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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) ;-)


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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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)

        1. I would recommend several glasses of champagne first. Otherwise, two or three shots of her favorite hard liquor might work also. That’s how my friends got me to try sushi for the first time and I will never stop thanking them for that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mark Nobe

            If you go to Kisaku, treat your mom (and yourself) to some Gekkakow daiginjo sake. If Nishino, the Kuramatsu sake is a decent one to start with.

          2. 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!

            1. What you order is more important than where. My vote, though, would be I Love Sushi. Extensive menu, consistently excellent quality, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices. But many other places would be fine too.

              For your mom's first visit, order a mix of items that are relatively accessible -- cooked dishes (tempura, soba, edamame, miso), some rolls (such as California, Rosanna, and Spider), and accessible nigiri sushi (unagi, sake, hamachi, maguro).

              1 Reply
              1. re: BruceB

                I second I Love Sushi. A cheesy name but great, reasonably priced sushi.

              2. Any recommendations for Shiki Sushi in the Queen Anne area?

                1 Reply
                1. re: K K

                  i have a couple of friends who used to LOVE Shiki but say it has gone downhill in the last 6 months or so. smaller portions, not as good quality. does anyone know if management changed?

                2. I'm going with the Nishino recommendation. It's a very comfortable environment and there are plenty of non-sushi items to fall back on.

                  1. Sushi Land has a conveyor belt Sushi bar in Bellevue (haven't been to the Seattle location). If you want authentic, it's going to be pricey. The sushi that they serve at Sushi Land isn't very exciting, but it's cheap and tastes good. Start off with California Rolls, have some spicy Tuna, their house roll isn't very intimidating. With Sushi, the expensive Omikasae's is not something to be wasted on someone with hang-ups with Sushi. That shiny and strangely almost pulsating pile of Uni takes a bit of courage to put in your mouth for the uninitiated. Take it slow and let them progress at their own rate. Sake doesn't hurt either.