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Dec 22, 2009 12:30 PM

Subi, new sushi restaurant, opening on Bainbridge

Just heard that Subi, a new sushi/Japanese restaurant that's been in the works for months (original opening was supposed to be October) is having a soft opening on 12/23. It's in the former Simon's Chinese spot in the Pavilion.

Will keep you posted on the food. Meanwhile, why didn't they name it SOBI - Sushi on Bainbridge Island?

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  1. In all fairness, SuBI (that's how it appears on their logo) just opened. But still. A soft drink came in the can with a glass that had no ice. Our miso soup was completely forgotten. The chicken teriyaki featured tough, flavorless chicken. The tonkatsu was greasy. The "combination" dinner came not in an attractive bento box, but a plain and unappealingly plated dish.

    On the positive side, the sushi we sampled was first-rate (though adherents to the popular but no longer in business Bainbridge Sushi House will have a hard time tearing themselves away from their sushi memories). And the tempura was quite good.

    The restaurant went out of its way to make up for what it must know are some serious shortcomings in service: we were offered complimentary salads, sake, and dessert.

    Dinner, with wine and beer, for two adults and two under-21s was just under $100. We had to run out to the nearby cash machine to pay because the restaurant's credit card machine wasn't working.

    Takeaway: we won't be rushing back, but might try SuBI again when we get tired of Sawan's excellent Thai food.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Jeffo405

      Okay, perhaps one should already know to never go to a new restaurant during their first week of business...but we live on Bainbridge and didn't want to take the ferry to Seattle for Japanese food...

      First, the sushi is first rate...once you get it...our order got lost, the server didn't know how... just lost...fifty minutes or more after seated (having waited twenty minutes for a table) the sushi arrived...absolutely delicious! The rice more perfect than imaginable. The cut of ahi that come with the standard sushi dinner was amazing. The california rolls, often a tasteless filler at other restaurants, were divine.

      Because the order was lost for a bit, as the original reviewer states, they tried to make it up with no charge additions, which was nice. Also, when seated they brought green tea and adamame, a nice touch.

      Okay, the miso was subpar and the gyoza flavorless...

      We will give them a couple of months to mature and then we will definitely return. We are glad they are here.

      1. re: BIJulie

        We sat at the bar opening night and we were pleasantly surprised at the fish quality and the flavor/texture of the rice in the nigiri . The fish selection is pretty basic so sushi gourmets don't go expecting to find the esoteric stuff. Sushi staff consists of one experienced chef, a semi-novice sidekick who is making rolls for the tables and a runner bringing the cooked ingredients and supplies from the kitchen. IMO they need another experienced chef to keep up with the table orders as getting fed at the bar requires an assertive attitude from the customer. The less stressful option is to give your orders to the hostess and she punches them into the system which then spits the order out at the bar printer where it gets handled pretty efficiently. We prefer more personal interaction with a sushi chef but he's so busy it doesn't really happen.

        Once this place gets thru the initial crush every new restaurant on the island experiences when they first open I'm sure things will settle down, the wait staff will get their sea legs and they'll do OK. Have not tried anything from the kitchen yet . . .

        BTW, the old BI Sushi joint was OK but to me the chef was a real weirdo, no tears from us when he went out. The other place on the island just down the street, Shima, has pretty good stuff but the bar feels more like you are sitting with your face towards a wall, you can hardly see the staff and for the prices they charge . . . meh

        1. re: Chaps

          I have not yet tried Subi -- but did notice it was open after our last trip to the Cinema. I'm game to give it a whirl. Your remarks about Shima leave me puzzled. I have found the sushi bar there to be quite comfortable, esp. with wife and young child in tow -- plenty of room to spread out, just enough 'intimacy' with the folks behind the bar and just enough privacy. As for prices, the sushi is indeed not inexpensive, but there are salad plates -- the seaweed salad with a mountain of snow crab, the tuna tataki -- that are extremely good, generous and reasonable. It is also possible to get a generous selection of sashimi without calling your mortgage broker. Nothing extremely exotic, but the basics are there. We've always had good service as well.

          When I must have a real sushi fix, I head to Shiro's in Seattle and let Shiro hit me with his best shots of the night. It does not sound as though Subi will serve as a Shiro's substitute any more than Shima does. The question is, how well can it handle the basics. Hopefully after a month or so for a shakedown cruise, the basics will be under control!

          1. re: chambolle

            I agree, hard core sushi addicts will still need to hop on the boat for the city venues. Subi's fish selection needs to expand quite a bit to cure that need.

            Shima is a good Japanese restaurant and we eat there on occasion but its sushi experience is not my style I guess. BTW, they are expanding into the store space next to their entryway. Apparently they'll be doing a different menu in there, a little more conventional fare at a friendlier price-point.

            Stopped in at Subi for lunch the other day, really enjoyed the house special donburi. Very relaxed atmosphere in there at lunch, still very busy at night. Go early if you want to try it, especially fri or sat nights.

          2. re: Chaps

            I have to defend the sushi chef and owner at the old BI Sushi House, Matsumoto-san. He gave me a great tip on where to get the best Japanese noodles in Seattle (Tsukushinbo). The restaurant also gave us sushi on the house when they learned we were doing take out while keeping a vigil over my dad's death bed. They were always so kind to us. Yes, he was quiet, unlike typical sushi chefs. But a really nice guy. I was sad to see him go back to Japan. The sushi there was always good.

            1. re: Chaps

              Couldn't disagree with that last bit more. I so miss B.I. Sushi. I'll take a few personality quirks in exchange for Koji's food any day.

        2. Tried galbi (marinated boneless short ribs) -- a waste of $20 (yes, $20 for one entree!). Exceedingly poor quality meat -- gristly and fatty. Beef was flavorless (as if there had been almost no marination). Have had MUCH better galbi/kalbi beef elsewhere (not on BI).

          Have not tried the sushi -- will give them one more try for nigiri.