Address: 2230 1st Ave Seattle (map)
Overall Rating: 8.6 / 10pts
Located on the 1st Avenue of Belltown district, this fairly new sushi place is decorated nice and has a stylish interior. Atmosphere wise, it's a good place to take your date. This place has an excellent happy hour (even on weekends), so it gets quite packed during those hours. I like the bathroom doors since it doesn't even look like a door, and reminds me of a ninja house.
They have excellent daily menu where they offer the freshest fish that is not on the regular menu. One time when I went, they had kinmedai and warasa, which were flown directly from Japan. They were excellent along with aji, which was also on the daily menu. You can order sushi individually as opposed to in pairs, but be wanred that they are a bit pricey ($4 to $6 for one piece). These specially flown fish tastes excellent, however, they need to invest more money on the sushi chef (and possibly a rice cooker). The rice is a bit too moist and packed a little too tight. As I watched the sushi chef, who didn't look Japanese or any other Asian ethnicity, I got the impression that they weren't that into sushi. But at the same time, most of the customers didn't seem to care much for the sushi. I will have to add that they have an excellent happy hour sushi set. For $5, you can get tuna, salmon, yellowtail and albacore nigiri. I haven't seen any better deal than that.
Everything here is decent, but they are just overpriced. On the menu, they sound fancy and when they come out on the table, they look fancy. Their happy hour deal is excellent and has decent selections including tempura. The scallop dish was excellent, but agedashi tofu didn't have as much dashi flavor as I would have liked. But they have excellent selection of sake menu. Maybe that's what they are focused on more than sushi since the restaurant name is Umi Sake House, insead of sushi house. The only problem with their wide selections is that most of the sake needs to purchased by a bottle, so unless you are there with groups of friends that enjoy sake, you are stuck with about a dozen selection (which is still not bad). One time I tried their red rice sake, which had a tint of red (that looked like rosa wine), and tasted a bit like red wine.
The wait staffs seemed to be more knowledgeable about the sake selection than the sushi selection, but compared to most American owned sushi restaurants, I have to give the staff credit for knowing more than not knowing. Overall, the service is good. Your water is filled all the time. Since there are usually only one or two bar tenders, your drink order can take a bit of time.