Every time I come to Seattle, I come to Japonessa, a sleek and cheerful downtown sushi restaurant with a twist. I am never disappointed, as Japonessa does a lot of things right.
No matter how busy the restaurant gets – and it gets plenty busy so be sure to make a reservation – I’ve always been greeted promptly and in a friendly way, and seated quickly. I’ve never waited long to be asked if I’d like to get things started off with a drink, and a follow-up food order follows soon thereafter. Which leads us to the food…
The food is an interesting mix of traditional Japanese sushi, sashimi, and some izakaya dishes (karaage, for example), as well as some dishes with a Mexican twist (thus, presumably, the restaurant’s full name: “Japonessa Sushi Cocina”). Unlike some restaurants’ Franken-hybrids, the savvy cooks at Japonessa have found a nice balance between the kick and boldness of Mexican and other Central/South American cuisine, and more traditional Japanese cuisine.
One successful Japa-Mex marriage was the ginger chicken with a crown of tortilla chips. There was the power of the ginger, the softness of the chicken, the smoothness of the sauce, and the crunchiness of the chips. The eel cucumber sushi was also lovely, offering a bold and initial jolt of flavour which melted away into a clean after-taste.
The cocktails were also lovely, and there is something for every palate and dish selection.
This is a solid restaurant with consistently good service, dishes, cocktails, and products. It’s also incredible value when you take advantage of their happy hour deals (which I shamelessly do without reservation). I know I’ll be back.