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Nishino - 82 Reviews - 3130 E Madison St, Seattle, WA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (206) 322-5800

Nishino

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3130 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112
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(206) 322-5800
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Nishino - Seattle, WA
Nishino - Seattle, WA
Nishino - Seattle, WA
Nishino - Seattle, WA

Reviews

( 52 )
( 14 )
( 9 )
( 5 )
( 2 )

Best

Like walking here for dinner, then heading over to the arboretum to walk off dinner. There's a nice playground nearby. Staff of Nishino...

Worst

i heard so much good things about this place so i took my friend out to dinner\r the wait was horrible and serivice wasn't pleasant at all.\r review said that it is a romatic pl...

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Can't stop going back... 3/29/2007

My husband and I love this place. Great Japanese food- sushi is fantastic. Try the dungeness crab appetizer and saki served in live bamboo :o) Yummy! Part of the 5 for 25 deal until the end of March. A great way to experience a sampling of what they have to offer. more

Excellent Sushi 11/22/2006

What I love about Nishino is the quality of the fish and the care with which everything is presented. I also love the seasonal dishes, like maitake mushroom soup in the fall. more

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Nishino - LOVE the Bok Choy 7/31/2006

This is the BEST Japanese restaurant in Seattle - the food is amazing and the employees are wonderful people. We bring our 4 yr old to this restaurant and they are great with children, too. The Bok Choy is my favorite dish - my husband enjoys all the sushi - everyone I know loves this restaurant more

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Decent copycat with good ingredients and no heart 6/11/2006

