Suika means watermelon in Japanese.
I was excited to visit this restaurant since there were far and few Japanese Izakaya in Seattle.
The Seattle Suika is part of a larger chain from Vancouver BC.
We easily missed the store front in Capitol Hill as there was no overhead sign, just a tiny sign to the side of a single-door main entrance.
A smile immediately floated to my face when I entered — a wall of old game cassettes!
Decorations in the place was fun, and I was told that they deliberately designed to have little things everywhere so that our eyes had something to looked at all around.
I started off with a frozen sake sangria.
It was a unique drink: clean, dry sake at the bottom, with frozen, slightly sweet sangria on top, dressed with tropical fruits that was used to make the sangria; not a sweet drink at all, and it complimented our food fairly well.
Suika has an extensive drink list of wines, beers, sakes, shochu and cocktails; on the contrary, the food menu was smaller than I thought, with a fresh sheet for specials of the day.
Grilled chicken skin was on the menu and we immediately ordered, and could not believe that they sold out of it by 6pm (restaurant opened at 5pm); and there was not that many people at the restaurant.
The salmon was very fresh, and the fantastic miso dressing was creamy, strong and sweet.
However, the sauce completely overpowered the salmon — too much of a good thing.
Next on my list, fried tako.
Unfortunately, the outer coating was not crisp, on the soggy side.
Not sure if that was intentional; it was unexpected for me.
The saba was of good quality, and sushi rice was great as well; yet it was decorated with a good dose of unagi sauce.
After my first bite, I felt like turning into an anime character, overly dramatizing my desperateness with twitchy hands and columns of tears running down my face, yelling out “WHY!!!????”
Mackerel characters were gone, I could only taste the unagi sauce.
It was always a textural fun ride eating grilled mochi — perfectly grilled with crispy dry surface and gooey, stringy, chewy inside.
The ma po sauce on top was spicy, vinegary, salted perfectly with tender ground pork, tasted authentically like ma po tofu “sin” tofu.
A bald sauce on top of a bland canvas with texture play, it was one simple and exciting dish.
It was a braised oxtail ramen and the soup was ultra yum.
Broth was spicy with deep meat flavor unmistakably from beef.
Ramen itself had wonderful bouncy texture and cooked al dante.
No beef was served with the noodle bowl, instead, with ground pork that looked and tasted the same as the ma po mochi dish.
On one hand, it felt a little of a cop-out that same toppings were used twice; on the other hand, the bowl of ramen was delicious enough for me to overlook that fact.
Suika was not a cheap outing at all.
Including tax and tip, it was $80 for the 2 of us; granted we were both extremely full, and likely could do with one less dish.