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Wataru, Feb 2024


It has been quite a while since the last time I visit Wataru. This is my second visit. And surprisingly, it's Chinese new year eve. I didn't plan this when reserve the spots, so it's a little surprise.

Comparing with the last visit, Chef Kotaro Kumita controls rice temperature and texture better, uses more expensive ingredients, and most importantly, Chef keeps innovating, the combination of sake marinated monk fish liver with fig jelly is amazing, and chef added kelp to saba/shiso piece, adding extra flavor and texture which is subtle but interesting.

Wataru is my top 1 sushi restaurant in Seattle.

(Other than the sushi made by Shiro Kashiba, but it is hard to get sushi made by the master himself.)

starter platter

I like the eggplant and daikon, they are put together to show the conflicts: eggplant is light in flavor while daikon has ton of umami; eggplant is soft while daikon preserves its texture. You can feel the teeth cuts the daikon to gain enjoyment.

meji, 小鲑

Sakura masu, 樱鳟

Chef Kotaro's masu is best across all sushi restaurants. Because it's thick cut and soft enough, it's sweet and provides a taste of both creamy and chewy.

Bluefin tuna Akami, 蓝鳍金枪赤身

Chutoro, 中脂

Firefly squid, 萤火鱿

This is the second week in the year that people can catch firefly squid. I love it - my first firefly squid experience was with Chef Shiro Kashiba. He told me, "keep chewing, the flavor changes if you keeps chewing". It might be a bit too early to eat firefly squid, these ones in Wataru are not falvorful enough. It might be better waiting for several more weeks to eat firefly squids.

Albacore, 长鳍金枪/白金枪

Shima Aji, 缟鲹/大竹荚

My favorite piece of the day. Chef Kotaro's Aji is the best across ALL restaurants.

King makarel and bonito , 大耳马鲛和鲣鱼

Chef Kotaro searing the black cod

Seared black cod, 黑鳕鱼

I like all seared pieces, searing turns 1 texture directly into 2 and add flavors.

Monk fish liver with fig jelly, 鮟鱇鱼肝配无花果

Another favorite of the day. The Monk fish liver is pre-processed perfectly removing all fishy smell, and liver plus fig flavor is surprisingly in harmony. When Chef cutting the super big liver, I was doubting whether I can finish all, as liver is usually strong in fishy smell. But turned our I want even more of this.

Scallop with yuzu, 扇贝与日本柚子

Abalone and abalone liver sauce, 鲍鱼佐鲍鱼肝酱

This is Chef's favorite piece. I can tell it is already the best abalone sushi I've ever had, but to be honest, abalone's flavor is too strong for me, though with unbeatable crunchy texture.

Buri, 鰤鱼

Amazing, melt in mouth.

Snow crab, 雪蟹

Chef opens the box used for fish smoking

Chef opens box and applewood smoke with fragrant aroma slowly fills the small dining room making the room warm.

Applewood smoked Maidai/Red Snapper, 苹果木熏红鲷

Otoro seared the back side, 大脂背面短时喷枪炙烤

Another favorite of the day, otoro is fat but searing mitigated it a bit. In addition, the way how Chef cuts it improves the texture - making it not like eating a whole piece of fat, instead, with the seared side and tender side twisting together, rich, fluid, changing texture is formed with chewing.

Saba with Shiso and Kelp, 沙巴配紫苏和海带

Chef successfully removed the strong fishy smell of saba, using shiso and marination. The kelp adds additional subtle flavor and texture.

Anago and shitake mushroom rice, 海鳗配蘑菇饭

Anago is marinated using sake according to the Chef. I don't really like this piece, anago losed its favor and was a bit too sweet.

Green uni, roe, and rice, 青海胆鱼籽饭

Simply good, delicious, and satisfying as Chef put a lot of uni, roe, and rice in it. Love it.

Tamago with black sugar and Matcha, 蛋卷配黑糖与抹茶粉

It is much better than the last visit, not super waterly but still a bit.

The sushi amount is actually a bit fewer than before, but still large amount of food, and overall this is a great Omakase experience, really enjoyed it.

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