Restaurant News: Downtown Edmonds now has a legit sushi place, plus Thanksgiving dining ideas

Chef Ryuichi Nakano (Nakano-San) sets out another plate of sushi. (Photos by James Spangler)

San Kai is now open for business. Edmonds can proudly count among its number a truly legit sushi restaurant downtown.

I imagined that I could see contentment in owner Ryuichi Nakano‘s face as he engaged in conversation with guests, guided his staff, and deftly prepared dinner orders early Thursday evening. Things seemed to be running very smoothly.

I knew it would be wise to arrive early since intensely curious diners from around Puget Sound are still swarming the place.

I commented on the size of his staff — for a 30-seat establishment, five servers and five kitchen staff seemed like a lot. “I’ll need every one of them once things get going tonight,” Nakano said. Sure enough, before we had finished devouring our share of sushi, the place had filled up nicely and I didn’t see a single set of idle hands among the staff.

The newly remodeled space is impressive. Tastefully appointed, clean and uncrowded, with traditional wallhangings and muted colors — combined with the low lighting, the effect is very attractive. It’s a pleasant place to take a meal.

A hefty slab of salmon sashimi.

Most of the tables were reserved when we arrived, but there was space at the bar and Nakano-san was manning the boards, so we settled in and started studying the menu. As each guest entered behind us, Nakano called out a traditional Japanese greeting.

I asked him how things have been going. “Great! No problems, no complaints.” Then, after a brief pause, “well, a few things here and there, but nothing bad really.“

That’s pretty impressive. What Nakano and his partners at Feedme Hospitality (Shubert Ho and Andrew Leckie of Salt and Iron, Bar Dojo and Mar·ket, Dojo ToGo and Shooby Doo Catering fame) have accomplished in a few short months is almost unheard of. It’s not unusual for new restaurant starts in Edmonds to take over a year to get their doors open. By contrast, San Kai was up and running in less than five months.

We dispensed with the formalities of edamame and miso and launched right into dinner with a double order of salmon sashimi — hefty slabs of premium-grade salmon so tasty we ordered it again. It’s easy to get a little carried away with sashimi.

Close up of the delicious Brackett’s Landing Roll.

Sankai has an authentic, traditional feel, but they’ve made a few local accommodations. On the menu, for instance, you’ll find the Edmonds Roll, the Seattle Roll, the San Kai Roll — there’s even the Brackett’s Landing Roll. We decided we needed to try each of these and threw in a Red Dragon Roll just for good measure. Interestingly enough, it was the Brackett’s Landing Roll that turned out to be our favorite. Comprised of yellowtail, scallion, avocado, flying fish roe, and topped with seaweed, its varied textures and flavor combinations were wonderful.

Be aware that San Kai has plenty of options available for those who aren’t particularly fond of raw fish. Tempuras, salads, soups, roasted fish and chicken, even sautéed geoduck grace the menu.

I think San Kai is terrific. But don’t take my word for it. Arrive early or get a reservation, but don’t miss out on one of Edmonds’ newest and best dining options.
111 4th Ave. N.

The dilemma, with Thanksgiving just around the corner:

Not everyone is excited at the prospect of putting together a Thanksgiving feast – but, most restaurants are closed on Thanksgiving.

Just where do you go if you don’t feel like cooking?

Here are a few suggestions:

190 Sunset
Serving a Thanksgiving buffet starting at 2 p.m. that will feature all of the traditional favorites plus 190 specialties. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. The restaurant also offers full turkey dinners to go for 10-12 guests. Call 425-329-3669 to order. Pickups available between noon and 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
190 Sunset Ave.

Claire’s Pantry
Reservations for parties of 4 or more highly recommended.
Turkey, Prime Rib and Salmon dinner specials available.
Thanksgiving hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
301 Main St.

Claim Jumper
Special Thanksgiving Menu available — open until 6 p.m.
Alderwood Mall
18725 33rd Ave. W.

Shari’s Café & Pies
Special Thanksgiving Menu available – open 24 hours
James Village

Scott’s Bar & Grill
Special Thanksgiving Menu available – open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
8115 Lake Ballinger Way

If you know of others in the area, I’d be  “thankful” if you add them in the comments below.

Also, if you’re deep frying your turkey, do it well away from the house. Several homes in the US burn to the ground each year due to accidents associated with deep frying turkey. Just sayin’.

James Spangler— By James Spangler

The furthest thing from a finicky eater, James Spangler insisted on trying everything on the table from the earliest age. At 13, he prepared Baked Alaska for an entire classroom and has had an insatiable appetite for good food ever since. He’d rather be in the kitchen cooking for the people he loves than doing just about anything.





  1. I wish your article didn’t assume people need to know what’s opened because they didn’t want to cook a Thanksgiving dinner. Some people don’t celebrate the holiday but have the time off and want to make the best of it by going out.

    1. I don’t think they assumed anything. It’s a shame we all have to choose our words to not offend others. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to cook. Some folks are alone and eat out for the holiday feelings. Some can physically do the cooking anymore. Many reasons and none are assuming anything negative. I don’t understand why you would feel the need to pick apart the wording in this article? It was good information and I learned a few things also. Remember to be Thankful, ‘‘tis the season.

  2. We dined there this past week and found it to be as Mr Spangler wrote, “legit sushi”. Truth be told, the food was wonderful. We enjoyed Tofu in Agedashi, fried geoduck with matsutake and shimeji mushrooms, Sashimi Assortment and the Great Pacific NW Roll which made for a nice balance, both in quantity and variety.

    The only caveat, service is still a work in process. Water glasses were never refilled and used plates not cleared while we waited for one shared dessert. I hope SanKai sees this as constructive criticism. We will return.

  3. McMinamins in Bothell is open for Thanksgiving dinner. A brunch in one restaurant and a turkey plate in another. Thank you for your wonderful reviews.

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