A sweet pairing of sushi at Shiro’s in Seattle

Scallop and geoduckIt’s my birthday, and I’ll eat sushi if I want to, eat if I want to, eat if I want to…

I wanted to.

It’s not often I treat myself to a fine meal of my own. When I do, that meal will most likely be Asian. On a special occasion, chances are that Asian meal will be sushi.

For recent special occasions, Kisaku’s been the location. It’s no secret that I love that place.

But for my recent birthday, I wanted to try a new place, and Shiro’s was new for us. (Shiro’s is a little more expensive than Kisaku, but the other part of the “us” was buying my birthday dinner!) We know one of the sushi chefs, so we sat in front of him at the counter. Omakase’s the only way to go for sushi, in our view, so we let the chef decide what to serve us after first discussing our likes and dislikes. (Well, our likes, as we have no dislikes – which is helpful when going the omakase route.)

Sushi came after a selection of appetizers, mind you. My favorite was the salmon skin salad (with kelp, sesame, onion, radish sprouts, and chili-ponzu sauce), as I love the texture of the skin and how it meshed with the earthy yet oceanic nature of the whole dish. The geso fry (fried squid legs) offered an altogether different texture, while the smelt nanban was delicate and delicious.

Smelt would be the first of many nigiri presented to us. I like the use of local fish that are sustainable, though I must admit I loved the chu-toro that came next (a weakness of mine), and the sushi chef also chose a dessert-like unagi as our meal-ender. But I believe that everything in-between would pass muster on a Monterey Bay seafood watch guide.

Highlights included a local uni that was darker and heartier than most, local shrimp that came with its head fried on the side (I adore the sweetness of the shrimp and then the crispiness of the shell and head), and a naka-ochi hand roll made with maguro. Naka-ochi means meat scraped from the bone, in this case of the tuna, that might otherwise go to waste, but is full of great flavor, usually from fat.

It was the pairings, though, that I found most intriguing.

First, we fell in love with two pieces of salmon—a fish we love (especially as devotees to the Pacific Northwest) but don’t normally seek out for sushi. One piece was “regularly” raw, but the second was an extra fatty piece (think: o-toro of salmon) served “aburi”-style, which means quickly seared with a blowtorch. A wonderful pairing of salmon pieces.

Even better, though, was a geoduck and scallop pairing. The geoduck had its tell-tale crunchy texture, whereas the scallop was lusciously soft. Both were sweet—the geoduck revealed more and more with each bite, the scallop more immediately so.

At the start of the meal, the sushi chef had advised that the geoduck was especially good that evening. If you’re at a good restaurant, you can trust your sushi chef. We do that at Kisaku. And now we know we can do that at Shiro’s, too.

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3 Responses to “A sweet pairing of sushi at Shiro’s in Seattle”

  1. December 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Damn. That sushi looks so terribly beautiful. I’ve given up on it here in the midwest. Sigh.

  2. admin
    December 12, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    That sushi awaits you anytime you’d like to visit Seattle!

  3. January 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    I would love to try the smelt sushi. This is something I haven’t seen in any sushi restaurants I visited.

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