Mashiko Serves Up Sustainable Sushi in Seattle

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Sometimes, I daydream about dinner at Mashiko. Okay, I daydream about dinner at Mashiko a lot.

Mashiko is Seattle’s best sushi place. Lucky for me, it’s right up the street in the heart of the West Seattle Junction.

Nigiri sushi selection at Mashiko

Seattle has darn good sushi. Mashiko should have some stiff competition. In some ways, it does. For cheap sushi that is great quality, head to Musashi’s in Wallingford, You’ll probably have to wait outside awhile for a table, so dress for the weather and bring cash–that’s all they take.  Musashi’s rolls and sashimi are basic but good, and best of all, cheap. A little higher in cost and with more ambiance is Kisaku in nearby Greenlake / Tangletown. You have to have reservations there to get in. I’m not big on advanced planning for dinner, so I have never eaten there. Many friends count Kisaku among their north end faves, so it must be good.

But for me, it’s just Mashiko. Over and over and over again.

For starters, their sushi and plethora of inventive dishes (izakaya, people!) are amazing, original and delicious. Their dining room ambiance is nice, too, with a lively sushi bar, good mood lighting and an enormous saltwater fish tank. Mashiko’s servers know their stuff–I always ask for their recommendations on the fresh sheet. Perhaps they know their stuff a little too well – I was once sternly corrected on my mis-pronunciation of nigiri (ouch!)

Mashiko recommends reservations, and on weekend nights they’re a very good idea. If you forget and want your Mashiko anyway, leave you cell number with the hostess and go have a drink up the street at West 5 – they’ll call you when your table is ready.

On our last date night at Mashiko, we went for the Omakase for two. It’s like the Don’t Make Me Think! for sushi lovers. Sit back, relax, and the chef will hook you up–dish after dish after dish. At $50-$60 for two, Omakase let’s you sample a bunch of dishes from the sushi bar and kitchen. And at six courses (two appetizers from the sushi bar, an assortment of sushi, two kitchen creations, and one dessert to share) you’re going to leave very satiated. Also, our meal took a good two hours to enjoy, and this was just perfect for our leisurely date night away from bouncing toddler boy.

We ordered a beer (Orion) and glass of sake each, then got right to it. First up, oysters poached in sake, served in a delicious broth with red onions and watercress. This was followed by Mashiko’s incredible poke of the day–tender chunks of yellowtail tuna in a seaweed salad tossed with some sesame oil and garlic and topped with crushed macadamia nuts. Yep, both tasted as amazing as they sound.

oysters and poke

Next up was a beautiful plateful of nigiri sushi, pictured at top. Every dish at Mashiko is beautifully presented. But there’s something else that totally sets Mashiko apart–it’s Seattle’s only fully-sustainable sushi place. If you don’t know much about sustainable fisheries, this might not mean much to you. But if you’re an avid sushi fan and happen to care about where your fish comes from or want to be sure you’re not eating a species that is over-fished, you might find yourself facing a dilemma in most sushi joints. Not so at Mashiko.

The man behind Mashiko is Sushi Chef Hajime. He’s got a thing for promoting sustainable seafood, so you can comfortably leave your seafood wallet card at home. That means that when Hajime buys his fish, he considers important factors like traceability, fish populations, fishing methods, and farming practices.

Guilt-free nigiri. Deeelicious.

Next up were the creations from the kitchen, served one at a time: a perfect and salty grilled saba (mackerel) on a bed of greens, and a steaming bowl of clams sakamushi (steamed with butter and sake). I was bursting at the seams. But there was dessert still– a crunchy-topped jasmine creme brulee. I was so full I thought, I’ll just have a bite. And I was so wrong. It’s an unbelievable dessert-I was practically licking the bowl to get every last bit of this stuff.

Until our next date night… I will be daydreaming about dinner at Mashiko.

saba and jasmine creme brulee


If You Go (and you will)

Info:| 206.935.4339 (call for reservations)
Hours: Sun – Thurs: 5:03pm-9:00pm, Fri & Sat: 5:03pm-10:00pm
Preview the menu (changes often). Drool all over these photos of Mashiko dishes. Learn more about sustainable sushi.


Lauren Braden’s new book, 52 Ways to Nature, Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year, is now available for pre-order
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One Response

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Our top recommendation and the insane deal on the menu is the Bara Chirashi Bowl. It’s basically little bits of all the good stuff in a bowl of sushi rice tossed with sesame seeds and tiny roe. It’s around the $13-$16 range (can’t remember) Not as pretty as some of the more expensive dishes but a fabulous way to try lots of fish, and very shareable.

    Also try their burger joint in Georgetown, Katsu Burger. So crazy good!

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