Introducing a Sushi Rookie
I'm venturing up to Seattle in December to spend time with my family. My mom has never tried sushi before and I'm determined to introduce her.
What can you recommend for a great authentic experience? Bonus points for places that won't break the bank (so she'll return on her own) ;-)
To me, the holy trinity in Seattle....Shiro's, Nishino and Saito's. I wouldn't say they're inexpensive, though.
Kisaku and Chiso are right behind them. In the international district, there is Maneki and Fuji Sushi.
Let us know how it turns out.
I second the recommendation for Shiro's. You MUST sit at the Sushi bar for a true Shiro's experience. I strongly suggest you not order from the menu, but just ask Shiro to prepare you dishes he recommends that evening. Close friends that have said: "I don't like sushi" have been converted in a single evening at Shiro's. As with any top sushi restaurant in Seattle, it won't be inexpensive, but it won't be outrageous either. Try getting there by 5:30 to assure a seat at the bar.
ChewToy, As you seem to be from the LA area, you will recognize the menu and style at Nishino from Matsuhisa in LA, if that's any help. FOr freshness and variety (including fallback options for non raw fish eaters) that may be your best bet (get your mom some of their seared o-toro), followed by Kisaku (but avoid the uni at Kisaku). I find the sushi at Shiro's to be pricey for what you get (unusually small and stingy pieces), i usually only go there for the crab cream croquette or chicken karaage. Saito's seems to run out of even basic sushi items sometimes, not a good sign imo. CHiso, Maneki, Fuji (and Koji, Nijo, Tsukushinbo, Ume) are all ok for a fix if you happen to be on their doorstep but i would not go out of my way to go to them for sushi. YOur best bet is really the omakase at Tojo's in Vancouver BC (the closest we have to Urasawa in this neck of the woods)
I like Nishino. It's not "traditional" but very good and accomodating. Ask to sit at the bar rather than a table and you can ask for them to make you whatever you want including what you see them making for others. Maybe start her with a few veggie or cooked items to ease her in like California roll or shrimp tempura roll.
A pint of Sapporo or some sake might loosen her up. Have fun!