Stein’s not big on sushi, but I eat enough to make up for his lack of interest. Sure, he’ll humor his wife — the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot — when she’s got the sushi jones. That’s when they’ll head out to Fujiya in Tacoma where she can go all raw fish and he can eat something fried.
I think the next time the L&T wants sushi, Stein should stay home and make his famous shrimp and lobster sauce and Cheryl should drive to Seattle and let me take her on a multi-day sushi crawl. In fact, I love that idea. Stein! Hook us up!
I’d proudly introduce her to Sushi Wataru, where — as I told Stein — I took Mac last week to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Next year, to celebrate our 20th, I think we should go to Japan. (Mac, are you reading this?)
Kumita-san has been garnering raves, especially from folks like me who appreciate the stunning simplicity of edomae-style sushi, and the omakase experience you get at his six-seat sushi bar. There, the chef takes charge of what you eat and you just sit, eyes wide open — and then momentarily closed — while you try not to moan out loud. (Just speaking for myself, here.) This is elegant sushi carefully sourced and seasonally considered.
Kumita has worked extensively with Seattle’s granddaddy of sushi, Seattle’s first sushi chef, Shiro Kashiba, who now has a new Japanese restaurant, Kashiba, in the former Campagne restaurant and bar space in Pike Place Market. It, too, is wonderful.
I had to laugh, because when Mac and I showed up at Wataru, we ran into chef Ryu Nakano, who was clearly on a busman’s holiday. His Greenlake area sushi bar and restaurant, Kisaku, is another must-go high atop my list, which, by the way, is also a great lunch spot.
The sushi bar I frequent the most, though, is closest to home: Taka Sushi in Lynnwood. Like Sushi Wataru, it’s small and family run. It’s a modest little place where Taka’s wife Eiko (a.k.a. Elaine) waits tables and their son Ken cooks and does dishes. Taka mans the teensy sushi bar, and though he’s not especially loquacious, he knows exactly what we like to eat and draws a crowd of regulars. Most of us come so often, we all feel as if we’re eating with old friends.
I chided Stein this week for having never gone to a kaiten sushi restaurant, and named my favorite among the many that feature conveyor-belt sushi: Tengu, in Northgate’s Thornton Place complex, just off I-5.
For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop, watching all that sushi go ‘round and ‘round. And if only I could get Stein there, I know he’d agree it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Or a nostalgic trip back to his old choo-choo childhood haunt, Hamburger Depot.