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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon 4:30pm–9:30pm
Tue–Thu noon–2:30pm
Tue–Thu 4:30pm–9:30pm
Fri–Sat noon–2:30pm
Fri–Sat 4:30pm–11:00pm
Sun 4:30pm–9:00pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


Beacon Hill
4909 Rainier Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
(206) 721-0212
Wabi Sabi
Pricey, sleek, ambitious, and the ’hood’s best choice, for now, in a so-so lineup

Wabi Sabi is the poster child for Columbia City’s growing pains. Before light rail connected it to downtown, Columbia City was difficult to reach, so it had a few good restaurants to serve its residents but nothing striving to be a dining destination. Wabi Sabi is part of the second wave: a restaurant with ambition, coming in to fill a gap in a rapidly growing and gentrifying area. So far, its reception has been lukewarm at best.

For less than a plate of edamame, you can take the light rail to one of the city’s best sushi restaurants, so Wabi Sabi had better be careful with the pricing. The menu is split between safe—California rolls, agedashi tofu, and Bento boxes—and more innovative, like the “Five Spice Tuna Tataki.”

Here, simple is best. The best thing to do here is to sit at the counter, tell the chef exactly how much you’re willing to spend, and let him put together a sort of poor man’s omakase. If you do instead order off the menu, try the Kumamoto oysters with ponzu sauce, standbys like hamachi or scallops, or the fresh catch of the day.

The draw at Wabi Sabi is the sleek layout of the room, with funky killer fish artwork on the walls, blond wooden booths against exposed brick, and a wraparound bar built in anticipation of future swillers of sake and ginger-lime mojitos.

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