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Mar 5, 2007 07:33 AM

Looking for great sushi in downtown Seattle

Hi. Visiting for one night (tonight) and was wondering if there is somewhere that stands out?

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  1. If you're willing to travel by cab to 31st and Madison or so , there's a Nobu-spinoff there called Nishino. Closer in to downtown your best bet may be Shiro's. Union sometimes has live uni (and they usually have various other raw seafood such as Totten oysters, hamachi, tairagai etc), give them a call.

    7 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      It isn't a "Nobu spinoff" Tatsu Nishino was Matsuhisa's first sushi chef at Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills. He later moved to Seattle and opened his own place. He is certainly heavily influenced by Nobu Matsuhisa but having eaten at Nishino dozens of times and at 4 different Nobu restaurants in the States and the UK, I can tell you that the experiences are very different and the food differs quite a bit as well. Now that we don't live in Seattle anymore, we miss Nishino most of all our favorite restaurants.

      1. re: ccbweb

        i know what you are saying (and have eaten at Nobu NYC and Next Door Nobu well over 100 times, starting in 1995, and London (Nobu and Ubon), Las Vegas, Matsuhisa LA). By "spinoff" I mean many of the Nishino dishes are identical or slight variations of Nobu dishes, so Nobu fans can find what they are looking for at Nishino. I didn't mean to imply that Nishino is owned by Nobu enterprises or is part of their "franchise". I find Nishino not quite up to the execution at the better Nobu restaurants in the dishes that they have in common, but still a good place to eat (and agree that Seattle is lucky to have a place like this and a chef like Tatsu). PS where would you recommend to go for a similar experience where you currently are (San Fran?) TIA

        1. re: barleywino

          We haven't had a chance to explore a fair percentage of the sushi offerings in San Francisco yet. We have found a few places we like and since they're fairly near our house we've stuck with them. For the most similar experience to Nishino, I'd say that Koo in the Sunset district is my choice. They have a decor and atmosphere that is very similar to Nishino and they have an array of cooked food on offer, some of which is quite excellent (the Hamachi stuffed Grilled Jalapenos spring to mind). We have only been 3 times and they were in quick succession when we were living in an apartment in the Sunset. Their sushi bar was being renovated at the time, so the sushi chefs were working out of the main kitchen. I would think that, if anything, the quality of the sushi would go up once they are back at the bar with their normal setup. They also have my single favorite dish from any sushi bar ever: The Spoonful of Happines. Its a plate with 1) a shot glass of cold sake, 2) a spoon with Ankimo, quail egg and tobiko and 3) another spoon wtih Uni, a quail egg and tobiko. Such a great set of things. Ebisu, also in the Sunset is raucous, noisy, fast paced but with good fish and usually something unique (live Uni, for example). The experience is nothing like Nishino from a service/atmosphere perspective, but we were very pleased with the fish.

          1. re: barleywino

            barley, so how does Nishino stack up against your experiences at Nobu?

            1. re: landguy

              landguy, i think these types of restaurants shine when they do omakase. Both Nishino and Nobu (except the NYC one which has sadly gone downhill) have good omakase but Nobu tends to have more depth at the higher price points and can pull more out of their hat in terms of ingredients, composition and presentation when the occasion demands it. Nishino doesn't have any significant local competition in the Japanese fusion arena, so can rest on its laurels and faithful customer base without worrying too much about constantly innovating and one-upping other restaurants (ymmv) PS. fwiw Nishino is a much friendlier place than any NObu place i've been to ;)

              1. re: barleywino

                Thanks for the response. Sounds like we have a good thing going with Nishino!

                1. re: barleywino

                  That's a really fair and accurate assessment. I think I gravitate toward the experience at Nishino more because of the friendliness of the staff. Especially if you sit at the bar a few times, the chefs will learn what you like (as is the case with any truly good sushi bar) at which point the omakase experience gets better; at least that's what we found.

        2. the two i hear everyone fighting over are saito and shiro's. if you take a cab, i definitely would agree with nishino. ototo is a good option a little closer as well.

          1. Mr. Seabass, Sit at the bar at Shiro's and let the master do his work. (Rather than ordering from the menu.) You won't be disappointed.

            1. PS while you are in Seattle you should try the o-toro (Nishino is a good place for that). Beats out most o-toro that I've had back East. Seared or raw, it's good.

              1. if you choose Shiro, arrive at the restaurant at 5:20 pm to ensure you get seated at the bar. best to let Shiro know that you are adventurous and don't just want the ordinary salmon or tuna sushi.

                btw barleywino, is o-toro in season?

                1 Reply
                1. re: newerjazz

                  newerjazz, i saw it at Nishino a couple nights ago ($6 per piece...get one piece seared w/ garlic paste or garlic chip (ala Sushi of Gari) and one piece raw...they also had fried aji bone
                  usually if i go to Shiro i just order crab cream croquette and chicken karaage (fried chicken drumettes)