I am certainly passionate about food, and sushi can definitely stir up the emotions on what’s the best in Seattle. We’re lucky to have so many great options. If you are looking for a sushi restaurant in Seattle, we have places to go Omakase-style (you are putty in the chef’s hands), on conveyor belts, or on the cheap. But there is only one place that has been around for over 100 years and is commonly known as one of the best places in town. That place is Maneki.
Maneki is located in the International District on Sixth right off of Jackson. If you weren’t actively looking for it, you would probably drive right by. It’s a modest storefront, but stepping in you’ll see a hallway that highlights the accolades that have been heaped on Jean Nakayama‘s Maneki. And there are many. Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce is a fan. And how many other restaurants in Seattle are known as an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation?
When you go prepare to wait. We went on a Tuesday night around 8pm. And were told that it would be an hour wait. Word off the street is they tell this to everyone. They do have tatami rooms that are available for reservations for groups of four or more.
With an hour long wait, we were more than happy to sit at the bar and be a part of the scene there. Tending the bar is this firecracker named “Mom”. She was a riot; methodical, friendly and is only at the bar on Tuesdays and Sundays. When she doesn’t tend the bar, she vacations in Las Vegas. The lounge is like this girl’s club for Mom and her friends. If you find yourself at the bar, don’t be surprised if they ask you to move to make room for Mom’s friends. I’m not kidding. But they are so cute and nice, of course you’ll move. Besides, respect your elders.
The food as we expected was excellent. We had a ton of dishes and all of them were really good. Mom recommended the Oysters Rockefeller, not something we would’ve order, but glad we did. The miso soup was great too, I’m not normally crazy about miso, but theirs was really, really good. Black Cod was also on the menu. I’m an addict for black cod, so got this too. A touch on the salty side, but otherwise awesome.
The sushi, oh the sushi. So good. Melt in your mouth, full of flavor, explosive good. On the nigiri you’ll get massive slabs of fish, so be prepared for a mouthful. We ordered Salmon, Flounder, and Scallops. The rolls were great too, Salmon Skin Roll. Holla. We did want to get more, but at this point we were full. Another excuse to go back.
The ID always has little shops full of character and awesome food. Many are near and dear to locals’ hearts, and Maneki fits this mold. If you go, I’d recommend a Tuesday or Sunday for an evening with Mom, a bottle of Sapporo, and some excellent eats.