A friend and I decided to go to Nishino during the Dine Around Seattle promo, a 3 course meal for $30. Neither of us have dined here before so we weren't exactly sure what to expect. We have made our way to several Japanese restaurants in Seattle, so I was looking forward to Nishino!
First - it's not the easiest place to get to, and although they have a tiny lot, parking sucks. I parked in the gas station lot near the Nishino sign and hoped I wouldn't get ticketed or towed. (I didn't, whew!)
The restaurant is small, with about a dozen seats surrounding the sushi bar. We noticed that there was an abundance of staff, and our water glasses were never empty! I loved the Glassybaby candles on each of the tables, they looked great. The restaurant is pretty minimalist, it's not super fancy, but it's not exactly casual either.
Oyster and Green Bean Tempura with Seaweed Salad
We both ordered the Oysters and Green Beans Tempura to start. The tempura was accompanied by a pile of seaweed salad, a lemon wedge and pickled carrots and daikon. The tempura was crunchy and light and really perfect! The oysters were just barely cooked, so they stayed creamy, I have never had a deep fried oyster that wasn't chewy and over cooked, so I am glad I went for this dish!
For our entrees, we both ordered the Tara Saikyoyaki - Broiled Black Cod marinated with miso. I am not sure what the difference between Tara Saikyoyaki and Kasuzuke Cod are, because I think it's the same dish with a different name! Nishino is one of the few Seattle restaurants that serve this dish, and it happens to be one of my favorites. Nishino's version was good, but the sides were a little odd. I didn't care for the pickled Renkon (lotus root) or the sesame seasoned bean sprouts. But I do like Shibazuke Tsukemono (pickled eggplant).
The cod was served with a bowl of white rice. I think if I had never had Nobu's Kasuzuke Cod, Nishino would be ranking higher. The skin was overcooked, a little charred. I didn't care for the sesame seeds sprinkled on top, the miso flavor overpowers the delicate sesame seeds, so they really just become a nuisance sticking in my teeth. The flavor was good, but I think the fish was slightly overcooked. Because of my Nobu bias, I'm probably critiquing Nishino's cod harshly.
To finish my meal, I decided that a sorbet would be good. I didn't feel up for a heavy dessert. The sorbet was nice, but nothing worth raving about.
My only complaint about my experience at Nishino, and it's actually not about Nishino at all, but rather the lady that was seated next to us. Talk about dousing yourself in cheap perfume. I thought I was going to throw up. It was repulsive. So ladies, and gentlemen actually, please be careful when you are applying any kind of fragrance. No one likes you if you smell like BO, but no one wants to taste your nasty perfume when they are trying to eat either. Remember the 1 foot rule. People should have to come within 1 foot of you to smell you. Please spare us. End of rant.
I'd like to return to Nishino and try their sushi, perhaps even an Omakase... I am sure it is fabulous. I just hope that I never have to dine next to that lady again!
3130 East Madison
Seatle, WA 98112
Hours: Monday - Saturday 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Sunday 5:00pm - 9:30pm