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Maneki or Nishino? (seattle)

Hello all. I'm in town (from LA) for the first time and interested in having sushi at least once during my stay here. I've already had some great food experiences during the couple of days I've been here and would like to continue by enjoying dinner at one of the better sushi spots in Seattle. I have no interest in crazy rolls--just creations utilizing the freshest ingredients around. I was thinking of having omakase. My research has yielded a few spots, but Maneki and Nishino (and possibly Kisaku) seem to be what I'm looking for. Atmosphere isn't a requirement... I'm more focused on having a good meal. Oh, I'm staying in the Belltown area so I guess anywhere that can be accessed by Metro would be great.

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  1. Nishino, by far. Not that Maneki is bad, but it's not in the same league as Nishino.

    1. I'd vote for Maneki. It's a family run Seattle institution. I prefer the more casual atmosphere and less expensive prices at Maneki. Nishino has excellent food, and is a large, open space in a neighborhood that is out of the downtown area.

      Maneki would be easier to get to from Belltown on public transportation. You could also walk from Belltown to Maneki in about 20 minutes.

      I've heard that Saito's in the Belltown neighborhood is excellent, but I have not been there yet.

      1. if you are looking for omakase i think nishino is your best bet (i don't think Maneki does omakase and their sushi selection is quite limited iirc, they don't even have a sushi counter or display case). you would need to call Nishino ahead to reserve the "chef's special" omakase, otherwise you can walk in and get a scaled back omakase. you would need to take a taxi to get there. it's not Urasawa, but more like Matsuhisa (with many dishes you will recognize, as chef Nishino used to work there years ago)

        1. for omakase with great fish and no crazy rolls, definitely kisaku. sit at the bar with nakano-san - it's amazing. the biggest variety of sushi i've ever had, not too expensive. when i go, have 18-20 pieces of nigiri, and they're all different. some of the things i've had there - maguro, chutoro, and otoro, different kinds of salmon, fan shell, geoduck, manta shrimp, 2 different kinds of uni, bonito, amberjack, different kinds of mackerel, etc, etc.

          however, if you want some cooked dishes as well, nishino would be the place to go. note that they have less-traditional/more innovative flavor pairings.

          2 Replies
          1. re: esandra

            the last time i was at Kisaku, when i ordered uni, Nakano-san scraped the bottom of the uni tray with his spoon and put it on top of the rice and gave it to me. when i asked him whether i could have a nice piece instead, he refused. also, some of the more special items he will not give you unless he knows you to be a regular (i was going pretty regularly and still saw him giving special treats to some of the other customers that he was not giving me, although i ordered omakase). ymmv.

            1. re: barleywino

              ack, i'm sorry to hear that. how disappointing! =( i wouldn't say we're regulars, but nakano-san does recognize us and know we go fairly often (maybe once every month or two). we also always bring 1-2 out of town guests with us, so maybe we earn bonus points that way too, who knows. =(

          2. Shiro's in Belltown is outstanding. I think it's steps above Nishino and, as said above, a different league entirely from Maneki. However, you could dine al fresco at Nishino which would be lovely on a day like this.

            1. I think Nishino would be better fit for what you're looking for, if you don't mind the prices. I adore Maneki -- it's one of my favorite restaurants and somewhere I have great memories of -- but for a one time special sushi experience in Seattle, go for Nishino. The toro I've had there is outstanding.

              You don't need to take a cab, by the way. The #11 bus goes right there. Catch it on Pike Street: http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/s...

              1. Wow, thanks for the feedback everyone! We didn't end up making it out tonight due to running late on events for the day. We still have tomorrow (sun) and Monday nights though. I think we're leaning towards Nishino but Kisaku might not be a bad choice either. Maneki, I'll save for another trip. I have two final questions.
                (1) How much is the omakase at both Nishino and Kisaku?
                (2) What would be the preferable day to go, Sunday or Monday?

                2 Replies
                1. re: strongcoffee

                  I think it's $75 at Nishino, though it may have gone up since then. Kisaku charges based on the specific pieces of fish you eat, but we usually spend around $50 pp - both these prices are before tax and tip. I don't know about sunday or monday, but be sure Nakano-san will be working before you go to Kisaku. (I think he's off on Tuesdays, but not sure)

                  1. re: strongcoffee

                    Kisaku fails me on their rice. It has been basically unseasoned when I've been - unacceptable. Sushi is about the rice as much as the fish in my book. Just my $0.02.

                  2. I'm sure everyone's already found this, but as Nishino is being discussed here I thought I'd throw a link out from Nishino for their complimentary "Autumn Omakase"


                    1. So we chose Nishino in the end. Since we didn't provide enough advanced notice (they require at least 24 hours), we were limited to the standard omakase. We arrived a little bit early and were greeted and promptly seated at the bar in front of Mori-san who was to be our chef for the night. This is when we learned their omakase was an 8 course meal consisting of various fusion dishes and a little bit of sushi. I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed by this but I still appreciated the dishes nonetheless. Everything was carefully prepared and tasted great. I'm already missing Seattle and its plethora of culinary choices.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: strongcoffee

                        thanks for reporting back. sounds like you may have been looking for a pure sushi omakase? if so, a simple word to Mori-san or your server would have been enough to arrange that.