MSG150 stepped up to the big leagues today. Food writer Leslie Kelly (blog) and photographer Paul Joseph Brown (also does weddings) from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer met us for lunch at the next stop on our route, J Sushi. We've been trying to hook up with Leslie for a couple months. She finally caught up with us today and is giving us our big break into analog media. We arrived at noon on our best behavior. Adam even took a shower.
Update: Read Leslie's article and see our mugs in the Seattle PI.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi - $7.95
I'm a big sushi fan, and frequent Shiro's, Chiso, Fuji. J's is small, but has a nice atmosphere. We were greeted immediately and they showed us to our table in the back. We regaled our guests with stories both of adventure, and woe. We ate some sushi.
I got the bento box at a not-so-bad-price of 8 bucks. The salmon teriyaki was tasty, a little charred (which is how I like it). The nigiri was forgettable - a piece of salmon, I think, maybe a shrimp, and a white fish (maybe Saba). Like I said - forgettable. Accompanied with some white rice, salad, and an orange, it was a fine spread for lunch. The orange in my lunch box is always a nice touch - makes me feel like a kid in the cafeteria.
The real highlight was the dragon roll. Little sprouts were sticking out as eyes, lots of flavor. We also ordered a Hawaii Five-O roll. It had some fruit in it or something, but kind of skimpy in the fish department.
All in all, I was not blown away by the sushi. Nothing in the food department really stuck out as 'great' but the service was good and the price was decent for sushi. I could see myself coming back.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Bento Box with Chicken Teriyaki and Sushi - $7.95
What a special day. In our DLZ, this is the only (real) sushi place. A Bento box with a couple pieces of sushi, a salad, an orange wedge, and some chicken teriyaki.
There is something to be said for teriyaki at a sushi restaurant... its probably going to be mediocre. This wasn't an exception. My sushi pieces were excellent. And my salad came with some good dark-green lettuce and an amazingly delicious salad dressing.
We also split some rolls amongst the table members. I only tried the Catepillar roll, but it was most excellent.
When in Rome, do as the Romans... eat sushi.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi - $7.95
"J" Sushi? I don't get it. There's an I Sushi in Issaquah (actually iSushi on their sign). Is this just the logical next step? I also had trouble visually unwrapping the octopus from the "J" in the logo and thought at first the name of this place was just Sushi, or maybe Octopus on an Anchor Sushi. I'm a huge sushi fan, but spend most of my sushi budget on straight sushi (sashimi or nigiri) rather than elaborate rolls. I also tend to shoot for the "great bargain" type sushi spots where you can get high quality fish at a reasonable price. A couple of my favs are Musashi's in Walingford and Hana up on Broadway. For quick, close to home sushi I go with iSushi, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant with a Japanese owner/head chef, but predominantly Mexican sushi chefs. J Sushi is a bit spendier than these bargain spots, but the prices are not outrageous. In addition to sushi, they also offer some typical Japanese lunch options at reasonable lunch prices. Since I was intent on having some sushi without blowing out my lunch budget, I went with the Bento Box with the sushi and salmon teriyaki options. We also got a couple of rolls to share with the table including a Godzilla Roll (looked like a spider roll on steroids), Caterpillar/Dragon Roll (Is there a difference? There was some confusion.), and a Hawaii 5-0 Roll (book 'em Danno). We reluctantly passed on the Super Dave Roll. What, they have a Super Dave Roll, but no Rick Roll?!
The Bento Box was excellent, the salmon was tender and flaky and a larger portion than Bush Garden; the salad was made of nice mixed greens with a light, tangy Japanese dressing; and the sushi consisted of three large, fresh pieces: one shrimp, one salmon, and one albacore. The shrimp was fine as far as shrimp sushi goes, but in general shrimp sushi (which is cooked, unseasoned shrimp filleted and stuck on rice) is really just a waste of shrimp. The salmon and albacore were excellent. Both were ample pieces of fish without a bit of chewy connective bits that often shows up in sushi of bargain joints. The salmon also had nice fatty striping. Yum! The rolls were fantastic. I didn't get a bite of the Spider Roll, but it was huge, with large chunks of crab. The caterpillar roll was beautiful. It looked like a caterpillar, with eyes, scales, and antenna. This is not the type of roll you get off of a conveyor belt. The caterpillar roll has always been one of my favorites. The distinctive taste of the unagi is complemented perfectly by the avocado and sweet and tangy sauce. Rolls done like this are fun for a splurge, but for my money, I'd still rather just have high quality fish on a ball of rice.
