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Best Seattle Sushi

  • j

My girlfriend and I have one night in Seattle. We're staying at the Inn at the Market (but have a car) and we want a unique Northwest sushi experience. Price is no object. A view would be great. Thoughts?

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  1. Josh, scroll down and read my post about Ototo. Best new Sushi in Seattle and very inventive. Shiro's would be my second chioce.

    1. In my opinion Shiro's (Belltown) is the best in town. Saito's (Downtown), Nishino (Madison Park), Kisaku (Greenlake) and Chiso (Fremont) are excellent as well.

      1. You can get very good sushi at Sushiman in Issaquah, an upscale community 15 minutes east of Seattle (directly east on I-90, very easy to find). I've pasted the link below. Before Sushiman moved into their new building, about 3 years ago, I was a regular and enjoyed the fresh sushi as well as the box lunches at about $12 a pop. The reputation of this place steadily grew and given the high number of million dollar homes all around Issaquah, it was maybe a good idea for them to make the move down the street into a new building. It seems they made their food even better, with a very high standard, but the pricing basically makes it a deal-killer for me. Even my old boss, who probably pays himself 300k/yr, mentioned that he no longer takes his family there because it's just too darn spendy. Last time I ate there, it was nearly $100 for four, and it was lunch (but we ate quite a lot). Two for dinner can easily be $100, but you said price is no object, so if that's the case then I'd give it consideration. Issaquah is located in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, and it's surrounded by beautiful "Issaquah Alps" (a range of three peaks--Squak, Tiger, and Cougar). Now through end of October there are giant salmon spawning in Issaquah creek, there is a beautiful public hatchery, and the first weekend of October is the annual Issaquah Salmon Days. You just might have a great time in Issaquah, with Sushiman and everything else going on.

        Link: http://seattle.citysearch.com/profile...

        1. If you want to spend alot of money for mediocre sushi, I would recommend Shiro's. For excellent sushi at a reasonable price, I would recommend "I Love Sushi" in Bellevue or "Tokyo" in Factoria. Shiro's offers nothing over these two places buy many Seattlelites are afraid to wander east on I90. So, Shiros charges more money for sushi which is nothing special.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Foodguy

            JT
            May I suggest trying Shiros but in "another way".
            It has been my experience that you can have a fabulous dining experience at Shiros by setting at the bar and not ordering anything from the menu.
            Instead, give Shiro permission to control your sushi experience and your dinner sequence.
            More often than not, your food experience will be completely different than any other sushi bar in Seattle. (Monk fish foie gras, salmon cartiledge, etc.) I think you will come away with a different impression of Shiros. I know I did.

            1. re: Leper
              s
              Seattle Rose

              Having been Leper's guest at a Shiros feast, I can second his suggestion.

              R

              1. re: Seattle Rose

                This is absolutely true. And yes, I'm afraid to take I90 except to see my in-laws or make it out for golf or fishing. I really don't like traffic. :)

          2. Since you'll be downtown, I'd walk to Shiro's, getting there early so you can sit in front of Shiro's station at the sushi bar, and ask him to take care of you. I think the sushi at I Love Sushi is just as good, the prices are a little lower, it's more casual, and I love some of their inauthentic rolls. But Shiro is a master and you can taste some more unusual things.

            Someone mentioned I Love Sushi in Bellevue. Huh? That's their original place, but the one in Lake Union has identical food and infinitely nicer atmosphere, not to mention that you don't have to cross Lake Washington to get there.

            I don't get all the excitement over Ototo. I live a block away so I go there a lot, but their sushi, while good, is noticeably less wonderful than the other places mentioned here.

            1. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a "unique Northwest sushi experience" (except maybe an "Ichiro roll" :-), but there are plenty of nice places to try. Shiro's and Saito's are good and in walking distance but my recommendation is Sammi Sushi in Magnolia (about a 10 minute drive). It's at the marina with a nice view of downtown (which you can't see from the sushi bar), a fine menu, and very good sushi. Have fun!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sss

                I'm sorry to say that Sanmi closed about a year ago. According to the Seattle Times, the chef retired.

