Japonessa Sushi Restaurant
1400 1st Ave.
Opening in 2016
at Lincoln Square 2
I suspect that once R.E.M. hears about one of Seattle’s best restaurants featuring food inspired by the land of the rising sun, Japonessa, and the land down under, they will be regular visitors. The reason is simply that this restaurant has a sushi roll named The Orange Crush. Although the items from this part of the menu are pricey as heck, the expense is worth it. The two dishes I tried on my first visit was fabulous.
I tried the Crush along with a Barcelona Sunset and the flavours are just simply divine. The temperature and flavours emerging from the rice was just right. The cilantro and mango added to the first roll were not overpowering and it gave the rice a fruitiness that I throughly enjoyed. When the habañero allioli was gently used on the Sunset roll, all I could do was imagine myself watching a drifting sun cast its last breath of warmth upon my lips as I gently nibbled away.
To borrow upon George Takei’s famous phrase, “Ohhh myy!” I’m sure that he’d approve of the dishes that’s offered here if he wanted some futuristic fusion sushi creations. When considering I briefly met him for a photo-op at Emerald City Comicon years ago — and that attempt to dine here was met with the server saying, “Sorry, no seats are available.” — I knew I had to come back another day (or another year in this case) to get a table. This review took three years to construct since I’m only in this city once a year for the big convention. After I’ve checked into my hotel, I’d make a bee-line to this restaurant. I’ve found that it’s easier to get seating in the bar area on Thursday, one of their non-busier days. At least this way, this hungry traveler can get one more nip from the bonnie sea before switching to rations in a convention center swarming with geeks.
Japonessa is truly a place to explore the final frontier of innovation in the land of fusion sushi creations. Blue C Sushi is nice, but unless I oder from the kitchen, I won’t find the uniqueness that this trendy restaurant crafts on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I can’t say every roll they offer is tasty.
On a different visit, I took a chance at trying what’s offered in their happy hour menu. I enjoyed fighting the Mexican Ninja with my scissor like tongue just to figure out what I really liked from this particular morsel. The spicy tuna had a nice kick to it, but the toppings certainly had my taste buds questioning the flavour combinations. For the most part the cucumber crunch is what made this multi-ethnic win the prize.
And as much as I wanted to like the Sweet Seduction, the shaved coconut was just too overwhelming. It didn’t work well with both the rice and the eel, one of the main ingredients. It was too gritty. Even though I loved the taste of it as a simple light use of it in the Orange Crush, I think the amount used was off. I’ve put coconut oil in rice dishes before to help scent the dish, but two pieces was all I could stomach before I decided to call it quits. Maybe I could eat them later….
Thankfully I had the ginger and eel roll to help clean my tongue’s palette. Despite one off-putting menu item, I find the maki rolls are exotic enough to entice me to return to try another combination.
As for whether or not the third time is the charm, it’s a good thing I decided to stick to the basics. Their snow crab and seaweed salad had a nice pickled taste that I really savoured. The Takoyaki dish was over the top with finely shaved bonito decorated all over these gentle fuzzies. Sometimes, I get them served way too hot and I have to let them cool. Here, they wait for it to reach the right temperature before it’s even brought out.
Even the basic eel roll had a luscious warm center and sesame coating to make this piece of sushi stand out. If I could, I’d lick the BBQ sauce off first. If the bartender and waitresses saw what I wished to do, I’d be blushing.
Maybe on the next visit, I’ll try the Coconut Lobster Soup (yes, I’m begging for punishment since the coco should not be an ingredient to nearly everything), the Crispy Salmon Skin salad and a Rock star (scallops, tempura, seared spicy crab). As much as I like to aspire to be one so I could one day jam with Brian May, I have to learn how to play the guitar first.
3½ Blokes out of 5