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[SEA]Musashi's - What do you really think?

I've heard mixed reviews, mainly from people whose opinions I don't know well enough to trust or not trust. I've heard its great, fresh, popular, not so fresh, inexpensive, overly crowded. The only place I've seen it reviewed in print is one of those Seattle tourist books that we bought a few months ago when we moved to get to know the city better (not for eating recs). This book also highly praised Blue C Sushi, which we tried and were sorely disappointed by (quality, freshness, and raw selection were poor).

So before I trek over to Musashi's for lunch and fight for a parking spot, please tell me if it's worth it.

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  1. I've only eaten here once, and wasn't all that impressed. I am willing to wait a while for excellent sushi, but I'd rather get a satisfying meal out of it, and not feel rushed to finish. When we ordered our sashimi, it arrived too cold. Temperature is one of things you don't notice until it's done wrong. It was a few degrees away from freezer burned. :-( If you're willing to wait, I'd go for Maneki in the I.D. instead--it's still quite affordable.

    1. My roommate brought home take out from here once. Admittadly she had asked for sashimi, which is not on the menu (what? sushi place without sashimi?), but it was raggedly cut in odd pieces, and tasted very tinny. On the other hand, she got basically a huge styrofoam container full of sashimi for $11

      you get what you pay for?

      1. Thanks hounds. That is what I had feared.

        1. People line up outside because it's cheap and they serve large, sloppy pieces of sushi.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Atomica

            I wondered why that place always was so crowded. So its a good for people looking for large amounts of cheap raw fish. Heh.

          2. From what I've heard - it's cheap. If that's the best that can be said about raw fish, I think i'll pass.

            1. Thanks all. As it is firmly panned by a group whose opinions I respect, I think I'll pass. I'll post a separate thread looking for your recs on sushi in the area.

              1. You need to head to Musashi's with the right expectations.
                It's not Shiro's, it's not Hiroshi's, it's not even Fuji.
                Would I go there for a quick bite? yes.
                Would I make it a point to eat here? not really.
                Would I take people there to impress? no way.

                If you can't think of Japanese food as anything besides high class expensive cuisine, then this isn't the place for you. It's really just the kind of stuff most regular Japanese people might prepare at home. It's not the best meal you'll ever have and it's not super particular about being "authentic", but it's better than alot of places serving sushi around Seattle.

                I think the best way to describe it would be as a "blue collar" japanese restaurant, in price, in atmosphere, etc.
                (Take that for what it's worth)

                8 Replies
                1. re: GreenYoshi

                  You know, I appreciate that sentiment, but the fact is, sushi is expensive food. I could get a burger or a couple pizza slices for lunch and get out for $6-7. If I'm going to get sushi, where the quality is key to the experience (and I'm not talking about high class, just fresh good ingredients), I'd rather pay $15 for solid/good than $12 for mediocre.

                  1. re: sasha1

                    I think it depends on your expectations--like all other food, there's a wide spectrum of quality. Mushashi's is the Dick's of sushi; sounds like you want the Kobe beef burger experience.

                    Personally, I'm there often because it's near my house, cheap, and--while certainly not amazing--completely fine. The servers don't give a damn about you and you don't have to ooh and aah over the cuts of fish. Sometimes I'm in the mood for the high class sushi bar, but more often than not, I just want a quick sushi fix and Musashi's is better than QFC.

                    But I wouldn't go out of my way to visit it, no way...

                  2. re: GreenYoshi

                    Interesting distinction. A good "blue collar" Japanese restaurant, focusing less on sushi and more on cooked/grilled items (grilled fish, yakiniku), curries, deep fried foods (karaage, katsu), comfort food, home cooking or seasonal dishes ("hamburg", unatamadon, oden, cold noodles, nimono, chirashi, tsukemono, etc) seems much harder to find than a good "high class" sushi place, and is a treasure, imo. The ones i used to frequent in the Japanese communities in San Jose (Gombei), Boston (Cafe Mami) etc usually had lines out the door around lunchtime or sometimes even dinner time. Closest to this style that I can think of around here is Takohachi, or perhaps Fort George or Tsukushinbo(i've heard Vancouver has several very popular places also).

                    1. re: barleywino

                      There aren't that many "blue collar" Japanese restaurants around here. If Fort George is the one I'm thinking of, it really doesn't compare to what you can get in Vancouver. There's an izakaya place in belltown (Wann, never been) but it looks way too trendy! My two favorite reasonably priced Japanese places are Maneki (has a good selection of cooked items) and sushiland. I find Musashi's to be overrated; I think someone else mentioned sloppy? I totally agree.

                      1. re: karen2006

                        yeah i'm not a particular fan of Fort George (or Tsukushinbo), and find that even Maneki can be sloppy at times. Wann used to have good chicken nanban and yakisoba but I stopped going because they overcharge for what you get.

                      2. re: barleywino

                        Barley, I do enjoy my comfort Japanese food, but I was looking for a casual and tasty everyday sushi place. I tend to crave the raw stuff more than the cooked, and have been missing it since leaving LA. We use to have a gluttony of great curry and noodle houses to choose from - even dessert when a Beard Papa franchise opened up on my street (a couple miles up) shortly before we left.

                        We tried to try Takohachi but it was closed - went to another place in the i.d. starting with an "S" near the big Asian market. It was good, but not like the ramen places at home. A little too purist for my tastes...

                        1. re: sasha1

                          For raw stuff, Susu mentioned Umi in Belltown, especially during happy hour it's a good deal and quality can be surprisingly good. Takohachi can be greasy/salty (and brusque service) but sometimes that is what one craves.

                          1. re: barleywino

                            I second the thoughts of barley. I went to Umi with a couple of friends and pretty low expectations. We went early and it was surprisingly good.

                    2. This is a great topic. Recently my wife and I went to Blue C Sushi in Fremont, with modest expectations for an affordable sushi dinner. We were happy with the food and base menu prices, but at the end of dinner when we added up alll the fish, drinks, taxes and tip, we were within about $30 of Shiro's. That's when we decided to eat sushi a bit less often... at Shiro's. :-)

                      I'll offer one more suggestion that's worked well for us. We buy a nice brick of sashimi-grade tuna from Uwajimaya, plus a few smaller pieces of favorites like yellowtail and eel, and create an affordable sashimi feast at home for a very nice price. This works on those days we're not looking for the communal sushi bar experience.