I really love sushi.
But more than that, I love trying weird or different kinds of sushi. California rolls? No thanks. But a nice cut of raw tuna on a bed of nigiri-style rice? I’ll take 5! I’m alway up for trying something new and different, but my two sushi favorites are tako (octopus) and ikura (flying fish roe).
Every few months, a friend and I make a point to try a different Seattle sushi spot. We’ve eaten lots of places. And at Sushi Kashiba last night, I had the best sushi of my life.
Now, this isn’t usually a blog for food reviews. But I’m making an exception. Head Chef Shiro Kashiba trained with Chef Jiro (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary fame). Both are legends. Shiro opened Seattle’s first sushi bar, and he’s known in Seattle and beyond.
Do you know the phrase melt in your mouth?
I don’t think I ever truly understood what that meant until now.
Every piece of fish was soft, delicate and packed with flavor. I know that sounds ridiculously cliche, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Sushi now exists in two categories for me: there’s regular sushi, and there’s Shiro’s sushi.
Every type of sushi was noticeably better than any counterpart I’ve had. Cuts of fish that usually taste a bit, well, fishy, were soft and fresh. (The closest I’ve come before this was a trip to Shiro’s, the Belltown hotspot he left in 2014. Even post-Shiro, they have pretty good sushi. But their namesake chef still tops all.)
My biggest mistake was thinking I’d need soy sauce to go with anything. One bite of nigiri dipped in soy sauce, and I knew. It’s a crime to add it to Chef Shiro’s nigiri. What I usually consider a sushi staple was now a salty annoyance masking the flavors perfection.
The bright colors, the different flavors – each piece of nigiri was unique. The only other time I’ve had uni (sea urchin), it was gross. Uni looks like a golden yellow sponge, and the other uni I’d had disintegrated on my tongue instantly. It went from soft sponge to salty, water mess instantly.
I tasted Shiro’s uni with trepidation. But it didn’t disappoint. The texture was soft (not for everyone, obviously) but the flavor was mild enough to be pleasant. And nothing disintegrated into saltiness. Yes, Sushi Kashiba costs more than many other sushi restaurants. But this is quality sushi. No exceptions.
Our table had a gorgeous view of the Seattle Waterfront, the Great Wheel and the Pike’s Public Market sign — which all look beautiful at night. And Shiro himself was there at the sushi bar: crafting the sushi and chatting with customers.
From our spot at a table, we didn’t get a chance to speak with him, but he did say “domo arigato gozaimasu” as we finished and headed out the door.
Uh, no, Shiro — thank you. This is a night of sushi I will never forget.