Address: 5506 22nd Ave NW Seattle (map)
Overall Rating: 7.9 / 10pts
Located next to the movie theater in Ballard, the inside of Sam's Sushi Bar & Grill feels more like a Chinese or Thai restaurant than Japanese restaurant. For the most part, this place is fairly quiet and even on weekends, it's not hard to get a table.
The sushi was priced a little higher than I had expected for a place in Ballard, but when I was served, I could see why. The fish was quite large though not as obscenely huge like at Musashi's in Wallingford. My two pieces of uni could've been made into four pieces at other places. The fish tasted fresh and excellent, but I have to be picky and say that the sushi was not made well. The rice tasted a little different than the normal sushi rice, and it was also packed too tight. When you take a bite of sushi made by a real trained sushi chef, the rice should easily fall apart in your mouth. It's a shame because when I first took a bite of their sushi, I tasted the fresh fish, and a second later, everything felt awkward. I did enjoy that they knew what was fresh and in season. Their recommended fish (at this time it was kampachi and uni) were definitely worth the Belltown-ish price.
For non sushi eaters, or for those only want to take try a couple of sushi, they have excellent bento box choices where you get to try variety of traditional Japanese food. Everything tastes good, but something about it tastes a little different from the ones you would get in Japan. I did however love the fact that they served Orion beer from Okinawa, which is hard to find here in Seattle.
Sushi comes out fast at this place, and so does everything else. The reason could be that this place is usually only half full, but for that reason, the service is pretty good.