Friday, June 24, 2011

Gone to Maneki

Finally, I went to Maneki - Japanese Restaurant that has been in Seattle for over 100 years. I have heard about it from friends and read reviews online, all of which were positive. But today after reading about it in the latest issue of Travel+Leisure I decided to make a call to try and get in for dinner. Success – 5:30 p.m. at the Sushi Bar.

My friend and I drive up to this place, which from the outside looks just like any other thai restaurant on “the Ave” in U-district. We enter in and get greeted by an older Japanese lady. Waitress takes us in. We pass tables and private rooms called “Tatami Rooms” and finally make it to a small sushi bar that can sit 6 at most.

Maneki is different from other Japanese restaurants I have been to in Seattle. It does not have “sophisticated feeling” of Nishino and it is not what I would call “your typical Japanese restaurant” like Kisaku and I Love Sushi. This place is something else. It has a friendly laid-back atmosphere, attentive friendly staff and the most extensive menu of Japanese Dishes I have ever seen. I want to try everything and we did (almost)!

Here is what we ordered tonight. Takoyaki  - some type of dough filled with pieces of octopus, served with special sauce and sprinkled with nori. Age Dashi Tofu – lightly deep-fried tofu with thinly sliced scallions served in broth with daikon radish. Vegetable and Shrimp tempura – similar to other places except the portion was twice what you get at I Love Sushi but costs 50% less. JoJo Roll – fresh water eel roll along with the usual Spider Roll. And then we moved to the nigiri. We enjoyed Chutoro, Yellowtail and Seabass. Fish was fresh and pieces were large. Of course we could not finish all the food but took it home. Yes, I have that Takoyaki waiting for me in a fridge ;) The bill without the tip was $59, which also included beer and tea. I would say it was worth every penny!

Maneki has a Web site and here is its link. You can check out their menu and operating hours on it.

So, what kind of place is it? It is a place with relaxed and friendly atmosphere where you can expand your horizons in the area of Traditional Japanese cuisine that includes variety of dishes other than regular nigiri and sushi rolls and you will not leave with a hole in your wallet.

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