It was the first day of the Chinese New Year, a Friday, and my best friend P-Dog had just got a promotion from Amazon. Congrats bud. P-Dog also happened to owe me a meal for taking care of his cats for 8 days, so it seemed like a perfect day for a Shiro’s run.
What’s Shiro’s you ask? Well, it’s the best place to get sushi in Seattle, a town known for its seafood. That’s the short answer.
Before some food-nerd chirps me about how Shiro’s is no longer owned by Shiro Kashiba, and how Shiro has a new place called Sushi Kashiba, I know all that. I have been to Sushi Kashiba on multiple occasions. I have had Shiro as my chef at both restaurants. Even with the namesake Shiro out of the picture, Shiro’s is still the top dog in the sushi game.
Sushi Kashiba looks swankier on the inside, the wait staff is whiter, and the bill will be higher, the line to get into the bar might even be a little longer. The Omakase experience, which is all I care about, is not better. The Shiro’s Omakase takes the cake.
How we do our Shiro’s. Things to expect.
- Get in line early for the bar. Sometimes an hour early if you need to get seated at the first seating. P-Dog and I want to be first in line because we want very specific seats at the bar. There are about 13 seats at an L-shaped sushi bar. Think 3 seats and 10 seats make up the L. We want to be on the 3 seat part of the L because those seats give you a peek behind the scenes and you a certain to be served by the Head Chef. Monday-Friday the Head Chef is a white guy from Hawaii named Aaron. Do not be worried about a white sushi chef, Aaron knows what he’s about. He spent many years in Japan honing his craft.
- He is a culinary all-star.If they try to deny you your rightful seat by the Head Chef because it’s a new host who doesn’t recognize you, insist until you get your way. It didn’t take much insisting, I took one look at Aaron and he made sure we were in our proper place.Omakase is what you order at the bar. It means chef’s choice and they feed you until you are full, while minding any allergies or things you know you dislike. If you want to look like a jerk sit at the bar and don’t order Omakase. Sushi snobs like P-Dog and I will silently mock you. Usually, we say no abalone because it’s not great, and I don’t like cuttlefish but it’s rarely on the menu.
- Sitting at the bar, unless you are in a big group, you interact a lot with the people around you. This is the wildcard of sushi culture because you get all kinds of people. You get the people who know nothing about sushi…these people can be bad or really awesome because you get to witness someone’s eye’s being opened to something amazing. Then you get the sushi know-it-all-know-nothing. This is the fucking idiot who tries to impress with his order at the bar, not realizing you sit at the bar not to order. If this guy does order Omakase he’s still trying to order shit during the meal. “Like do you guys have Uni, let me get some Uni” Dude just shut the fuck up and the chef will give you Uni when he decides it’s time. They serve these fish in an order for a reason! You get lots of cool normal people, people on business, on dates, lots of special occasions. Then you get weirdos.
- We had a weirdo in earshot last night. Youngish looking, extremely softspoken, would not shut up. He had a tendency to say the most obvious thing ever or just relate anything back to something he once did. Worse He was the most beta of beta males I’ve ever seen.
- I barely ate all day, and I feel like I could eat the entire ocean by the time we sit down. A-Train recommends bring your appetite or you will bow out of the meal before you meet all the sea creatures.
Final Tip: If you do become a Omakase regular, make sure to visit at different times of the year, fish are seasonal, my personal favorite time of year for Shiro’s is the fall.
Let the feast begin!
Usually, I never take pictures of my sushi unless it’s something crazy I’ve never had, but Friday night I wanted to make a close friend jealous so I pretty much live-tweeted him the entire meal.
It’s somewhere around here that I text P-Dog my hypothesis, soft-spoken weirdo has a micro-penis.
The shrimp is sweet and delicious, scallop doesn’t disappoint either.
Pat yourself on the back if you get the reference to Se7en.
A polarizing piece of Nigiri, Uni is always a highlight for P-Dog and me.
At this point, P-Dog and I are texting back and forth what we can’t say out loud regularly. I can’t stop making fun of the weirdo. It’s like Dustin Hoffman from the Rainman is a little less autistic and a lot more into sushi. He won’t stop talking. It’s getting out of hand.
The weirdo now exclaims how he “smelled some marijuana” when the front door opened, so not only does he have a micropeen, he’s also a narc. P-Dog almost spit-takes at the text.
Weido informs us that the Manatee is also called a Sea-Cow. I honestly want to know what else I learned by the 4th grade he wants to teach us.
The Weirdo’s friend is mercifully forming a bit of a buffer zone, but to be honest he’s making the meal more fun now, not less.
These pieces melt in your mouth, even the lean. The Otoro is straight up butter.
This meal is starting to have that epic feel to it.
Weirdo has had fois gras, but not of the sea. He’s been telling us a lot of things he’s had before. Thing’s he’s never had? A moment of silence.
You can’t bow out of an omakase meal until AFTER you get this piece.
The weird-guy has never had an oyster. He also doen’t like them?
At this point, the only fish we have left to try is the Eel which is served at the end, so this is the “revisit” section where you go back to pieces you need again.
They call it a hand roll because you want to eat it the second it’s handed to you. (Before the seaweed paper had a chance to lose its crunch.) I had to snap this picture as quickly as possible. Also if you see premade handrolls you now know to avoid them.
For the first time in the almost 10 years of coming to this place, I had the forethought to order double eel for P-Dog and myself. The Eel course is always after the revisit section but is worth a revisit of its own.
Final Piece Not Pictured: Tamago – Sweet Egg.
I forgot to take a pic of the sweet egg but if you can picture a yellowish rectangle, you are pretty much looking at tamago.
- I did a google image search and all the picture of tamago were basically what you would see at a lower tier restaurant, this is not the professional stuff. Then I googled “Tamago Jiro” in reference to the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi I was lucky to find this, an almost carbon copy of the same dish at Shiro’s. Shiro Kashiba was an apprentice for Jiro back in Japan.
That’s All Folks! If you come to Seattle and like sushi, hit up Shiro’s in Belltown. I give it my stamp of ultimate approval. Someday I’d like to make enough money to eat here all the time, not three times a year if I’m lucky.
I leave you with this little video, it gives you an idea of the L shaped bar I was talking about and you can see Chef Aaron doing his thing.