By day, office workers pile in for the choose-your-own bento boxes, an absurdly good deal at just $13. By night, there’s a chill and cosmopolitan charm to this 20-year-old sushi restaurant, where chefs won’t deliver a lengthy origin story for each piece of nigiri, but will present you with pristine maki and nigiri at astoundingly reasonable prices (and maybe a fist bump if you’re a regular).
The term “best-kept secret” no longer applies to the bar area at this enduring izakaya, especially after legendary barman Murray Stenson did a turn here a few years back. But Kaname remains a reliable destination for drinks and a few fried snacks before a concert, after a game, or just for the hell of it.
This 115-year-old legend could easily coast on lore alone, from surviving war and internment to the motherly order imposed by longtime stewards Jean Nakayama and Fusae “Mom” Yokoyama. It’s the food, however, driving the inevitable wait for a table. Despite being the home of Seattle’s first sushi bar, Maneki’s soul resides in more comforting Japanese fare—the black cod collar, the beef sukiyaki, the savory broiled eel.
You could be fooled into believing that a signless restaurant on a quiet street in a nondescript building was your new little secret spot, until you pull open the orange door to find it packed with groups already waiting for their chance at Japanese favorites: expertly sliced sushi, fresh fish specials like, perhaps, black cod in a simple shio broth with vegetables. While its lunch hours are no more, the famous shoyu ramen thankfully lives on during Saturday brunch service.