VIP Luncher: Leslie Kelly from Seattle PILunch: Catepilar Roll, Spider Roll, Dragon Roll, and a Godzilla Roll - $20.00
Leslie Kelly's Review
Awww! What an adorable dragon.
Whenever I eat at a new sushi place, I always test the waters by ordering rolls. I want to see what kind of care the kitchen takes with its cooked fish before I go for the raw.
J Sushi’s dragon roll – eel, crab and cucumber with avocado on top – was finished with octopus tentacles for eyes and sprouts for horns. The seaweed layered inside was just a little bit chewy, but beyond that, the flavor was great.
I also tried the Godzilla roll ($11.95; pretty good, not great) and the Caterpillar ($9.95; I’ve had better/worse, not too memorable.)
This place gets high marks for friendly service and fun décor.
If you want to read more, check out my Cheap Eats review in the May 9 Seattle P-I.
VIP Luncher: Paul Brown from Seattle PILunch: Catepilar Roll, Spider Roll, Dragon Roll, and a Godzilla Roll - $20.00
Paul Brown's Review
I had the spider roll, caterpillar roll, and three pieces of sushi: hamachi, unagi and maguro. I also had a bento with salmon teriyaki and sushi option. I thought the rolls and the sushi were excellent, 5 chopsticks. The bento was uneven, not amazing 2 chopsticks for value, 3.5 over all.
For sushi and rolls J Sushi is in the top 20% of sushi places in Seattle. Their bento is about average.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi - $7.95
All the walls of the place had giant paintings of aquatic critters. Behind me a jellyfish, to my left a giant octopus, and in front of me a huge pair of koi. This vibrantly colored orange and black carp watched me eat his relatives for lunch. I think it helped set the mood for lunch.
I tried both the bento box with salmon teriyaki as well sampling several of the rolls. The salmon was good, the sushi was tasty, and the rolls were both fun and flavorful.
If you’ve never ordered a ‘caterpillar roll’ now is the time. A caterpillar roll is a large sushi roll with an outer layer of avocado to give it the appearance of green skin, as well as decorations and eye spots done with fish roe. Top it off with bean sprouts for antennae and you have something that vaguely looks like a giant green caterpillar on your plate. And it tastes great.
Overall this is a quiet lunch spot that puts out a good bento and sushi product for not too much money. Tasty affordable lunch, and a nice splash of orange Koi. J Sushi is a solid place for lunch.
Luncher: RobLunch: Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi - $7.95
I really wanted to love this place. Huge paintings of fish on the walls, the idea of good sushi for lunch in downtown Seattle, Aji (Spanish mackerel) featured on the sushi menu (although they didn't have it this day). I ended up with the lunch special bento box with salmon teriyaki and three pieces of sushi, as did most of the rest of the MSG150 crew. Also picked out the Hawaii 5-0 roll, featuring tuna and mango. Our new friends at the Seattle P-I picked out some other rolls and various pieces of nigiri. My salmon teriyaki was pretty dry, although the sauce was good. The small salad was one of the best bento box salads I've had -- real leafy greens with a nice dressing. The sushi was average. They were good sized pieces of fish, but the salmon was falling apart and the albacore didn't have the best texture. I've had worse, to be sure, but I've also had much better. The Hawaii 5-0 roll was interesting, but, again, the fish was just average, and there were only four pieces -- less than half the size of the other rolls. I also tried a piece of the very cute caterpillar roll, and that was okay, but not great. None of the fish really stood out. On the plus side, with the P-I folk there, Adam was on his best behavior. We should have newspaper reporters join us more often.
J Sushi PhotosJ Sushi
Lunch Special menu with authentic soy stain
Giant Spider Roll & Caterpillar Roll
Caterpillar Roll & Spider Roll
Bento Box with Chicken Teriyaki and Sushi
Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi
Bento Box with Salmon Teriyaki and Sushi (again)
Hawaii 5-0 Roll
05/06/08 - Fixed table stats
05/07/08 - Added link to Seattle PI