I have never eaten at Toyoda, but I would be curious to hear comments from people who have also eaten at Nishino.
Nishino is my favourite sushi in Seattle - more for good quality food than ambience or price.
How do the two stack up?
[Added on 7/18/06 after my visit]
They say first impressions count, so let me give my impressions of my one visit to Toyoda compared with my many visits to Nishino…
My wife and I drove up to Toyoda on Friday night around 7pm. There was a small line but we were seated fast.
The Toyoda décor was on par with most sushi restaurants in Seattle – functional yet unspectacular. For environment and ambience, Nishino has it beat; not that I love Nishinos atmosphere – I find it somewhat modern and sterile, but it is nicer than Toyoda. One point Nishino.
After we were seated, the waitress quickly brought over complementary miso soup. The soup was average. The miso-paste was bland, it came with soggy tofu and spinach. Nishinos miso has them outclassed – the richer miso flavours, the smoky taste with clams and real seaweed is a much better experience.
Before we ordered, the waitress came over with yet another complimentary dish – a small noodle bowl. I found this to be a little odd and to detract from the experience. The noodles were nothing special and seemed to serve as some sort of “filler”. I came to eat good sushi, I don’t need to fill up on blanched noodles.
As we placed our order, we were informed that they had no fresh Shake (salmon) left, only the smoked salmon. Whoa, what kind of sushi place runs out of a staple like Salmon at 7pm on a Friday night? At this point I have to admit, I was starting to feel a little grumpy (low blood sugar :)) and questioning the wisdom of the pioneering Judys Book recommenders before me. My expectations for good sushi dropped as finished placing our order.
Amazingly, the sushi came out really fast – much quicker than Nishino usually gets it out. My first bite was the Hamachi. Wow. I don’t think I have tasted Hamachi so fresh outside of Tokyo. It literally melted in my mouth, it was spectacular and vastly exceeded my expectations. In all the years I have been eating at Nishino, I have never tasted a piece of Hamachi this fine.
Next up was the Torro (fatty tuna), which sticks our like a sore thumb on their menu. Most of their nigiri pieces are $4-5, but the Torro runs $10. My bite of Torro cannot be described as anything other than divine. I’ve only tried two pieces and I’m sold on Toyoda already.
Next came the Unagi, which was also a nicer cut than Nishino – it was wider and more moist, not as saturated in kabayaki sauce.
We also tried their Spicy Tuna Tempora roll; which is thinly sliced and comes in about 14 pcs in a heap on a plate. It was very good, but not spectacular. The arboretum roll at Nishino has it beat.
On the service side – I felt like it was almost a little too fast. I felt like we ate fast-food sushi really quick and didn’t having a lengthy dining experience. This was a negative for me.
So, where do I net out on Nishino vs. Toyoda?
Nishino is where I will go when I want a longer more intentional meal, to enjoy and savor more variety of dishes. Toyoda is where I will go when I’m just craving good sushi without the expense of special-occasion-ness that Nishno carries.