Category Archives: Bar

Genki Sushi

Repeatable: Yes. Visits: 6+

Genki's conveyor

Genki's conveyor

For some reason, hot weather seems to bring out the sushi fanatics in droves. I’m not one of them, but my husband and kids are, so we found ourselves at Genki Sushi for the umpteenth time this weekend.

Convenience isn’t the only reason we go–Sushiland is right across the street, and I’ve never returned after my initial visit. Genki is actually the best of the kaiten sushi options in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Granted, that’s not exactly high praise, but kaiten, or conveyor-belt, sushi isn’t exactly haute cuisine.

Still, when it’s well done, kaiten sushi is fun fast finger food, and there are lots of interesting combinations at Genki, such as the very Hawaiian Spam musubi roll and the fantastic Ahi Poke roll–which, we learned today, was just taken off the Seattle menu because there’s not enough demand for it here.

This is truly a sad state of affairs, because the poke at Genki–a zesty salad of ahi bits, onions, garlic and soy-sesame dressing–is the best poke we’ve had outside the islands. Not enough demand, the Japanese sushi chef explained. The Genkis in Hawaii and Japan still serve poke–it’s one of the chain’s most popular items. But not in Seattle. Hello?

Aside from the freshness of the fish and great deals ($1 sushi at Happy Hour!), Genki also offers fantastic options for vegetarians and hard-core sushi eaters, which may explain why two-thirds of the customers are visiting Japanese. My hunch is that this place is just a wee bit too authentic for the likes of Seattle. Seriously, folks: Who was going to grab those big hand rolls of natto riding along the belt? (If you’ve never tried these slimy fermented soy beans before, recall what you did with your finger and your nose as a small child…Natto is eerily similar…)

Speaking of kids: Genki is a great place for little ones. First, there’s the instant gratification of the kaiten: My daughter ate eight tobiko rolls that she grabbed off the line with her tiny hands. So what if she went to bed smelling like bait.

Then, there are the a la carte menu items, conveniently served in appetizer portions for bar-style grazing. This means that the order of tempura udon or chicken teriyaki is down-sized to perfect dimensions for little appetites. Considering that these items are all priced well below $5, you’ll be extremely pleased with the final bill.
Genki Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bar, Japanese, Kid Friendly, Lunch, Vegetarian Friendly

Seastar

Repeatable: Maybe. Visits: 1

Seastar is an ambitious space in a likeable place: A spanking new swanky seafood restaurant next door to the Pan Pacific Hotel in Seattle, right above Whole Foods.

That description of Seastar’s location also serves as an apt description of its fare: One step above Whole Foods, next to 4-star status but not in the same league. If the space reminds you of an anonymous, expensive team-designed production, so will the food. It’s technically slick but soulless.

There were five of us on Friday night, and we ate early, so there was no excuse, really, for the slow service. Five minutes for the menus–I timed it. Another 10 for our server to take our orders.

If the food had been splendid, all would have been forgiven. But the scallop penne was goopy and pedestrian, the Caesar boring, and the steak OK. Even the kids wouldn’t eat their meals: More oversauced pasta with chunks of chicken–though we had specifically requested no meat, please.

Of the starters, the lone bright spot was the crab and corn chowder, which was sweet with corn and nuanced with crab. The cedar plank roasted mushrooms sounded great, but were really just a bowl of large, slightly undercooked mushroom chunks with a slightly smoky flavor. The pesto-steamed butter clams were interesting, but the overwhelmingly salty pesto soon turned my mouth numb.

On account of that lovely chowder, I’m willing to give Seastar another try. The menu is huge, and it’s entirely possible we had bad luck ordering. Though it was a Friday night, and the place wasn’t exactly hopping.

Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar (Seattle) on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bar, Lunch, Seafood

Mulleady’s

Repeatable: Maybe. Visits: 2

Seattle’s a long, long way from Tipperary, but at Mulleady’s, the Emerald Isle feels a wee bit closer.  This neighborhood pub at the foot of Magnolia offers a pleasant shock to the system: Irish pub fare that’s a noticeable notch up from the usual grub.

