I'm a hound from the SF Bay Area and will be flying into Seattle, staying in Redmond (first time there) on a Monday afternoon next month and will have a rental car (and some maps).
Looking to enjoy the evening with one dinner and am jonesing for good old school style sushi (nigiri), keeping it as simple, fresh, and delicious as possible. I've been to Shiro's at this board's recommendation 3 years back, but did not find it as impressive (didn't hate it but it didn't blow me away). I did like the fact they had live uni that night I was there (straight from the spikey bodies) and should have ordered it.
Did a search for some time and found recommendations for Kisaku and Nishino, and a few others places I have never heard of before. Are these way better than Shiro's or Saito? Do I have to drive into the Seattle area from Redmond to get that kind of quality, or is there somewhere worthy that's closer to or within Redmond? 20 to 30 mins drive would be reasonable for me.
To give an idea of what I'm looking for:
- good selection of sushi neta/fish toppings across the board (clam family, white fish variety, silvery shiny fish types) and not just your standard maguro, hamachi, ebi. Extra points if the restaurant actually serves locally available fish for sushi (and which fish types are they?) Some SF Bay Area sushi bars claim their mirugai comes from the Pacific Northwest.
- well prepared sumeshi (vinegared rice). Not overly marinated/sour, but just right and complements the fish topping(s). Good pearly grains.
- well molded nigiri, doesn't fall apart when I pick it up with chopsticks (or by hand). Good ratio and balance of fish to rice that fits into the mouth (and not small fish and huge rice ball)
- extra points if chef makes his own tamago-yaki in house, and marinates his own saba, or makes the less popular maguro zuke (marinated tuna). Huge bonus if he marinates his own kohada and also prepares anago in house.
- oh yeah, the place needs to be open on a Monday night. Might stick around for a quick early dinner before I board the plane on Tuesday, so something that is open on Tuesday evening as well?
If none of the above can be found, I'd be willing to try something off the beaten path or fusion(y) a la Nishino's.
I also would love to know what to expect, if I walk into one of your recommendations for the first time and order omakase (generally not recommended where I'm from unless the chef is able to read your mind as to what you like and your personality). Shiro's omakase had a mix of sashimi, rolls, fusion-y type dishes that didn't click with me, and nigiri.
Last question and off topic, so where is Chinatown or the heaviest concentration of Chinese restaurants/businesses/supermarkets in or within driving distance from Redmond?