Matsu brings sushi to Pioneer Square in the former location of Girin. It’s owned by the same team behind Umi Sake House and Momiji. My Seattle Foodie Podcast co-host Nelson Lau and I were invited to a tasting organized by our friend Tony.
Pomegranate Lime Mocktail
My pet peeve is when I’m at a restaurant and ask for a non-alcoholic beverage and they offer me soda, coffee, tea, or juice. I’m a grown woman and honestly, restaurants need to up their mocktail game. Although Matsu does not have a non-spirited menu, we were offered two non-alcoholic drinks. That’s what I’m talking about!!! I had the pomegranate lime drink that was refreshing and perfect for the hot day. The refreshing drink put me at ease and cooled me off.
This dish was a beautiful treasure hunt! It was full of mixed seafood so each bite was a surprise. It had fresh elements like red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro to both brighten it visually and balance the flavors. The jalapeno citrus sauce added a bit of a kick without being overwhelming.
Cajun Tuna Tataki
You had me at “wasabi” cause I like it hot!!! The tuna is lightly seared on the outside and raw on the inside. It’s topped with microgreens, green onion, and crispy fried onion with a mix of garlic ponzu. Wasabi is a distinctive flavor that wakes me up a bit. Overuse can be unpleasant but the proportions were on point here. The mild, soft tuna melted in my mouth. Yum!
I’m not always a fan of raw salmon but I liked the preparation of this dish. The salmon was seared and the pico de gallo kept things interesting. The microgreens were light but a bit spicy. The salmon roe was larger than I prefer but added bright colors and a “pop.” The miso mustard sauce was a good choice for this dish.
The KFC Wings are a carryover from Girin’s menu and I’m not mad. It was one of my favorite dishes at the restaurant. The simplicity of a well-cooked wing paired with the right sauce can be life changing. The spicy honey glaze speaks my love language. You know it’s a good wing when you need a wet nap and still have to wash your hands!
Baby Back Ribs
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this dish but the spicy chili glaze was tasty. It was sticky, spicy, and sweet – all things that I love! It’s braised in Sapporo and while it could use a little work, there’s potential for this to become a fan favorite.
I’m a HUGE fan of fried sushi rice and have been known to eat an entire serving of it myself. It was fried crisp and I had the spicy tuna tartare (you can get spicy salmon tartare). It’s finished with ginger-jalapeno salsa. Overall, this was very good but I could use a tad bit more ginger for some kick. Yum!
Omakase – Chef’s Choice
This platter was exquisite! It was beautiful and and full of a wide variety of seafood. It had something for everyone so we didn’t have to fight. Instead, we negotiated the pieces. Tony’s original proposal was that we would all get to lick the uni. Not being a fan of that strategy, I relinquished my claim and let others enjoy that one. Just look at everything on here!
Traditional buckwheat noodles are a pleasure to eat. This soup had king crab, shrimp, clams, shrimp tempura, chicken, kamaboko, egg, and vegetables. We all got to try this one and even on a warm day, we ate the whole pot! There’s so much comfort in a bowl of noodle soup.
White Tiger Roll
Spicy yellowtail, cucumber, and asparagus topped with white king salmon, lime, tobiko, and yuzu citrus ponzu
King crab, shibazuke, cilantro, and cucumber topped with sockeye salmon, black tobiko, scallion, and yuzu miso citrus
Chopped fatty tuna, shiso, cucumber, and takuan topped with bluefin tuna, black tobiko, and miso mustard sauce
I miss Girin but they saved my favorite dish – KFC Wings. It’s nice to have something from the past as Matsu moves toward the future. The space hasn’t changed much so you’ll find familiar seating and decor. I had a great time experiencing the food and spending time with friends. The seafood at Matsu is plentiful! I like that a lot of the dishes have a bit of spice (some more than others) since I’m not a fan of bland food. It’s a good location in a highly walkable area. Thank you Matsu and Tony for a great meal!