Crispy rice topped with spicy tuna at Moon Tree Sushi & Tapas.
Crispy rice topped with spicy tuna at Moon Tree Sushi & Tapas.
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When Moon and Jinhee Chun relocated the restaurant they opened together in Everett to Lower Queen Anne, their regulars had a few requests.

“They were, ‘We’ll follow you wherever you go,’” Jinhee Chun said. “I have some awesome friends I have made.”

Moon Chun grew up in South Korea, where he studied culinary arts at Chodang University.

“Actually, my mom, she was a pretty good cook,” he said.

“His mom is an amazing cook,” Jinhee said, noting her husband was the oldest child. “I think he had to kind of look after them, and that opened the door here and there to feed them.”

The couple met 14 years ago while working at different restaurants inside the Peppermill Resort in Reno. Moon was a line cook at the French-focused White Orchid.

“When I met him, I was working at the buffet,” Jinhee said.

Moon always wanted to open his own restaurant.

“It was my dream,” he said. “I came here in 2005, and then I worked hard, saved money.”

After working at the Momiji Japanese restaurant in Capitol Hill for 10 months, Moon teamed up with his wife to open Moon Tree Tapas in Everett in 2015.

“We loved that little restaurant,” Jinhee said. “It was our first.”

Unable to do more in their former space, and with their lease up, they looked all over for a new location.

“This was just the best option for us,” Jinhee said.

“We just fell in love with it,” Moon added.

Moon Tree Sushi & Tapas had a soft opening on Dec. 23, taking over the former Roaring Bowl space at 516 First Ave. N. They invited their customers from Everett to try their new sushi options and revised menu.

“They came,” Jinhee said, “and we just fed them what we prepared.”

Regular customers had been adamant about Moon Tree keeping its kimchi fried rice and crispy cauliflower, which is topped with seven spices and comes with truffle aioli. Moon likes the fried shishito peppers and crispy rice topped with spicy tuna.

“He’s the reason I became a foodie, I think,” Jinhee said, “but we’ve been in the restaurant industry so long.”

It took the Chuns 2 1/2 months to build out the old Roaring Bowl space, keeping the walls the same, removing the miscellaneous floor outlets, redecorating and creating the sushi bar, where customers can find Moon and three other sushi chefs at work; he also tends to the kitchen, where he makes all of Moon Tree’s roughly 30 sauces and dressings.

Those looking for an experience can order the Moon Tree omakase, where the chef provides a sushi experience of their choosing; that’s $95 per person, and is meant to be an experience.

“I can’t be in the kitchen,” Jinhee said. “That’s a tough place.”

The desserts are also made in-house, and include coconut mango panna cotta, banana spring roll and espresso mousse.

The new Queen Anne restaurateurs work all day at Moon Tree, which is only closed on Mondays.

“We eat here six days a week,” Jinhee said, and then at neighboring restaurants. “We have to support each other, small businesses.”

She said January and February are the slowest months for restaurants, which is allowing them to refine their new operation. Dinner is the busiest time for Moon Tree, which Moon said is likely because people don’t know about their lunch specials yet, which include poke bowls, chirashi, kimchee fried rice, a popular Chinese chicken salad and bento boxes.

“Even though the commute is a little hard, I do have three employees that followed me here,” Jinhee said.

The Chuns found a house for rent in Upper Queen Anne, and say they’re enjoying their new neighborhood.

Find a menu and business hours at moontreeseattle.com.