Over 100 Years – Maneki

My family isn’t exactly traditional, as my parents immigrated to the US in the 70s, we still celebrate Chinese New Year. This year, it was just my mom, my cousin, and me celebrating a Chinese holiday at a Japanese restaurant, which I find somewhat ironic as relationships between the two countries have always been tense.  However, this wasn’t just any Japanese restaurant – no, this restaurant has been in Seattle since 1904.  So they’re definitely doing something right at Maneki.I brought my camera this time, so prepare to wipe some drool off your keyboards.

monk fish liver sashimi

If you’ve never had raw fish liver – monk fish is the one to try. Creamy and delicate, no hint of iron or fishiness.

takoyaki

takoyaki – octopus balls as I like to refer to them. These were still cold in the middle and not cooked all the way though, so a little mushy. As hard as these are to find in Seattle, pass on this dish.

agedashi tofu

agedash tofu – a perennial favorite appetizer of mine. Sadly, this dish didn’t have the crunchy fried tofu skin, rather it was a little slimey. the broth it was sitting was excellent though.

 

chicken karage

chicken karege – japanese popcorn chicken as I refer to this as. Nice chunks of tender and juicy chicken, crispily fried. Alas, it needed some sort of seasoning to help round out the dish. Dunking it in the peanut miso salad dressing didn’t quite provide the flavor I was looking for.

Maneki - marinated black cod

marinated black cod – this is the dish that everyone raves about and says you must order. They are not wrong. Fleshy, moist black cod a sweet sauce packs a lot of fatty fishy flavor. Definitely would order this one again!

maneki - grilled squid

grilled squid – yep, that’s a whole grilled squid that’s been up cut on the plate. This is one is good – they cooked it perfectly so it wasn’t rubbery, seasoned it just enough.

maneki - beef hot pot

beef hot pot – it looks delicious, but it needs work. While the beef is thinly sliced and looks amazing in the picture, the broth is water based. By water based, I mean it’s just there to keep the ingrediants warm. You’re supposed to scoop out the meat and veggies and dip it in a separate vinegar sauce. Not what I had imagined for hot pot. If the vinegar sauce had been less acidic, it might have worked better. As it was, we took most of it home to add some dashi to the broth.

Maneki - marinated black cod

marinated black cod – this is the dish that everyone raves about and says you must order. They are not wrong. Fleshy, moist black cod a sweet sauce packs a lot of fatty fishy flavor. Definitely would order this one again!

Maneki - fried poppy cake green tea ice cream

tempura poppy cake green tea ice cream – this was a treat! Even though we were so full, I still convinced everyone to have this dessert. I love tempura ice cream, but when you use a poppy cake batter on the outside, it makes it all the more special. Does poppy seed cake really go with the flavor profile of green tea? Well, there could be better matched cakes, but I’m not going to be picky about this because no one else does it and it’s worth a try! I will warn you about the pink whip cream in the middle – I think it’s whip cream and I also think ours had gone bad and tasted like oil, though the table next to ours was happily eating it with their ice cream…

They did a great job with their fish, but some of their appetizers missed the mark.  They’re pretty busy and understaffed, so expect to wait for service and for a table unless you have reservations. I’ll have the black cod and try the sushi next time.  Overall, I’m glad we got to try so many different plates for a very reasonable price and I think they’ll be around for a while so you can make your way to Maneki’s to give them a try as well.

SUMMARY
Overall: ever after
Highlights: grilled fishes (mackeral, cod), grilled squid
Footnotes: reasonably priced, make reservations, watch out for the whip cream on desserts
Maneki Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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