Went to Nishino this past Friday to try out their omakase’s, and I’m not in any hurry to go back. While none of the food was terrible – it was on a better side – the service was sub par at best for the kind of price we were paying, and I saw no genuine interest on their part to please us with food, either. To me it was another effort by an owner-chef who thought he could replicate Nobu Matsuhisa’s success, and it came up painfully short and left me unsatisfied. I was in a mood for good Japanese food and sushi or sashimi, so when it came time to dine with some out-of-town friends who were doing work for Microsoft short-term, I figured I’d give the place a try since it’s one of the top-rated places in town. I was admittedly cautious – I’ve seen many a chef who have worked for Nobu, who thought they could perhaps replicate Nobu’s success by taking certain formula, and maybe even do it better. (After all, who wouldn’t want a multi-million dollar revenue and prestige and recognition that come with it?) What they tend to forget is that along with street credit and passion for mixing in worldly ingredients with Japanese food (Nobu spent time in Peru and Argentina), he had an intense desire to please those he was entertaining at his restaurant, sparing no effort on his part. Also he was usually aided by a professional maitre d’ who painstakingly managed the service. You could always get better Japanese food, but those were the things people took notice of at his original L.A. establishment (whose characters would get diluted over time as it became a franchise). My impression is that Nishino is a neat Japanese restaurant with nice décor and good, fresh ingredients along with some solid skills, but lacking in the department of wanting to please customers with the aforementioned desire and service. Although we showed up somewhat early for our 8:30 reservation (given the fact they say they only hold reservations for 15 minutes – a trademark Matsuhisa touch), we were seated relatively shortly. That was nice, but IMHO the 15-minutes rule only makes sense to customers for restaurants with a ton of people queuing up to eat – although it was a Friday night, I didn’t see many people waiting. The advantage of omakase’s in this type of restaurant (Japanese, predominantly raw ingredients) is that you can customize the meals to the particular customers’ likings. So naturally, I was prepared to talk to the lead chef who would be preparing our meals (whoever that may be) or the server about what our courses would and could entail. The hostess mentioned I might be able to talk to Tatsu about our meals, so I inquired with the server if Tatsu would have a hand in our meals. He laughed (through his nose, kind of) at my inquiry, saying, “No, Tatsu doesn't cook your food – a bunch of the other chefs are,” as if Tatsu was too cool to touch our food or even talk about it. (The correct answer would’ve been something like “Tatsu would be overseeing all omakase’s and help as needed, but other chefs are preparing the food tonight – what did you have in mind?” – an owner chef should NEVER become “above” customers, no matter how cool they feel their restaurant is at the moment.) Then he went onto describe the menu, a cookie-cutter approach, but no offer to talk about our preferences. The first disappointment. What's the point in having omakase if you don't get to work with the chef to create your own? Then our food came out one by one – some good, some not so special, with lots of hints taken from Nobu (use of jalapeño, garlic, salsa and cilantro, buttery sautéed dishes). The appetizers (white salmon “carpaccio” with ponzu, ankimo w/ momiji oroshi, wrapped snow crab with wasabi mayo) were promising, if not too simplistic in their approach, but after the hamachi sashimi (predictably with jalapeño and cilantro, along with a roasted garlic chip) and katsuo tataki salad, things got a little heavy and dull. The flavors were fine (although it’s hard to screw up asparagus and morel mushroom buttery sautéed), but to me omakase’s should be designed to show off chef’s skills, not an occasion to bring out two heavy, buttery sautéed things out of the back kitchen late in the course. The halibut cheek which was fried in saffron curry batter was good in flavor, but composition-wise, too heavy a dish to bring out as the 6th course – and it topped buttery Swiss chard with mushrooms, repeating the flavors from the 4th course, squid with morel and asparagus. This 6th dish came with another creamy wasabi sauce. Not very appetizing at this point. The sushi’s were fine, although the waiter couldn’t even tell what one of the rolls were (he described them as “…and some other creation he made”). I could tell that they were tuna and takuan pickles rolls (why combine those two things, I’ll never know), but it seems like the server should’ve asked the chef if he didn’t know what something was. This was a sign of lack of server education, which seemed to come from the apparent lack of a professional manager. The grand finale was mochi ice cream and fresh fruit, which I could’ve prepared myself with store-bought mochi ice cream, but they are a crowd-pleaser, so what can I say. Never once, throughout our meal, did someone come ask how we liked the dishes. Nor did they ask how we were doing with our sake (served in a cool bamboo carafe, another element taken from Nobu, who started this trend by working with a supplier in Kyoto) or if we liked it. We ran out of sake towards the end, but who cares, right? The food came out one by one, in pretty dishes at a pretty restaurant, and someone was constantly pouring us water, but we never had any hint of them genuinely caring about our dining experience. Some of us got up to go to restroom, but no one came to re-fold the napkins (which is the level of service I’d expect from how much we were paying). Chefs are craftsman by trade, so when they decide to be businesspeople by opening up their own restaurant, they must realize they may need help from professional service/management staff. Tatsu Nishino coolly hovered around the restaurant, sitting on his laurels, occasionally talking to people he must already know and some chefs, but not managing to oversee the service (or lack thereof). Food was good and ingredients fresh, with usually nice presentation - so if you want to feel “cool” by being in the “A-list” restaurant while eating decent sushi, go for it. But the service was bad and I don’t particularly feel the need to feel like a cool money bag, so I’m not in a hurry to go back. more

Perfection 6/1/2006

Nishino is perfection and that's all there is to it. more

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Awesome 5/19/2006

Thanks to recommendations from JB, I thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Nishino. Their nigiri pieces are extremely well prepared, fresh and high quality. However, they truly excel at their rolls and hand rolls. Their Foie Gras served nigiri-style is incredible and is reason enough to visit Nishino (or to come back). more

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Some of the Best Japanese in Seattle 5/17/2006

Ate at Nishino last night for the first time in about a year. I'm glad I did because it reminded me how good Japanese food in Seattle can be. Is it the best Japanese in the city - probably not. But it's definitely in the top 5 or so. My wife and I are creatures of habit when it comes to Japanese, so we decided on this trip to only try things we haven't eaten before. Great move. The special sheet had an ameabi ceviche which was outstanding - steeped in orange and lime juices, mixed with red onion and avocado. It was the right mix of sweet and spicy. Best of all they didn't scrimp on shrimp. Next we had fried tofu in mushroom sauce. I wasn't sure what to expect until 2 bowls of what amounted to tofu and mushrooms in broth arrived. Wow. The "sauce" was really a vegtable stock broth with teriyaki. It was really rich. Big pieces of tofu, and generous helping of shitake and morrel mushrooms. I'll have it again. We did not go big on sushi - some white tuna (excellent), an arboretum and house roll. All very fresh and very good. The service was top notch to boot. You definitely pay more for Nishino, but it's worth the splurge. more

