boneless chicken thigh ($7.99), grilled steak ($10.99), fried tofu ($8.99), and grilled chicken breast ($9.99), plus orders of fried dumplings (chicken or pork, $4.99). The teriyaki is served in a bowl over rice, alongside a scoop of all-American potato salad.
Great value. Kim grills a generous portion of chicken thighs marinated in soy, garlic, ginger, and scallion, and slices it to order. The rice and creamy potato salad provide a rich counterpart to the chicken.
Kim says he is working on a gluten-free version of the marinade.
Also, his business partner Jason Kim (no relation), who owns Jason's Toridasu and At Ramen, plans to begin offering sushi in the shop's small fridge soon.
Initial hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.