              2. Have a unique Northwest experience. Hop the Bainbridge ferry and go to Winslow on Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge Island Sushi House is a pleasant walk from the ferry. Great sushi! Pleasant atmosphere.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pam

                  Sad to say, Koji closed BI Sushi about a year ago. Big loss to us Islanders as it was far and away the best meal on the Island.

                2. There's some good sushi in Seattle... I loved Saito (downtown), and I hear Nishino is divine, but nothing beats my neighborhood haunt, Mashiko. You'll have to drive to this West Seattle spot, but you won't be sorry. Let Hajime do his thing and you'll end up with a gorgeous plate. Hajime's food is art, hand's down. Better than just pleasing the eye, though, his sushi also uniquely combines wonderful flavors and textures. The atmosphere is casual and mellow, and the music is great. Check it out!

                  Link: http://www.sushiwhore.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kerry

                    I hope I'm not too late, but I highly recommend going to Mashiko's and when you do, ask for omakase, or chef's choice. Even if you don't end up going to Mashiko's, order chef's choice, you'll get more interesting sushi and you'll more than likely get items that aren't on the menu and be completely surprised. I've done omakase at most of the great sushi restaurants in Seattle like Shiro's and Shiki's, but none compare to the innovation and sublimeness of Mashiko's. I've written a number of reports on Mashiko's (I'm not a reporter, just a diner!), if you'd like to read them and get a better feeling, here's the link:

                    Link: http://forums.egullet.com/ibf/index.p...

                  2. My personal favorite is I love Sushi. I fyou're sitting at the bar(is there any other way?) feel free to ask the chef for an omikase meal, and prepare to be wowed.

                    1. I don't quite understand the raves for Shiro's. I've been three three times, and each time was okay but very pricey. For that amount, I's rather go to Nishino's. And while I liked Nishino's, it's just too pretentious for me. I loved the portion sizes at Mashiko, but often it was hit or miss and with the amount of food you get there, I'd rather it be mostly hits. Unfortunately, it has been mostly misses - and the miso soup has always tasted like soap to me.

                      For a great sushi experience, try Maneki's in the International District. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest sushi restaurant in the ID. For great sushi, skip I love sushi and go straight to Kisaku's - you'll get the same great prices but better fish. And the toro - beautiful! Kisaku's is easily my favorite Seattle sushi place currently. Saito's was good but not spectacular enough for me to definitely return. Sanmi sushi was very nice - they have beautiful amaebe - but a little far from downtown.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Lani

                        Is Maneki's the place with lots of glass windows, that's on the second floor of the building that has a popular travel agent downstairs, at the intersection where the old Uwajimaya and the post office are kitty-corner from each other? My friend was in that restaurant not too long ago eating Japanese food and he said Sasaki (Seattle Mariner) was there too. Well, if Sasaki likes it, must be good :)

                        1. re: Fritz

                          No, I think that is a Maekawa or Ft St George, both of which are Izkayas--tapas type places. Great, but not really sushi oriented. Maneki is great and sushi and everything though!

                        2. re: Lani

                          I think maybe there is too much involved in a sushi 'experience' to generically label a place as THE place to go. What do you like about sushi? What are you looking for?

                          I remember when I first moved here and went to O'hana and had a great sushi experience. It was probably my third time with sushi and my co-workers ordered unagi and a couple inside out rolls. It was much better than anything I had up to that point.

                          Months or years later I went to Wasabi Bistro for the first time and saw all the crazy rolls on the menu. It was like sushi for Americans and I instantly fell in love with the place. I went back many times to buy godzilla and Ichirolls and all types of rolls fried and/or with cream cheese. I even took some customers there and my parents while visiting. I had my first taste of White Salmon, which was delicious.

                          Sometime later, my gf took me to Saito's, her fav place, where I had toro for the first time. So sweet and creamy it only hurt a little to spend so much on such a little piece.

                          I have had the most amazing experiences at Shiro's in regards to sushi, but it has only been one time when I was newer to sushi and got the sashimi platter with a bunch of friends at a table and years later, every time I sat at the bar and ordered omakase. I've had 2-3 mediocre experiences there when I have ordered a random platter / chef choice of sushi off the menu from a table.

