The MSG150 crew headed out just before noon to meet up with Naomi, The GastroGnome, who was joining us for lunch today at Bush Garden, the next stop on our
death march tour. Some of us have been here before after work for Karaoke and cheap booze, but none of us have ever heard of anyone eating here.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + Tonkatsu - $7.75
Yay! not Chinese food! I was excited for the change of pace that Bush Garden was going to provide. Should I get Sukiyaki? Should I get teriyaki? Some other kind of yaki? I guess I'll get the "Two Choice Lunch Special" with Chicken Terikyaki and Tonkatsu (pork cutlet).
The lunch special came in a bento box with a cup of white rice. There was a token iceburg lettuce salad and 6 fried green beans. The piece of chicken they made the teriyaki with was actually pretty fatty. The chicken sucked up the teriyaki flavor very well but I couldn't get over the flap of fat on the back. The tonkatsu was the definition of mediocre, though. If I were a skinnier man... I may have not eaten the tonkatsu.
Pretty good place. If you're tired of Chinese food in the International District, this is a pretty decent alternative.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Katsudon - $7.75
Goodness. I was hoping I would have something good to write. Bush Garden has intrigued me as a dining establishment since I started coming here for karaoke. As I belted out R. Kelly, I would dream of sukiyaki, tempura, and sashimi. I drank their cheap rail drinks, and would gaze at the sushi bar, wondering, longing, hoping. I had hopes for something fried, delicious, and not nutritious.
This place is classy, with their pleather seats and rank odor of fried food. I ordered the Katsudon, hoping for a tasty rice, egg, and pork cutlet feast. What I got looked kind of gross - which normally doesn't discourage me. However the rice was mushy and greasy, the egg was flavorless, the breaded pork cutlet was soggy, and the entire dish was permeated with oil. There were a few sick little peas peppered thoughout.
The other food looked quite good, and the price is certainly right. I gave it a decent effort, but left with a mildy upset stomach and a longing for something a little fresher and lighter. Bush Garden, I'm afraid, disappointed. I'll stick with the higher prices and better quality of Fuji up the street.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Salmon Teriyaki + BBQ Pork Ribs - $7.75
When I was a kid my folks took me to Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. I got a Bud Man Frisbee. Bud Man could kick Mickey's ass. There is no Bud Man at Seattle's Bush Garden, but its Mike Brady designed exterior, with its stone wall and neon "Cocktails" sign, reminds me of a more simple time when it was considered okay for a kid to ride unbuckled on the armrest of the family panel wagon or for a giant beer company to open a branded theme park complete with super hero mascot. But, luckily, neither has had any effect on me. Mmmm... beer.
Once I made it past the dimly lit and overly themed entry and my eyes adjusted to the soft light in the Karaoke lounge, I spotted the MSG150 advance team at a table just off the stage. Luckily there is no singing at lunch. The lunch menu offers a nice selection of reasonably priced Japanese favorites including a nice "Two Choices Lunch" bento with nine options to choose from (that's 72 different lunches for those counting). I went with the Salmon Teriyaki and Japanese BBQ Pork Ribs. After we ordered, the waitress brought us a tray of hot towels. Yes, hot towels! Every table is in the first class cabin here at the Bush Garden.
The food arrived quickly and my lunch was delicious. The salmon was small, but perfectly cooked and drizzled with a light teriyaki sauce. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. I still don't understand the crappy salad you always get at Japanese restaurants. It's nice to get some crisp fresh greens, but come on. Maybe it's time to modernize the salad a bit. The orange slice was tasty, too. Yum! Put me back in coach. I'm ready for the second half.
Luncher: ErinLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables - $7.75
Bush Garden is one of those old school ID places. It has been there since my Dad can remember – the very early 60’s! Walking in, the place has a split personality. There is a sushi bar to one side, and then we sat in the regular restaurant place, where apparently they host Karaoke.
Service was prompt and the tea was in a nice ceramic pot – not the metal ones that lose heat. I ordered a lunch special with two entrees ($7.75): tuna sashimi and tempura shrimp and veggies. One could order two items from a selection of about 12 different things for this particular lunch special. It came with miso soup, salad, an orange slice, rice and a little side of sautéed green beans. The lunch menu had a good selection of different items. Service was quick and efficient.
Overall my food was nicely prepared. It was, however, a little bland. The sashimi was fresh – always a good thing, especially since the place was not particularly busy. The vegetable tempura was good, with a nice selection of veggies. The shrimp was a little mushy and the dipping sauce had no flavor. Bush Garden is a nice Japanese standard, but otherwise unremarkable.
VIP Luncher: Naomi from The GastroGnomeLunch: Sushi Lunch Special - $6.75
For $6.95 I was served a miso soup, a small salad, 5 nigiri sushi and 2 hand rolls. That is dirt cheap, my friends. For $6.95 you get the pieces of square shaped half frozen tuna maki at the grocery store. And this was definitely better than store sushi. It was clearly made on the spot, the rice was made that day, though not too recently. The fish quality was definitely not top notch. It was cut into odd shapes and was slightly grainy. It tasted fresh though, not old, and they did not skimp on it. My 5 nigiri were ahi and albacore tuna, salmon, shrimp and a white fish that I didn’t identify and can’t remember. One hand roll was cucumber and the other was spicy tuna, a favorite of mine.
Overall, I have to admit I was pretty impressed at the amount and quality of sushi I got for 6.95, though I’m not sure I wouldn’t just rather get cheap food elsewhere and save sushi for the splurges!
Luncher: JaredLunch: Kobe Beef Sukiyaki - $7.75
Bush Garden PhotosBush Garden
Bush Garden Lunch Menu
Miso & Salad Starter
Lunch Special with Salmon Teriyaki & BBQ Pork Ribs
Kobe Beef Sukiyaki
Two Choice Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + Tonkatsu
Two Choice Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables
Sushi Lunch Special
Bush Garden Sign & Parking