Patrons of Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro recently got a preview of Kenneth Booth’s new bento lunch and izakaya-style restaurant he plans to open next month in a walk-up window in the former Arc Arcade on 11th Street.
Booth’s new place will be called Būsu, an homage to his surname translated from Japanese to mean “informational booth.” He hopes it will be a place for people to broaden their experience of Japanese-influenced cuisine beyond sushi.
During lunch, Booth plans to offer soups and salads to go, along with a rotating variety of bento boxes with lamb, chicken, pork, seafood and vegan options. At night, Būsu will transform into more of an izakaya, an informal Japanese pub.
“At nighttime, it’s more of a time for me to play a little bit more,” Booth said. “There’s such a broad range of Japanese dishes that aren’t just sushi.”
In addition to small plates and specialty dishes, Būsu will offer Japanese carbonated drinks, beer and sake.
Booth recently moved back from Kansas City, where he was an executive chef at a farm-to-table restaurant, ran Bun Bros. KC making steamed pork and vegan curry Nikuman buns and served high-end pop-up dinners through his company, Dojo Kenichi. He spent 10 years in Oregon, including two in Astoria working at the Silver Salmon Grille and T. Paul’s Supper Club.
After getting married, Booth said, he and his wife missed the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
Booth plans to eventually decorate the walk-up window, install a new awning with drop-down walls to protect from wind and rain and attach a new bar and stools for people wanting to hang out.
“It was really important for me to have a small space where I can interact with customers,” he said.
Booth hopes to open Būsu by the end of May.