As long as we’re on the topic of closures, here’s another to report: Bites has bitten the dust. Those wanting better Japanese and general Asian food could find it steps away in the International District. Taking advantage of its proximity to Qwest Field, perhaps the site will fare better as The Hawks Nest Bar & Grill.
Here’s what I originally wrote about Bites when it participated in April’s “izakaya invitational” as part of the Dish-Off competition in Sound magazine:
Bites is proclaimed as a place for Asian tapas and wild sushi. Fusion, for sure, but with some traditional Japanese favorites. Smack in its center is a circular bar—half alcohol, half sushi. The problem on this and other non-event (it’s right near the stadiums) nights: nobody is at the bar, or anywhere in the restaurant. No buzz. And not really buzzworthy. On the positive side, the gyoza are refreshing—homemade and pan-fried, with pieces of Fuji apple providing contrast in taste and texture to the usual pork and vegetable filling. Beef korokke and ginger pork are also satisfying, but the gyu negi (beef wrapped around green onion, substituting for the more expensive but more delicious negi) suffers from a cloyingly sweet teriyaki sauce. And the grilled mackerel, suspicious from the start with an off-putting fishy smell, lacks consistency in cooking. We ask to sample the kaki fry and a couple of specific pieces of sushi, but they’re not available. Nothing on the menu is particularly risk-taking, and nothing has any wow factor. The sushi we sample is just ma-ma (so-so), and the fantasy prawns (sautéed in creamy spiced sauce) won’t recur in any of my future fantasies. Still, Bites provides a few dishes that might make it a safe place for some people to test the waters for something new. But you won’t find Asians walking down here from the International District.