Nov 4 2011

Showa

Kristi

Our primary reason for trekking over to Showa? Ramen. Yes, even though ramen is surprisingly scarce here in Seattle, I still keep an eye out for any new places that might serve up the good stuff… homemade broth, thin noodles, fresh toppings, etc. I’d heard the chef at Showa recently perfected his ramen recipe, and we headed out to give it a try:

Of course, being an izakaya, we had to have a few other small dishes, and all of them were quite good.

Seasoned spinach with sesame: Fresh, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Chilled tofu with natto:

I’m one of those weird people who actually likes natto! Surprisingly, Adam didn’t gag when I first served it to him several years ago. This is a good version, again, quite fresh, and the mustard added a nice flavor.

Kurobuta sausage:

Yum. Juicy grilled sausage with mustard? How can you go wrong. Definitely a good dish!

Ramen:

Here’s what we came to try, though.. the ramen. The broth was a bit different than I’m used to.. not a pure tonkatsu broth, with the addition of the clams. The clam flavouring is subtle, though. The broth was quite delicious, bordering on being overly salty for me, but definitely tasty, and served steaming hot. The noodles were a touch al dente, which I like. The char-shiu was quite tender, and overall, we both really liked this ramen! In fact, I’d venture to say it’s probably the best we’ve had in Seattle to date. Just wish it were available on the Eastside..

Cost: $$

701 N 36th St Ste 200 Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 388-3913
showafremont.com
Showa on Urbanspoon


Apr 16 2011

Rikki Rikki

Kristi

Craving udon one night, we drove downtown to Rikki Rikki, not having heard much about it, or having done much research on the restaurant. What we found was a completely packed (and decent sized) restaurant, with quite an extensive menu! We ordered our usual spicy tuna roll to try, which was good, with plenty of fresh tuna and just the right amount of spice.

Adam also ordered the tofu beef sukiyaki, which was also good, although much soupier than I’m used to:

I ordered the tempura soba. The noodles were firm (which I like), and the broth slightly sweet, and boiling hot:

I ate the tempura separately as I hate getting my soup oily. Yes, I’m picky sometimes! The tempura was good, although definitely not the best I’ve had. Most of the pieces were fairly crispy, but one of the shrimps was quite soggy.

Overall, the food was good. Since it’s somewhat close to where we live, we’ll be back to check out some of the other menu items, and probably more of the sushi once the weather starts warming up!

Cost: $$
442 Parkplace, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 828-0707
www.rikkirikki.com
Rikki Rikki on Urbanspoon


Mar 13 2011

Nishino

Kristi

Even though it’s freezing cold in Seattle, I recently got hit with a sushi craving. Not having had sushi in Seattle yet, I did a bit of research, and decided on Nishino’s. Since it was our first time here, we went with the exclusive omakase, which you have to reserve a day in advance. For $75, it’s a pretty good deal, considering the amount of food, and quality of the food that you get. Here’s what we were presented with:

Shrimp with wasabi cream sauce; salmon wrapped in seaweed; oyster with salsa; tuna wrapped in gobo; and seared tuna over cucumber:

This was the starter dish, and a nice ‘sampler’ of a variety of different seafood. Although I found the texture of the shrimp to be a bit strange, the flavor was good; just spicy enough yet not overpowering. The salmon was probably my favorite; simple, yet well executed. The oyster with salsa was also quite good; fresh, and a nice small bite, with a punch of flavor from the salsa. Both tunas were quite fresh, with the seared tuna being my favorite of the two.

Arugula wrapped in whitefish with extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil and shoyu:

This simple dish was quite good; especially with the sesame shoyu sauce.

Seared foie gras and seared tuna with shiitake mushroom and red wine soy reduction:

This had just about the right amount of foie gras; just a small bite. Probably not my favorite of the night, but good nonetheless.

Albacore tuna sashimi salad on mixed greens with toasted lotus root, with olive and sesame oil house dressing:

Adam and I agreed that this dish is about where the food really started to shine. I love a good sashimi salad, and this one did not disappoint. The tuna was incredibly fresh, the dressing was incredibly flavorful, and the lotus root added a nice, crisp texture to the salad.

Mochi powdered black cod, tofu, enoki mushrooms, and chrysanthemum greens in a smoky dashi broth:

Another standout dish. Not only was the dashi broth delicious, the black cod was incredibly light and tender, and the enoki and greens added the perfect touch. Really good.

Alaskan king crab and green bean tempura with lemon chili garlic sauce:

I believe Adam had a different version due to his shellfish allergy, but I loved the crab tempura. The lemon chili garlic sauce was delicious, but it did make the tempura prematurely soggy.

Curry seared halibut cheeks with Swiss chard sauteed in ponzu, with a cilantro cream sauce:

I am not, and never have been a fan of curry, or cilantro, but both added a really nice flavor to this dish. It was like a unique twist on fish and chips.. and it was really good!

Hamachi; otoro; unagi; tuna, salmon, and asparagus roll:

Finally, some sushi! These were all quite good, and incredibly fresh. My favorite was probably the hamachi, or the tuna, salmon asparagus roll. My least favorite was probably the unagi. Adam and I both agreed that eel just isn’t our favorite.

Green tea tiramisu cake with fresh fruit:

I’ve always loved Japanese cakes, because they tend to be quite light, and not overly sweet. This was quite good, with just enough green tea flavor, and plenty of fresh fruit. A nice way to end a very nice meal!

The interior of the restaurant was quite different than I expected; It almost looked like it used to be a French bistro inside rather than a Japanese restaurant, and didn’t have the typical Japanese ‘feel’ to it. No matter, the food is what counts, and the service was quite good. We’ll definitely return to try more of the sushi here, and probably to get another sashimi salad!

Cost: $$
3130 E Madison St., Seattle, WA 98112
www.nishinorestaurant.com

(206) 322-5800

Nishino on Urbanspoon


Jan 9 2011

Samurai Noodle

Kristi

One of the first tasks at hand for us in Seattle? Find good ramen. Fast. We’ve been to several and so far, and Samurai Noodle is hands down our favorite. They serve our favorite style of ramen which is Hakata-style; tonkatsu with thin noodles. We’ve been to both the International and University District locations, and favor the University District. They have a larger menu (with gyoza and fried rice), plus allow you to specify noodle firmness and the level of richness of the broth.

My usual order? Noodles very firm, broth normal, with an added egg. Adam gets the same, but with richer broth; essentially meaning there’s more pork fat in it. Along with this comes a very thick, fatty, tender, and pretty flavorful piece of tonkatsu, green onions, and seaweed.

I’d rate the ramen here as good. Ramen noodles have to be good, but really, it’s mostly about the broth. The broth here is served nice and hot, just as it should be. But it’s slightly lacking something. Umami? Richness? Salt? I can’t put my finger on the exact thing. Just to let everyone know, I’m somewhat picky about ramen. Okay, maybe a bit more than somewhat! I grew up in the Southbay area of Los Angeles, which has arguably the best ramen outside of Japan, as well as a huge variety of places and styles to choose from. Where my parents live, there are probably 10-15 different ramen-ya’s within a 10 minute drive from their house. And some really, really good ones too.

I was surprised at how few ramen-yas there are here in the Seattle area. I know there’s a decent sized Japanese population. It’s cold and damp here. The community supports small, local restaurants. There are tons of pho restaurants, so why not ramen-ya’s? While I ponder this, I’ll continue to support Samurai Noodle.

Cost: $

606 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-9321

Samurai Noodle on Urbanspoon
4138 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 547-1774

Samurai Noodle on Urbanspoon