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May 2007
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South Center Sushi? Consider Miyabi

Img_3542 I accept the existence of strip malls with a certain je ne sais quoi attitude mostly because I avoid them like the plague. Double that sentiment when these commercial stretches of dysentery are peppered with anemic eating establishments for the weary shopper & family-friendly barganzas ala Olive Garden or "Red Lob-stah" (as pronounced in my native east coast tongue...)

So while Tukwila has Bahama Breeze for those of you that crave Calypso Shrimp Linguine after power-shopping at Nordstrom's, I have a useful tip for south-end foodies who don't want to head back downtown for sushi after work--Miyabi's can hit the spot, albeit on a good night. Img_3539 The prices have apparently gone up & the decor has changed since a change of ownership (this I deduced after reading one gripe from one Japanese blogger), but the new design of dark wood with appetite-inducing warm colors & soft lighting enticed me to return on a drizzly night in May...  I'm all about great hole-in-the-wall finds, but when the weather is crappy & so is my mood, a little creature comfort in a dining experience goes a long way.

Img_3552 After watching Anthony Bourdain's adventures in Japan, I'm hoping to find a izakaya to make takoyaki on the spot here in the Seattle surrounding area, as it would doubly increase the joy of deep-fried octopus doughnut deliciousness to form & fry these savory sea biscuits yourself. Until then, Miyabi delivers a tender fritter--chewy, salty & sauced, with a tempura levity that almost leaves you less guilty for ordering fried food.

Img_3546 With thoughtful decor & decent prices at a relatively close proximity to Skyway, Miyabi might be the best Japanese option for us South-enders, but it's no Kisaku. Comparisons aside, my first visit left me pleasantly surprised & sated--a second dining experience had me seething with a short staff & such uneven service that I felt we could have left without paying & no one would have noticed. That's baaaad. Now I know why paid reviewers go back for at least a couple of visits before making judgments.

Okay, so I get bugged out when Citysearch reviewers pan a restaurant based solely on a hostess. Have pity on the kitchen, which has nothing to do with the quality of the food, & that I do say comes from marrying a chef. Img_3555

The Blazing Godzilla Roll ($10.99) is piled high with eel & fiery sauce deserving of its name--a gigantic brother to the spicy tuna roll with glistening sauce & red roe. A little gloppy for the purist, but I quite enjoyed the heat factor & ordered it on both visits.

The Geisha wrap ($5.50)is Godzilla's yin partner, a baked crab salad, blanched asparagus & flying fish roe rolled in soybean paper ($5.50). Img_3556Subtle & refreshing, this was the perfect emblem of Spring on a misty evening, but admittedly, doesn't hold a candle to Kisaku's delectable house roll which invites fresh crab & scallops into the fold. Oh, I wish we could afford to live near Greenlake, but then again I get sent to Spain to taste wine. Pobracita! I'll take my job over sitting behind a desk all day even if it does mean retail wages. Img_3559

The creamy scallop roll ($5.50) was a petite mix of raw scallop & mayo with some julienned cuke. Again, a really clean palate cleanser to balance out its spicier counterpart. The description included flying fish roe but I'd need a magnifying glass or a time machine to see if that was true. Doesn't look like it, but all the better for Ken since he detests little beads of fish eggs popping in his mouth--this may be one of the rare situations where he is a more finicky diner than I! 

As for the spider roll ($8.75), c'mon it's hard to go wrong with tempura battered soft shell crab. On our last visit I complained that it was perhaps less crisp than I would have liked, but Ken noted that while it might have cooled upon delivery it was toasty when delivered to our table. For that I blame the Godzilla roll because I went straight for the saucy broiled eel...

Would I go back on a Tuesday? Surely. Would I choose this place to relax & take a break from the kitchen on a Friday night? With great hesitation. A recent rise in my blood pressure has caused me to think twice about soy sauce or dining in places that stress me out. The Japanese are some of the healthiest people in the world, but the Greeks are at the top. What would it take to get some decent souvlaki or gyros in Renton? I'm waiting for you entrepreneurs to make your next move--the southie's want you!

Img_3550Miyabi: 16820 Southcenter Pkwy
            Tukwila, WA

The Eagle Has Landed! The Odegards, That Is...

San_jaun_fire As much as I have been wanting to post a review about southend Seattle sushi, talk Spanish wine, or maybe blog our latest trip to Whidbey Island, I couldn't bring myself to do so... Not until Tom & Connie had made it out of the woods--or back to the woods of San Juan Island that is!

Whether you believe in miracles, the power of  the human spirit, prayer & positive thought combined with modern medicine, I'm not sure what happened but it happened. Tom & Connie Odegard are not only alive, but amazingly strong--Tom walked with me for almost an hour on the lushly green part of our Cedar River Trail--Connie managed to navigate her way via walker to the (apologetically *colorful* yet comic) SeaTac hotel room we booked with impressive speed.

So with hopes that they won't be suffocated by well-wishers, we welcome the news that T & C are home and on the mend. With much physical therapy in store for Connie & big life adjustments for Tom, it's a long road ahead... Thankfully they have great support from the San Juan Island Fire Department who are throwing a benefit wine-tasting in their honor this next weekend, Saturday, June 9th at the Lakedale Resort from 4 pm -6 pm. Taste wine from local producers such as San Juan Vineyards to the far reaches of Naches & Yakima. Wish I could be there!

To all of you expressed your emotions after the accident, thank you. The web has proved to be one of the greatest examples of synergy that I could imagine... Here's to all our future adventures & connectivity!

Muchas Gracias, Catarina