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Who's been to Nishino?

natalie.warner Mar 6, 2008 10:10 AM

I want to have a great experience tonight. Menu recommendations? Reviews? With a little research and feedback I know that the whole night will be a great food experience. Thanks!

  1. c
    chioggia Apr 28, 2008 09:47 PM

    We ate there last weekend and loved the black cod and the calamari salad.

    1. e
      equinoise Apr 26, 2008 11:55 PM

      I went last night for the first time in a decade. We considered the "walk-in" omakase, but just ended up ordering a la carte and spending perhaps more money.

      Of the Nobu-style and/or cooked items, we both enjoyed the kampachi w/ponzu, and the miso soup with garlic butter and clams (mushrooms were plentiful). We ordered the halibut cheek with curry, and it came out last when we were too full to eat it--but the bites we had were tasty, though the plate was a bit overwrought and more thai-ish than japanese-ish, FWIW.

      One thing I really wished I'd tried was a spot prawn ceviche with avocado (it sold out). (one of the sushi chefs advised that spot prawns are the same as sweet shrimp--I hadn't made the connection before). Maybe I'll try to create the dish at home, given a recent fixation on ceviche.

      As for sushi and sashimi, some fish were exquisitely fresh and amongst the top versions i've had (mirugai, surf clam, king crab, uni, salmon roe) and as for others, I've done better for less $ at Saito's or Kisaku (saba, sockeye salmon, yellowtail/scallion roll). The sashimi orders are large and the unlisted prices are generally about twice as much as nigiri for the same item--though I liked getting five fried shrimp heads instead of two.

      Even the standard miso soup was a cut above, and small touches like the frozen bamboo carafe were gratifying (but the list offered a slim sake selection by my novice estimation).

      In the final analysis, the combination of cooked and raw items impressed me, even for a splurge, and my wife, who has been to Nobu in NYC before. Probably give the black cod signature thing a whirl next time at Nishino, and a spicy/creamy dish--which is what stunned the younger me on my last trip so long ago. For a pure sushi/sashimi experience, the quality was very good for most fish, but perhaps one would do better value-wise just ordering wisely at Chiso, Kisaku or Saito's.

      2 Replies
      1. re: equinoise
        l
        lisaf May 8, 2008 03:01 PM

        I went to Kisaku and was underwhelmed. We are big fans of Nishino, but tried it on the strong recommendation of the CHs.

        I have not been to Nobu, but was also disappointed at Morimoto in Philadelphia on a recent visit.

        I am not a sushi/sashimi purist so I think I enjoy the creativity at Nishino. And the albacore sashimi salad is my absolute favorite thing there.

        1. re: lisaf
          barleywino May 8, 2008 03:37 PM

          if you like Nishino's sashimi salad, have you tried their toro tartare? also good if you do'nt mind splurging

      2. l
        lisaf Mar 6, 2008 05:52 PM

        We go on a regular basis, but have never done the exclusive omakase. If you want sushi, sit at the bar and ask them to make you special rolls. The albacore sashimi salad is fabulous. Get one to share. Make sure to check out the specials, sometimes they have wonderful dumplings.

        Sometimes I just get udon with chicken. Total Japanese comfort food.

        I don't think I've ever had anything on the menu I didn't like. I even tried the teriyaki steak once. Enjoy.

        1. n
          nseattlefoodie Mar 6, 2008 10:53 AM

          we've always made reservations, even on weeknights you can wait awhile. I always order ala carte off the menu, but have heard rave reviews on the omakase menu (however based on your other reviews sounds like you are going here for the 30 for $30 deal so I won't go into what we order off the regular menu). this is one of my go to sushi places in Seattle.

          1. barleywino Mar 6, 2008 10:29 AM

            i think they require 24 hrs advance notice for the "exclusive" omakase (prix fixe chefs tasting) but maybe if you call now they can still fit you in. Otherwise you can get the "walk-in" omakase or just order ala carte. Some of their signature Nobu-style dishes include the sashimi salad (worth getting for the dressing, half portion is enough to taste it), new-style sashimi (seared w/ ginger scallion), hamachi jalapeno, toro tartare (if you want to splurge), and either the creamy spicy crab or rock shrimp tempura. Spider roll is not bad and if they have o-toro (not chu-toro) you must try it (request one piece seared w/ garlic if possible). they also have foie, matsutake mushroom tempura (in season), black cod kasu, fried aji bone (sometimes; good w/ your beer or sake -- get a chilled bamboo carafe of Mu
            daiginjo or whatever your fave is), etc.

            If you're going 30 for 30 as nseattlefoodie mentioned, then you should mention that, since the 30 for 30 menu doesn't have much in common with the regular menu and doesn't really scratch the surface of what Nishino is about.

            4 Replies
            1. re: barleywino
              o
              oliveoyl Mar 7, 2008 06:32 PM

              I recently had the omakase at Nishino .. and honestly, I didn't think it was all that! I've had omakase dinners at other Japanese restaurants (not in Seattle) and felt like I was challenged and thrilled. I felt the Nishino omakase was, well too safe and as a result dull.

              1. re: oliveoyl
                barleywino Mar 7, 2008 07:57 PM

                i totally agree, but we're talking seattle here, not other cities...

                1. re: barleywino
                  o
                  oliveoyl Mar 8, 2008 06:38 PM

                  I guess I should have elaborated .... safe and as a result dull. I've enjoyed the items on their menu and sushi/sashimi much more.

                  That said, the omakase at Nishino was uninspired and the entire notion of the chef dinner is in itself the inspiration. I had never ordered omakase in Seattle so I only had other cities to compare it to but have eaten at Nishino countless times since their opening.

                  1. re: oliveoyl
                    barleywino Mar 8, 2008 09:51 PM

                    yeah i'm not a huge fan of the squid pasta w/ morels or the curry halibut cheeks which often seem to end up on their omakase; nothing is wrong with those dishes but i think it would be fabulous if some of the sushi chefs could get out more to see what other places (outside Seattle) are doing and get inspired to come up with their own "experiments" for us to enjoy. I agree that inspiration is key, which is why i was also disappointed by the one omakase experience i had at Hiroshi in Portland as well.

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