The foodification of Pioneer Square now includes a quick-casual sushi joint. The 24-seat Gaba Sushi softly opened December 20 at 220 First Avenue South. Behind it are Mary Chiu, Phil Sinz, and chef Billy Beach, the Japonessa (and formerly Umi and Kushibar) raw fish overlord who's also busy these days with Diablo Food Truckz.
"Pioneer Square doesn't have sushi," says Chiu of the decision to open there. "We thought it was a good idea to put a modern restaurant in the heart of the neighborhood."
Theirs is one of, if not the, first in Seattle to use GABA rice, a sprouted brown rice rich in amino acid. The preparation is said to yield substantial nutritional benefits while maintaining the texture of white rice (which can also be ordered). GABA is the fastest-growing rice product in Japan right now, according to Chiu. Will it become a big health craze here in the States? Probably, she predicts.
Rolls are affordable—the entire menu runs under $10—but don't fall victim to cheap-sushi pitfalls. To wit: The crab is not imitation. For those bored with wasabi and soy sauce, orders can be dressed up with nine kinds of unique relishes.
The possibility of opening more locations has been floated but until that happens Gaba Sushi is open weekdays 11–3.