Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Dinner @ Nishino

To celebrate Valentine's Day this year, we thought we'd be returning to Luau Polynesian Lounge... but it closed last month. So we thought we'd go to Trader Vic's in Bellevue instead... but it closed, too. For a minute, I considered whether we should be ridiculous and fly down to San Francisco to go to the Tonga Room for the night, but it would be a little too ridiculous, so we'll have to save that for a weekend when we're not already booked up.

So instead, Dan & I grabbed a drink at the Rainforest Cafe, did a little shopping at Westfield Mall (aka Southcenter), and then headed back to Seattle for an Omakase dinner at Nishino.

The meal started with a trio of hors d'oeuvres, including salmon with shiso leaf, oyster with ginger, and sweet shrimp with caviar.

This was followed by a green bean and fish salad with lotus root chip.

Then lobster with orange aioli that was so delicious it made me enjoy lobster again.

Next was three sushi rolls featuring different types and preparations of tuna.

For our entree course, we were given a number of choices at the start of the meal, and I chose the Lamb Chops...

...While Dan went for the Beef Tenderloin. We of course shared, and both dishes were cooked perfectly and paired with rich but not overpowering sauces. My lamb was paired with a taro pancake and greens, while Dan had roasted potatoes and asparagus.

We were also given choices for dessert, but neither of us could resist chocolate truffle ice cream with a tempura preparation and raspberry sauce. Mine got a little melty thanks to taking the time to photograph it, but that didn't take away from the experience. It was rich, but not too heavy - as the tempura batter was thin and light.

This was our first experience at Nishino, and it was wonderful. The service was great, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was upscale but comfortable. And even the other patrons were friendly... as the folks seated next to us arrived just as we received our entrees - so they were choosing what to get, and politely asked us about our dishes. I was reminded that those brief moments of connection between strangers when sharing an experience can be so powerful and bring so much joy. Perfect on Valentine's Day.

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