Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shiro's Sushi

Randomly chanced upon Shiro's Sushi on 2nd Avenue and decided to join a relatively short queue at 5pm. Not as if we knew anything about it. It's a restaurant that we passed on checking out during the last trip. Friends mentioned that tourists flock to Seattle for its sushi. (Trust me, we held back incredulous remarks.) They also said that Shiro's was pretty decent. When we peered into the restaurant, it looked fairly welcoming. Sushi in Seattle? Okay, why not.

Wondered why it had such a long line of humans waiting for dinner and most people were raving about it. Some quick googling while we were in the line made us go OOOH. (Read herehere, here and here.) Confession- I'm one of those who didn't bother watching 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi'. Now, Chef Daisuke Nakazawa has left Seattle for New York City and helms his own Sushi Nakazawa. Chef Shiro Kashiba has presided over the sushi counter for years in Seattle. While he has quietly sold the restaurant to an investment group, at 73 years old, he still pops in thrice a week to train new chefs. It seemed to have consistently churned out chefs with similar mannerisms and standards when it comes to their style of Edo-mae sushi. But this being America, the menu has to still hold California rolls and spicy tuna rolls. Stick to their maki. Don't ever order their hand-rolls. We did and regretted it. They were dry and almost tasteless. :(

Two cuts of albacore tuna; shiro maguro.

Fourth in the queue and we got counter seats for an omakase dinner at 5.40pm. Hurhurhur. The chefs' eyes lit up when we said we wanted omakase, had no allergies and would eat everything. (Had to surreptitiously pop an antihistamine the moment we were seated.) The restaurant takes reservations via phone, but no reservations are permitted for seats at the sushi counter. Honestly, I don't see a point sitting at the tables. Omakase is the way to go. There's a difference in the treatment of fish trotted out.

There're also differences of course, in the availability of the types of fish for sushi and sashimi. Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle restaurants have access to the freshest seafood in the region. At a Japanese restaurants, certain flavors will change because not everything has to be from Hokkaido or the Sea of Japan. As diners, we could learn to understand the flavors of Japanese sushi when re-interpreted in the Pacific Northwest. We did just that. Absolutely intrigued by the albacore tuna. The North and South Pacific stocks of albacore tuna aren't overfished. But the mercury level remains questionable. :D

The man was so taken by the restaurant that we returned the next week at 5pm to stand in line for seats at the counter. The rice is surprisingly okay, better than the cookie-cutter variety in Japanese restaurants outside of Asia. Pretty decent. Overall, the sushi isn't comparable to what we have at home, but that's because we don't live in Seattle. On that note, it might well be because we don't live in Tokyo. Shiro's is as good as it goes if we're far from home that way. The experience of the eating the food at Shiro's though, was memorable both times because the chefs made it so. The tamago was Tokyo-esque fantastic.

We had way more items, but it was too much effort to photograph them all.

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