Over the weekend, chef Matt Spinner announced that come July 25, he will close Ushabu, his shabu-shabu, sushi and Japanese tasting-course concept in Tremont, adding that the close-quartered dining arrangement no longer made sense. He also said that news regarding its replacement would be forthcoming.
Today, we can announce that the new concept will be called Bar Oni, a "hip casual Japanese sports pub," according to Spinner.
"In this brand-new dining landscape, we do not feel that the Ushabu that we have come to know and love, is the best way forward," the chef explains. "Given the popularity of our pop up, Oni Kitchen Ramen Shop during the COVID closure, we think that it is time to unveil izakaya style drinking and dining to the City of Cleveland."
Interior changes will include removal of the built-in induction burners, marble bartop and six-person bar. Those fixtures will be replaced by light wood tabletops, 10-12 seat bar and a more relaxed atmosphere. Televisions will be installed where art once hung. Sports — Browns, Indians, Cavs, Japanese baseball and sumo matches — will be aired live.
The menu will be built around yakitori, literally "skewered, grilled chicken," which will be cooked atop imported yakitori grills. Each "reasonably priced" skewer will be accompanied by sea salt, sake and other condiments. Those grilled skewers will join other menu items like tempura fried vegetable skewers, fried and grilled fish, fresh fish and seafood specials and Wagyu skewers and steaks. Nightly entree specials, such as dollar beer and fried pork katsu, will also be available.
To drink there will be sake on tap, local beer, Japanese and domestic whiskies, cocktails and hard seltzers. The lengthy sake selection will be trimmed to a "greatest hits."
We'll update this post with opening day info when it becomes available.