While the shepherd’s pie (hearty and good) and corned beef (quite nuanced) were fine, the less cliched choices were best. The lamb stew was deeply satisfying, and I loved the Knockers and Colcannan, which made me feel downright nostalgic for the Irish orphan childhood I never had. The sausages were fat and fine, and the colcannan, in this case a combination of kale and mashed potato, was superb.

Next time, I think I’ll just get a big plate of colcannan and the big pot of sweet pickled vegetables–which are just right for taking the edge off fried fish and chips.  This is where I spent St. Patrick’s Day this year–and most likely where I’ll be next year, too.
Mulleady's Irish Pub and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bar, Casual, Irish, Pub Fare

Tilikum Place Cafe

Repeatable: Yes! Visits: 6

Because I review the lovely Tilikum Place Cafe in this week’s edition of Seattle Weekly (on newstands Wednesday), I won’t repeat myself (it’s a rave review; one of the best eating experiences I’ve had in Seattle in recent memory). Instead, I offer a recipe from the chef, Ba Culbert, whose culinary talent I deeply respect and whose food I adore. If you haven’t discovered this gem of a restaurant yet, go quickly–before the stampede hits. (And, no, this review doesn’t mean that I’m back in full-time action as a professional reviewer; I’m simply covering for Jonathan Kauffman while he’s on vacation.)

For selfish reasons, I’m glad she’s sharing the recipe for her divine baked beans. Here she is in her own words:

“In England, beans on toast are a staple, stop-gap meal.  While it is usually Heinz beans from a can on a slice of toasted white bread, it can still be a very satisfying meal. As my mother is from England, “beans on toast” was a familiar standby (popular on the “make it yourself” dinner nights) in our family–and I mean the ones from a can. Every once in a while, though, my mother would start from scratch and make a big pot of baked beans. I remember the delicious smell wafting through the house and getting excited for dinner. Her beans, as are these, were a bit of hybrid between an English and an American Boston Baked Bean. However, whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on, they ought to be good.”

TPC’s Baked Beans:
Ingredients
4 cups flageolet beans, soaked over night (navy or white beans may also be used)
1 ea carrot
1 rib celery
1 ea onion
sachet 1(black peppercorns, thyme, bay)
water to cook beans
oil for searing pork
2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into three or four large pieces
4 oz slab bacon, cut into 1/2″ dice (sliced bacon is just fine also)
1 ea smoked ham hock (optional)
2 ea onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbls tomato paste
2 cups diced tomato (canned)
sachet 2 (allspice, cinnamon stick, fennel seed, thyme, bay leaf, black peppercorns)
molasses
apple cider vinegar
maple syrup (to taste)
2 tbls whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the soaked beans with the mirepoix and sachet 1 in plenty of water until they are tender.  Remove the mirepoix and reserve the cooking liquid.  This may be done a day or two ahead or the same day.  (If the beans are cooked ahead of time, cool them in the liquid so they remain tender.)
Generously salt and pepper the pork shoulder and brown in a large heavy bottomed pot with a well fitting lid.  Remove when brown and add the diced bacon.  Render out the bacon for five minutes or so, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan.  Add the diced onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  Add tomato paste and stir for a few minutes to coat bacon, onion and garlic.  Deglaze with a little apple cider vinegar.  Add the beans with their cooking liquid, the diced tomato, sachet 2 and 1/4 cup molasses. Add the browned pork shoulder and the ham hock (if using) to the pot.  It should be quite loose or brothy at this point.  Cover and put in a 250-degree oven for about 4 hours, checking periodically to make sure it does not dry out.  If additional liquid is needed, add water or chicken stock.  When the pork is tender and and the hock falls off the bone, remove from the oven.  Let sit until it is just cool enough to handle.  Remove the ham hock and pull meat from the bones and return to pot.  Using wooden spoons, or whatever you prefer, pull apart the pork into large hunks (this should be very easy).  Remove and discard sachet.  Stir in maple syrup and whole grain mustard, adjusting to taste (you may also want to adjust vinegar and molasses too).  The beans are best if they are allowed to sit for a day to meld flavors together but may be eaten the same day.  I do not usually add salt and pepper until I am reheating the beans for service.  Enjoy!

Tilikum Place Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bar, Breakfast, Casual, Northwest