Monday, April 14, 2008

Lunch #46: Bush Garden

Bush Garden 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.

Bush Garden, Seattle
Address: 614 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA, 98104
Cuisine: Japanese
Average rating: 3 chopsticks
Lunch date: 4/14/2008 @ 12:10:00
Time taken to be seated: 0 minutes
Time to take order: 0 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 15 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 49 minutes
Chopstix quality: Nice Wood
Do they use MSG?: Didn't Ask, but it doesn't feel like it.
Where is the owner/chef from?:
Number of tables: 32
Number of occupied tables: 7 (21%)
Number of business lunch tables: 3 (42%)
Number of "local" tables: 3 (42%)
Healthcode Score: 0
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
Bush Garden

Luncher: Adam

Two Choices Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + TonkatsuLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + Tonkatsu - $7.75
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

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: Emmett

KatsudonLunch: Katsudon - $7.75
Rating: 2 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

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: Geary

Two Choices Lunch: Salmon Teriyaki + BBQ Pork RibsLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Salmon Teriyaki + BBQ Pork Ribs - $7.75
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

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: Erin

Two Choices Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and VegetablesLunch: Two Choices Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables - $7.75
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Erin's Review

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 Рnot 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 saut̩ed 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 GastroGnome

Sushi Lunch SpecialLunch: Sushi Lunch Special - $6.75
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Naomi's Review

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!

Naomi's full review of Bush Garden.

Luncher: Jared

Kobe Beef SukiyakiLunch: Kobe Beef Sukiyaki - $7.75
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Bush Garden Photos

Bush Garden
Bush Garden

Hot Towels!?
Hot Towels!?

Bush Garden Lunch Menu
Bush Garden Lunch Menu

Miso & Salad Starter
Miso & Salad Starter

Lunch Special with Salmon Teriyaki & BBQ Pork Ribs
Lunch Special with Salmon Teriyaki & BBQ Pork Ribs

Kobe Beef Sukiyaki
Kobe Beef Sukiyaki

Two Choice Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + Tonkatsu
Two Choice Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki + Tonkatsu

Two Choice Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables
Two Choice Lunch: Tuna Sashimi + Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables

Katsudon
Katsudon

Sushi Lunch Special
Sushi Lunch Special

Bush Garden Sign & Parking
Bush Garden Sign & Parking

2 comments:

Babuca said...

My beef with Bush is that every time I go in there and try to order the sushi bento, they tell me that they are all out. How can they be all out of sushi at 12 in the afternoon? It's a sushi restaurant! I only go there because it's much faster than Fuji.

Megin O. said...

I go to Bush probably four times a year for dinner with my boyfriend and we usually share the sushi and ngiri combo along with a couple other rolls (sometimes rainbow roll, definitely something containing salmon). In general I really enjoy the sushi so maybe sushi is the way to go. While their sushi probably isn't the best in Seattle, I do enjoy it and do find the surroundings somewhat quaint. Beware of the scary bathroom, though.