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Domo Arigato 3/31/2006

I had yet another pleasing experience at Nishino sushi on Madison. The quality of the fish is always impeccable with maguro that melts in your mouth. But I think what sets Nishino apart from my other Seattle sushi favorites is the experience. I love sitting at the sushi bar here because you often get introduced to house specials or things that are not printed on the menu. My husband ordered Ika sushi and the sushi chef recommended a baby squid special instead that was delicious. Our other favorites for the night were: Aji (spanish makeral), Ume Shiso and soft shell crab roll (wrapped in a delicate cucumber and flash fried). If you can stomach the bill $110-including a 15oz cold sake-and I wouldn't say we ordered exorbitantly, I think Nishino is not to be missed for sushi lovers. more

Excellent 3/18/2006

Incredible sushi, great atmosphere, friendly service. The fish is very fresh and really nice flavors! I wish it weren't so far away from my house or I would dine here weekly! more

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High quality sushi for a pretty penny (and then some) 3/17/2006

After living in the neighborhood for years (and having been a sushi lover for even longer), I finally tried Nishino this week. Granted, it was a trip to feel out the place using the 25 for $25 promotion as an excuse, but I was happy with even that meal. I decided that I'm still happy with my usual haunt (Chinoise on Madison) for my daily sushi needs, but will be back to try the omakase (roughly translated, "leave it to the chef") fixed price dinner. I could tell there were subtle differences in the quality of the sushi as well as in the nori. The fish was just a bit fattier, fresher, and a touch more tender, but the differences weren't pronounced enough for me to make this my regular sushi restaurant. Besides, Jae puts so much more loving care into his presentations than I saw Kazu do at Nishino. Maybe it was an off-night? All things considered, I still savored my meal. The restaurant seemed really busy when we came in mid-week and it took a few minutes before we spoke with the hostess. That turned me off at first, but the polite and attentive service that followed made up for it. The decor wasn't particularly Japanese and was more "classic" in the 80's sense of the word. The art was a little incongruous, too, all bright and abstract in contrast with the dim lighting and beige walls. The 25 for $25 deal got me and my husband each our choice of three appetizers, three main courses, and three desserts. The meal also came with miso soup. I ordered a dungeness crab cake as an appetizer, the sushi assortment for my entree, and sorbet for dessert. My husband ordered the yellowtail sashimi as an appetizer, sushi for his entree, and mochi for dessert. We also started with an order of albacore sashimi (5 pieces), well-priced at $9, melt in your mouth delicious, and significantly thicker than the yellowtail sashimi that came with the 25 for $25 meal. The crab cake was generously meaty and moist, although my husband thought it was too wet for his taste. The napa cabbage-mayo salad on the side was limp and bland. The "salsa" for the crab cake was also unnecessary and needed to be chopped more finely, besides. I much preferred the seaweed salads that came with the yellowtail. The sushi entree came with more sushi than I expected: two pieces from what appeared to be a maguro/salmon roll with avocado and tobiko, three pieces from a pickled vegetable roll, and one piece each of the following nigiri: amaebi, maguro, hamachi, and salmon. The sorbets were fine, but the shiso-flavored one was very icy when compared to the mango and strawberry. My husband's mango and strawberry mochi were little cold to start with, but defrosted a bit as we ate them and turned delightfully gummy and creamy. I left stuffed, happy, and ready to come back for the omakase dinner. more

