It might be hard for Japanese Gourmet Restaurant’s patrons to eat the food—the dishes are so artfully presented, it feels sinful to deconstruct them. Colorful swatches of roe cap each piece of a rainbow roll, and a seared scallop thatched with herbs balances atop a cylinder of rice. The chirashi bowl resembles a bouquet: pink petals of sashimi bloom beside a spray of cucumber slices, and a dollop of wasabi is shaped and scored to look like a leaf. The thoughtful presentation of the food is in spirit with a larger mission—as a member of the Pike Place community for nearly 20 years, the restaurant has developed a habit of giving back through charitable donations to local nonprofits such as Low Income Housing Institute and Kin On Health Care Center.
Aloha Ramen owners Lorenzo and Reiko Rangel were inspired to open their restaurant after moving to Seattle from Honolulu and noting the lack of ramen-centric eateries, according to an article by The Seattle Times. In lieu of maintaining a lengthy menu of dishes, the restaurant's cooks put nearly all their attention into the traditional noodle dish, which features fresh broth, roasted meats, and garnishes such as bamboo shoots. And similar to the ramen stands of Japan, the tables inside Aloha Ramen bear all the tools and ingredients needed to enjoy a meal, such as ramen pepper and bundles of chopsticks, which are necessary both for eating noodles and for building a protective fort around your pot stickers
Dashi: a fish stock or broth used in Japanese cuisine that’s typically made with dried kelp and bonito flakes.
Karaage: a Japanese technique in which chicken (or meat or fish) is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, coated in flour or starch, then deep-fried.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Catch an indie flick at Grand Illusion Cinema (1405 NE 50th Street).
After: Walk off your meal and learn about dinosaurs at the same time with a visit to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street).
Ramen is an important dish in Japan—the country boasts more than 40,000 ramen shops. And each region boasts its own unique style of the soupy noodles, which makes for more than two dozen regional varieties. The owners of Samurai Noodle took their cue from their Japanese counterparts, packing their menu with 12 types of ramen, including the less soupy dipping ramen. A range of broth options—including miso chicken, chili green onion, and tomato—cradle helpings of noodles, be they thick egg noodles or thin wheat noodles. The chefs take customization one step further, letting customers specify their preferred noodle firmness. Additional toppings for the soup creations include chili sauce, black mushrooms, and eggs.
The show is just arm’s length away from diners at Benihana, who watch as outfitted chefs slice and sear their dinner, teppanyaki-style, on a big flat grill in the center of each table. Beyond the visual feast, Benihana’s menu includes everything from steaks and seafood to chicken and unique sides like the Onion Volcano, Flying Shrimp, and the famous fried rice. Showman chefs talk up a storm, cracking jokes, flipping food through the air and showcasing plenty of skilled handiwork, all before serving the hot entrées straight from the grill. Fun business lunches or daytime excursions out with the family are also perfect at Benihana, which features the same visual spectacle during the day, as well as an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.