You need to know that your innkeeper Shelley and her husband Mike maintain a mixed marriage. He’s a sushi and especially sashimi fiend, while she prefers her fish cooked (Ha! Bet you thought it was going to be the “he’s Canadian, she’s American” thing, didn’t you?).
Whether you eat your fish raw, cooked, or not at all, dining at a sushi restaurant can be a very satisfying experience. Seattle has no shortage of such establishments, so we have to make some tough choices here. We’re going to give preference to a few pretty close to the inn, but a couple that are further afield are among our favorites as well.
Modern – Not only is this place about six easily walked blocks away from us, but also it was recently touted as “one of the six most criminally underrated restaurants in Seattle” by Seattle Refined. Small, bright, and friendly, this tiny storefront expands during the summer by opening up a tranquil courtyard out back. They have a good selection of vegetarian rolls along with fine, fresh sashimi. We also can’t help but order the simple seaweed salad every time.
Issian – Fairly big and bustling, this Wallingford-neighborhood restaurant is very popular with local Asian families. Their very large menu has something for everyone, making it a great place for a small group. It features one dish we rarely see but that holds a special place in our hearts: okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake that innkeeper’s husband made for her on their very first date. See how that turned out?
Billy Beach Sushi & Bar – A relatively new addition to the Ballard neighborhood, we were drawn here because it’s the location of Mike’s former favorite cocktail bar. We understand this to be the first name-branded restaurant by a local force behind several other popular restaurants, and recently lunched here on an errand-filled Saturday. We enjoyed several items at happy hour prices. Mike’s bento box was filled with a tasty assortment, while Shelley gobbled up spicy shrimp tempura roll and another, veggie-filled one. The best part – the sushi rolls were full of goodies but not so huge that you choked on them.
Wasabi Bistro – A tried, true, and still delicious place downtown. Still very busy but the results are worth any wait for real sushi fans. Mike usually just lets the sushi chef create some platter of the day for him, which never fails to please. Shelley can always find tasty bites on the large menu.
Nishino – Another long-standing establishment that speaks for itself. Pricier than many places, but great quality, service, and a quieter ambiance than the typical Seattle eatery. Tucked into a non-descript corner on the outskirts of the Arboretum on the way to the Madison Park neighborhood, this place is a delicious oasis.