Japonessa – Japanese sushi with a weird latin twist.
We’ve eaten a lot of sushi between the two of us. We’ve both have even eaten at Jiro’s Sushi in Japan, THE place to eat sushi in the whole world. Obviously, the bar has been set high, but we are fair and can differentiate between bad, average, and good sushi. Japonessa has a very modern setting with high ceilings, black chairs and tables, and fancy chandeliers. For the area, downtown/Pike Place, it is one of the few places that I would recommend. The prices are moderate, and they definitely have good happy hour deals. Their Happy Hour is offered daily from open to 6:30 pm and in the bar from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Late night happy hour runs from 10:00 pm to close.
Photos by Sean.
On to the food. The omakase dishes we had were pretty good. Some items were fresher and better prepared than others. Our $30 plate had imitation crab nigiri on it which was upsetting. I don’t know why, but I decided to taste it. It would have been better to let it go to waste. It was hard, stringy, and spongy. The uni wasn’t fresh either. Otherwise, the salmon and tuna were good.
They have many rolls, almost a full page of them, so we had to try at least one. We got the Tarantula Extreme with snow crab, cucumber, jalapeÃ±o, topped with avocado, spicy snow crab, tobiko, and drizzled with wasabi and chili aioli. I couldn’t tell if the crab was real or imitation. That isn’t a good thing. They also have rolls with strawberry
habaÃ±ero sauce, cream cheese (cream cheese belongs on bagels, people), raspberry sauce, and worst of all — truffle oil.
Three of their appetizers (Ahi Tuna Tartare, King Crab Tower, and Yellowtail Usu) are served with a zesty spiced sorbet. That just sounds weird. I don’t get the Latino flair here. I don’t think sushi and Japanese cuisine should be tainted. It is wonderful just the way it is. It doesn’t need cilantro, jalapeÃ±os, or truffle oil (seriously?!) to make it exciting. The exciting thing about sushi is that it is simple and classical. Serve fresh, quality fish and people will come.
Open Monday through Thursday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, Friday from 11:30 am to 1:00 am, and Saturday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Summary: Some things are decent and some things are strange.
Recommendation: Come during happy hour only.
Japonessa | 1400 1st Avenue, Seattle | (206) 971 – 7979