My absolute favorite in Seattle. Happy hour (almost) all the time! I stick to the happy hour menu as it's more traditional stuff and you can't beat the price. The fish is fresh, tender, and flavorful, the rolls expertly rolled (no falling apart here) and of a reasonable size. The non-roll options are interesting and tasty as well, the $1 house salad and the tofu are favorites (and I usually won't approach tofu presented this way). The one item I have had from the regular menu was good, but I think a little more complicated than I was looking for at the time. Staff has always been great, conversational when slow, still efficient when slammed.
Citysearch Editorial Review. Before Japonessa, chef Billy Beach was the name behind the colorful, boldy flavored Americanized sushi rolls at Belltown’s Umi Sake House, and the pork belly and gizzard skewers at nearby Kushibar. Now, he brings his talents for creating traditional Japanese dishes with a western flair to Japonessa. This sleek new restaurant offers a veritable culinary circus: everything from raw bar (octopus carpaccio with mustard soy and roasted tomato vinaigrette, anyone?) to cooked items (tempura brie with raspberry sauce, alongside more recognizable dishes like agedashi tofu), sashimi trios that feature a Japanese, American, and Spanish preparation of the same ingredient, and a lengthy list of Beach’s famous American sushi rolls, some stuffed with fried softshell crab, and drizzled with truffle oil. A restaurant in Belltown wouldn’t succeed without a well-chosen bevy list, and Japonessa delivers with a roster of cocktails, including the Sweet Devil with chile-infused tequila, Cointreau, citrus, and molé bitters. (Not your speed? Rest assured there’s sake, beer, and wine to be had, too.) With muted grey walls, plenty of bar seating, and a clientele that’s as fresh and fun as the food, no wonder this is one of the busiest restaurants in the downtown core.
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