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SEA: NYT article on Seattle and Teriyaki..............

  • j

Just read a fine article in today's NYT about Seattle and terriyaki. To be honest, I haven't gotten around to trying any teriyaki places in Seatle. In LA we had a favorite family run place and well, I hate disappointment.

But now I'm inspired, especially the idea that I could momos and teriyaki in the same meal.

Have you read the article?
What did you think?

Should we bee-line with the pups to Tokyo Garden after the U-District market on Saturday or is there a better first place serving Seattle teriyaki to dip our toes?

Most importantly, whats your favorite teriyaki place in Seattle proper?

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  1. Didn't Tokyo Garden just close?

    5 Replies
    1. re: GreenYoshi

      Tokyo Garden closed and now is open again. I don't know why.

      1. re: dothepuyallup

        Noted. Thanks for the update.

        (maybe mention in the NYT gave them second life...)

        1. re: dothepuyallup

          My guess is health code violations.

          Even by college teriyaki joint standards, they quite cross the line.

          1. re: HungWeiLo

            Ah well, i have pretty low standards coupled with a hearty constitution. If the food was tasty, I'd still try it.

        2. re: GreenYoshi

          As I noted <poorly> in my original post, I was attracted to Tokyo Gardens because I could combine Nepalese food and Japanese food in one dining experience. When I went to find them on-line, I found many references to the restaurant being under new ownership and nothing that mentioned momos. . . .

          I guess I'm going to have to email the NYT reporter to ask when exactly his visit took place---so often with pieces like this the original research took place MONTHS before the actual article runs.

          Does anyone who used to eat there remember seeing momos on the menu?

        3. I thought it was a really weird article. Not once did anyone (author, diners, etc.) other than the teriyaki joints' owners give any sort of opinion on a particular teriyaki dish. I don't know why you'd do a bee-line to (or away from) any resto mentioned or not mentioned, on the basis of the article. How very strange. Oddly, the article didn't use the Seattle term "crackiyaki," nor did they talk about most of the "big" Seattle chains, Toshis, Sunny Teriyaki, Happy Teriyaki and Yasukos (ok, there's a parenthetical reference to Toshi's...).

          Back in my college days, my favorite teriyaki place were Yasuko's for quantity (one white meat chicken plate could easily turn into 4 meals!) and the orange king for the teri burger (tried it again last week - it's not the same). Now I like Sunny Teriyaki in Ballard (beef teriyaki and gyoza combo, plus a med kimchee) for my teriyaki fix every couple of months.

          1 Reply
          1. re: akq

            Back my early days Toshi's at Green Lake was the place to go. [It later became Yasuko's] They had a giant pot of teriyaki marinade with split fyers simmering in it. When you ordered they would pull out a half fryer and throw it on the grill to add some grill marks put it in the clamshell with big mound of rice, add a tong full of marinated cabbage and carrot then take your $3.50 send you on your way. It was the closest thing to homemade Japanese American style teriyaki around.

            I haven't tried the chicken teri yet but the beef teri at Kona Kitchen is great. It's the marinated sukiyaki meat style just like my auntie makes.

          2. I was really excited to see it. I have contemplated Seattle Teriyaki as a regional favorite/specialty for a quite a few years now. I started eating at Toshi's back in the late 1970s, and have eaten at the little place down the stairs in dt Seatle since the 80s.

            Disappointed that Edge poo-poo'd any cultural authenticity. I was born and raised in Seattle and lived next door to my uncle and his born-in-Japan war bride. She and had lots of girlfriends that married GI's and settled in the Seattle area as well. She used to make the best teriyaki chicken with a simple marinade of mirin, sugar, and ginger and would broil it (bone in cut up pieces) in the oven or weather permitting, not often enough here, would grill outside over charcoal. Heavenly. My mouth waters at the memory.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dothepuyallup

              Bone-in is key... so much more flavorful than boneless skinless chicken breasts.

              In the U-district (right near the farmer's market), Kiku makes a delicoius bone-in chicken teriyaki. So good!

              Kiku Tempura House
              5018 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

              1. re: clearskies0810

                I fondly remember the bone-in teriyaki chicken in Kiku during the UW days. Back then, they literally gave you half a game hen for $4.

                1. re: HungWeiLo

                  During my undergrad days, I really liked the super hearty, more one-off items at Kiku, that weren't always available at the ubiquitous teriyaki spots. One order of "chicken over rice" or egg-enriched oyakadon amounted to two coma-inducing meals for hungry young men after a day of snowboarding or a night of revelry.

            2. I was really surprised when I saw that this morning. I had no idea it was a Seattle thing. I haven't had it in a million years, I thought only college kids and guys in their 20s ate teriyaki.

