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Coming to Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue – Trapper’s Sushi

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on April 22, 2013 at 6:00 am | No Comments »
April 22, 2013 9:30 am
Rolls at Trapper's sushi are known for being over sized - each piece can yield two or three bites. Pictured here are partial rolls from a dinner at the Puyallup Trapper's. From the rear going clockwise, a Mountain roll, a Trapper roll, a Mt. Rainier and a Crystal Shrimp.
Rolls at Trapper’s sushi are known for being over sized – each piece can yield two or three bites. Pictured here are partial rolls from a dinner at the Puyallup Trapper’s. From the rear going clockwise, a Mountain roll, a Trapper roll, a Mt. Rainier and a Crystal Shrimp.

Coming to Sixth Avenue this spring – a sushi restaurant. Trapper’s Sushi plans a May opening at the storefront that housed the Overtime Bar and Grill at 3118 Sixth Ave. That restaurant closed Dec. 10 – about six months after opening.

The Tacoma sushi restaurant is the sixth outpost for Trapper O’Keeffe, who opened his first sushi restaurant in Bonney Lake in 2004. That restaurant spawned a sibling in Covington in 2009, then a Puyallup restaurant in 2010. Stores in Kent and Bremerton followed.

Trapper’s sushi is a fusion style best described as modern American. The menu emphasizes nearly 50 kinds of maki, many of the rolls are over sized – three-bite pieces – with myriad ingredients inside and out. I like to describe Trapper’s rolls as mini meals rolled up inside sushi rice and nori, with cascading flavors and ingredients. It’s a style quite different from other Tacoma sushi restaurants, such as Sixth Avenue’s Sushi Tama (a personal favorite), which emphasizes a more traditional Japanese presentation with minimal ingredients and pure, clean flavors. Conversely, Trapper’s rolls can come with over-the-top ingredients: Spicy garlic and cilantro sauce, flamed mayo and jalapeno. Beyond maki, Trapper’s lists the usual sushi restaurant menu offerings, such as teriyaki and tempura, and sashimi, nigiri and hand rolls. For vegetarians – Trapper’s has a thoughtful menu of a half dozen vegetable-based rolls.

Vertical is a good way to describe Trapper's sushi.
Vertical is a good way to describe Trapper’s sushi.

Seating at other Trapper’s outposts makes the restaurant ideal for group dining or anyone who likes to sit at a counter and lean over to watch the sushi chefs at work. Trapper’s typically keeps a well-staffed counter, which translates into quick dining, even at peak hours. The decor differs at each location, but the Puyallup restaurant is styled with industrial touches – diamond plating around the bar and exposed duct work with a palette of steel blue and silver. The walls sport stenciled artwork.

O’Keeffe said he had been scouting Sixth Avenue for some time. He’s a fan of the eclectic grouping of restaurants along Sixth and he thought his style of sushi would be a good fit for younger diners in that neighborhood. Expect a few cosmetic changes, but not a lot, to the building that was extensively remodeled for the opening of Overtime. O’Keeffe plans to keep the same footprint, swapping the bar out for a sushi counter. He expects the restaurant will seat 50.

You know how some restaurants in town are run entirely by families? This is one of those restaurants – O’Keeffe’s three brothers – Frank, Jimmy and Jaysin Reyna – work at his restaurants and so do his mother, a niece and two nephews. Sushi became the family trade nearly two decades ago when O’Keeffe’s brother-in-law – a classically trained sushi chef from Osaka – taught family members the sushi business at his restaurant in Reno. When his brother-in-law sold his Reno restaurant, O’Keeffe headed to the Northwest to be near his wife’s family and to work in sushi restaurants before opening his first solo restaurant in Bonney Lake. O’Keeffe lives in Lake Tapps.

Trapper’s Sushi
Where: 3118 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Opening: Sometime in May 2013
More information on other Trapper’s locations here.

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