Now Open: Zake
Next to 1201 Harmon Place and 2819 Hennepin, 533 Hennepin may be the city's most cursed restaurant space, having managed to close not only an Olive Garden, but La Cucaracha. It's most recent tenant was Musashi, a restaurant that never seemed to get off the ground, despite its prime downtown address.
Every time I walked by Mushashi, the place looked empty. No one ever seemed to talk about it. And the time I ate there, during a prime weekday dinner hour, there were maybe two other parties in the entire cavernous restaurant. The sushi was fine, but the experience was like dining solo in a banquet hall. When my friend and I peeked into the neighboring habachi room, we encountered one couple seated at a group-size table--the whole situation felt as awkward as a guestless party.
Recently, 533 Hennepin been reborn as another Japanese restaurant called Zake that doesn't seem to be all that different than Musashi, as it still serves sushi, noodles, and habachi dishes. The attitude seems a little "edgier," though, and maybe that's what the place was missing. For those who can stomach the pun, Zake offers a nightly "Miso Hungry" all-you-can-eat steak and sushi for $25.