              1. Seattle Weekly had a pretty good article about Seattle's teriyaki "scene" and origins back in 2007:


                Tokyo Garden in UW used to be pretty decent about 10-15 years ago. Less than $5 for enough food to feed 4 people - which is the ultimate criteria for students. And watching myriads of freshmen introduce their out-of-town parents from Eastern Washington or the Midwest to this new, exotic food was always entertaining.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HungWeiLo

                  Thanks for posting the link. The Seattle Weekly article was mentioned in the NYT article but I hadn't gotten around to looking it up.

                2. So we went to Tokyo Gardens after market this weekend. If there is anyone curious besides me, the momos in the NYT article are related to the new ownership. They have two kinds--meat and veggie. We had the meat ones and other than VERY thin pre-packaged dumpling skins, they were not bad. Both the sauce and filling were tasty. But most of the skins ripped so lots of juices were lost. It is not at ALL uncommon to use packaged dumpling skins in Asian families but if I were them, I'd hunt out the thicker skins.

                  In addition to a round of momos, we had 3 full orders of teriyaki chicken, one half order and one spicy chicken pork combo [darned husband always has to be different]. Tokyo gardnes does not differentiate between ordering white meat or dark meat [our old place charged more for white]. As far as I could tell, each order got a combination. Portions are huge---youngest pup passed over half of his chicken to elder pup. We could have easily split an order--as many people we observed were doing. Elder Pup, who has fond memory of LA family teriyaki joint, thought it was pretty good. Middle pup was happily dosing hers with tons of rooster sauce so she was happy too. Youngest pup was thrilled by the coleslaw side which comes with every order. He ate all his coleslaw and tried to eat the side that came with the momos as well. The half order does not come with coleslaw but it does, to my mind, have ample chicken and the same amount of rice as the full orders. Note that you can get brown rice for an additional .75 but we were bad and stuck with the traditional. Oh and for drinks there is endless jasmine tea. I suppose that bit of info was significant to me because we went to the veggie Bamboo Garden by the Seattle Center and were stunned to be charged for tea.....fancy tea, sure, but plain house tea ?????In general, 2 thumbs up subject to the caveat below.

                  The caveat being that the tables were a new level of sticky. I have really low standards and I have eatten at some fascinating tables but man, these were some sticky tables. The plus side of being really experienced with sticky tables [plus misspent high school years working in a fast food restaurant] is that I knew what to do. I had eldest pup ask for a rag and we dumped some hot tea on the table, wiped it around and cleaned them off to a satisfactory degree. Staff stood by watching--who knows? perhaps they learned something about cleaning tables so if you stop by, yours will be better.

                  Next stop: Toshis.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jenn

                    Thanks for the great report, Jenn, and please do report on Toshi's as well.

                    Such funny timing for this whole story/thread. As a recent transplant, I was just talking to someone the other day about how strangely invisible teriyaki is here for such an omnipresent local specialty. It's ubiquitous and popular, and yet absolutely no one talks about it, food fetishist or otherwise. Let's change that.

                    1. re: jenn

                      I'd say Tokyo garden is among the top ones for this type of cheap fast teriyaki. They used to give you extra onion salad dressing, which is definitely part of the local tradition. Gigantic portions to be sure, no "meat nuts" in the meat.

                      Shun, by U. Village does a chicken teriyaki lunch special that really IS special, though.

                      Tokyo Garden Teriyaki
                      4337 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

                    2. I also had no idea that teriyaki was a regional thing...My favorite place was and still is Fugi Teriyaki in Crossroads, Bellevue. I get the spicy chicken & gyoza combo. Huge portions, sautteed veggies, and korean-style frozen gyoza.

                      1. There's another outlet of Tokyo Garden in Mill Creek on 164th + Bothell Everett Highway next to QFC. It's got the same menu and the free tea, but you can actually sit there and eat without fear of contracting anything viral.

                        That said, I think the Hawaiian grill place next to Kiku on the Ave has some pretty good teriyaki and a good overall value.

                        1. I really like Nasai Teriyaki on 25th NE in the UDistrict. Generous portions, piping hot, cheap. And their rice is good.

                          1. Sad the NY Times thinks Seattle is defined by teriyaki. Too much influence on the Asian aspect. They need to look at our seafood connections and our fresh produce.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: firecracker

                              Interesting that you say that. I've heard this a lot and have been noticing that most people who grew up in the area agreed with the Teriyaki theory, while most who moved here, no matter how long ago, (assuming after high school or so) get defensive and suggest that seafood (or produce) is what we should be known for.

                              Personally, I find the Teriyaki shops to be for more ubiquitous than produce stands--especially when you compare to someplace like San Fran where there is fresh fruit/veggies at every minimart. We've got Teriyaki at every minimart.