                          Nowadays, I don't much care for rolls and so places like O'hana and Wasabi have little interest to me. It's not to say they are bad (OK, maybe O'hana is). I still like Wasabi Bistro for other things and I think it's very representative of the 'Belltown' area and they have a tasty crab soup and fried calamari salad. Saito's is obviously very good and formal but for some reason I go there less and less even though I've had delicious sushi there.

                          But lately, sitting at the bar on Sunday nights at Shiro's has proven to be some of the most memorable dining experiences I have had lately and it seems like there has always been something new and delicious in our omakase experience.

                          So it just depends on what you're looking for in the restaurant. Do you care about roll selection (Wasabi has a million rolls)? Are you looking for the biggest selection of toro (Saito's has like 3)? Do you care about the atmosphere and ambience on a friday night (little, if any at a Shiro's table)? Do you want a fun, young place with low lighting and more lively atmosphere (O'hana and Wasabi thrive here)? Or are you looking for a casual and quiet meal sitting in front of the sushi master waiting to see what comes next? Luckily, there are plenty of choices for us here in Seattle.

                        3. Shiro's is way overated. Try I Love Sushi.

                          1. I really really love Umi Sake House on 1st Ave in Belltown. The sashimi/nigiri is always super fresh and good sized -- plus they have really inventive rolls. They also have a really good happy hours: the first is from 4-6p but then they have another at 11pm - You can get 12 pieces of high-grade delicious sashimi for $10! Everything I've ever ordered here has been delicious -- and they have these really cute little coffee table/bench tables in the back. And heated toilet seats :)

                            1. I highly recommend Kappo--the new omakase sushi bar by the owner of Chiso. It's a private hideaway with just 10 seats at the sushi bar. You receive a 6 course meal for $100 and it is an incredible experience. One course is sashimi, one course is soup, one course is kobe beef (from japan), one course is sushi and then whatever else Tai Chisan wants to serve. You must make a reservation because he doesn't open unless there are reservations on the books. It's expensive but worth it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: niknik2

                                I sat at the bar at Chiso (not Kappo) for the first time last night and was very impressed. We gave the chef carte blanche on sashimi and sushi, with the only guideline being we wanted mirugai (geoduck) and that we enjoyed unusual things. The sashimi course included one of the most luxurious bites I have ever taken: an oyster on the half shell topped with a generous dollop of uni, salmon roe, tobiko, and a raw quail's egg. Magnificient. For a geoduck sashimi neophyte, I found it an amazing combination of crisp and forgiving textures, with an unmistakable briny flavor; the hamachi belly was the most decadent and rich I've had, and the albacore was also outstanding. The nigiri standout was the abalone (I think) with chiso leaf, and the sweet shrimp was very good. Overall, a very impressive selection and presentation (the chef said he considered what he might order if he was out with his wife, and made this happen for us). The meal was much more expensive ($120 for two w/o tip) than those we usually enjoy at our standbys, Saito's and Kisaku (appx. $60-80). However, the sashimi portions are generous at Chiso, and of course we indulged in some more precious sea creatures this time around.

                              2. Has anyone tried Nijo sushi in post alley? I just received a gift certificate there and have perused their website which looks pretty good...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: soypower

                                  Sushi-wise Nijo is ok but not particularly outstanding. It is more of a destination for happy hour (lychee martinis etc) or cooked food (kalbi or various rolls etc) imo. Don't expect much in the way of service. They're definitely a step up from Koji Osakaya (a couple blocks north on the Harbor steps) fwiw.

                                  1. re: soypower

                                    When I worked in the building it was a great place for a lunch bento box or some happy hour nibbles. Not anything to write home about, but worth spending the GC, for sure.

                                  2. I just returned from Shiro's. The reviewers who say it's overrated have no idea what they're talking about. If you want to order a Dynamite Roll or Philadelphia Roll, then by all means listen to the naysayers. But if you want authentic omakase sushi prepared to perfection, then pay a visit to Shiro's. I've had sushi all over Tokyo, and I can tell you that Shiro's would be a top 5% restaurant in Tokyo. In Seattle, it's simply the best. (I also enjoyed Kissaku.)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: tkennedy1228

                                      I'm going to Shiro's for the first time this Friday - I can't wait. Definitely ordering omakase. Will report back!

                                    2. Hello fellow hounds.
                                      Any recent updates? Is Shiro still THE BEST??!!