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Sublime Sushi 3/14/2006

I just did the $25 for $25 at Nishino and what a deal for the ultimate sushi in Seattle. Everything from the miso soup to the sorbets were outstanding. The yellow tail appetizer was phenomenal, fresh, subtle hints of chive, but most of all, a good quality fish with flavor. I cannot say how much of deal, the $25 for $25 is- this included an appetizer, assorted sushi with rolls and a dessert. Our party ordered an extra roll- I'm actually not quite sure what was in the roll- most likely yellow tail, but all I can say is wow! Prices are a bit higher than most sushi places in the area, however if you are looking to celebrate a special occasion or just want good sushi, then go go go. Also, I was impressed that most of the people in the restaurant were actually Japanese, not just Americans, which is usually a good sign. Based upon the reviews I'd like to try the Omakase dinner sometime. Next time, I think I'll sit at the bar, which allows you to be more adventurous. more

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Best Japanese in Seattle 2/16/2006

Nishino is my favorite spot for great Japanese food. It's not an inexpensive bite but they always have the freshest ingredients and they make some of the most creative stuff. I'd highly recommend asking for a few "chefs choice" items when you go there- when they invent something on the spot its often magical. more

Excellent Sushi in Seattle! 12/7/2005

I have been going here for years. Whether you're on a date, have a business dinner, or just want great sushi this is the place! The sushi bar is fun and as interactive as you want it to be. The gentlemen that make the sushi are personable and helpful. They constantly have specials which are creative and delicious. One thing I would not order here however is a fois gras dish with shiitake mushrooms. It was overcooked to the point that the fois gras had almost melted away to nothing. Their tempua is fabulously light, crispy and hot! more

best sushi in Seattle, maybe even the west coast! 11/21/2005

I'm repeatedly blown away by how good the food is at Nishino. This is a Seattle treasure. more

Excellent Sushi 9/16/2005

We have been patrons of this delicious restaurant for years. The owners and staff are friendly and helpful. The sushi is fantastic. We enjoy the more upscale environment and love the beautiful votive holders on every table. We think it's the best in Seattle. more

Best Sushi 8/20/2005

No one beats Nishino for quality, their sushi is some of the best in town. Really fresh and quality fish. If you want to be daring, get the Omakase dinner is a great treat, the selections are always delicious. Even sushi haters can find a decent meal here. Spot the rich and famous dining here, this is an upscale restaurant with the prices to match. more

Nishino Hyped! 8/16/2005

I read somewhere that Nishino is the best Japanese restaurant in Seattle. So I went there on my birthday. But I came out disappointed. Nishino-san may be a famous chef. But what good is that if he is not the chef behind the counter?! He usually just walks around and look over other chefs in the restaurant. So you are just getting your dishes from some no-name cooks. Omakase was supposed to be excellent there. I tried to order that. But I found out that I had to either order ahead or minimum of two people had to order it! So I had to order from the regular menu. The food is decent but definitely not worth the prices! Don't buy into the hype! Go to Saito's instead! more

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creative Japanese 4/26/2005

Nishino is a good Japanese restaurant – they are a little pricey, but you will be satisfied with the food, so it's worth it. They serve not only traditional foods, but also some very creative and inventive dishes. It seems like it might be a place to come to celebrate something like an anniversary. more

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Best Japanese restaurant in King County 3/7/2005

We've been to Nobu in New York City (and Malibu), and a few nice Japanese restaurants in Hawaii, but Nishino is the best. Chef/Owner Tatsu Nishino is a friendly perfectionist, and his Omakase (chef's choice) dinner is always different and always scrumptious. more

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Best sushi in Seattle 8/30/2004

My wife (Karen) and I are huge fans of Nishino -- is definitely our favorite sushi in Seattle -- only thing that could be improved, probably, is the location -- is on Madison near the Arboretum, but would be fantastic if it was on the water. Sushi is fresh, great edamame, nice wine list, and always fantastic service. more
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Menu for Nishino




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Editorial

  • The Scene
    Since 1995, Tatsu Nishino and his chefs have kept standards high. Nishino himself often steps out of the kitchen to observe the bustling sushi bar, making sure counters are tidy...

  • 7/27/2004 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Monday To Saturday From 05:30 PM To 10:30 PM Sunday From 05:30 PM To 09:30 PM
  • Payments:

    Master Card, Visa, American Express
  • Neighborhoods:

    Washington Park, Capitol Hill
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