Renton, Washington has created much excitement with the recent opening of Genki Sushi located in the Renton Village Shopping Center next to Uwjimaya. The packed house present at the mid-February Grand Opening indicated that this is the restaurant the suburb had been awaiting. Its convenient location allows easy access to Interstate 5, Interstate 405, Highway 167, Rainier Avenue, and is directly across from the Rainier Park and Ride. Ample parking awaits visitors as well.
I noted upon entering the eastern facing entrance to this facilty, the modern decorated establishment with its simplistic design is calm and soothing. The outside is deceiving because you will find it to be much larger inside than it appears. Immediately noticeable is a larger than life logo containing an angry face plastered on the brightly orange painted western wall directly in front of you. Momentarily stunning, you cannot help but become fixated on it, as well as amused. Glancing around I noticed the tea cups contained the angry face as well. They were cute. Tea is automatically included with each meal. The bustling and friendly smile I was greeted with by staff soon proved to be a sharp contrast to that image.
Grabbing a chair at the counter I noticed that a large white radar map engulfed the Southern wall pinpointing additional Genki locations. The horizontal and verticle lines on this display showed great detail and I found it amazing.
A number of booths are available within the establishment but for those that want to get front and center, counter seating is the place to be. A dual conveyor belt is continually rotating with freshly prepared sushi items. This is an added bonus because most of the sushi facilities I have frequented don’t have a dual belt. I have noticed with the chefs standing in the inner cicle of the belts, these belts remained full with good quality fresh items. It is always fun to watch items being prepared as well.
If you choose to sit at a booth vs the chairs, you will notice that while you are able to reach the conveyor belt easily, it is more difficult to reach the items that are located on the inner belt because of the angle of the booth. This restaurant uses real chopsticks. No wooden ones that you have to worry about breaking off. A box is neatly placed at your booth if you are sitting there, or if you are at a counter seat you will find a tray containing chopsticks and various sauces neatly centered between seating spaces and easily accessible. You just help yourself.
Genki Sushi has included the wonderful addition of menu cards at their establishment. The menu cards offer a picture of the sushi available, so when you see the item on the conveyor belt you are able to identify it as well as its name. Menu cards are available at each seating station. This is ideal for beginning Sushi eaters as well because they no longer have to worry about not knowing the names of an item. I have been told by friends at times they have avoided going to a sushi restaurant alone because they don’t remember the names of the items they want to order.
If a particular sushi item you desire isn’t on the conveyor belt, these can easily be ordered via the order slip which is available at each seating area to be passed along to the chef. The item will be freshly prepared for you, as well as brought to you at no additional charge.
For a menu that contains no item over $3.00 you just cannot go wrong at this restaurant. Having now made several visits I can brag about my favorite items and why. The Unagi served Nigiri style (broiled eel) is yummy. Tender and well prepared my stomach was truly singing with joy. An added bonus is the fact that the sauce Genki Sushi served with it wasn’t overly sweet which is the case at some sushi restaurants. For the low cost you pay, you receive two pieces with your Nigiri and Gunkan style orders. The Gunkan Spicy Tuna is delicious. The tuna portion is generous, and the meat is nice chunks which I prefer, rather than chopped.The Gunkan Spicy Bomb-shashimi style with tuna in it is a must have. Nestled on a sweet sauce when you eat it you get a dual taste of pleasure (spicy and sweet.) My mouth is watering thinking about it.I am also excited to report that Genki Sushi offers Sockeye Salmon. Many sushi places have salmon, but not Sockeye. Not only does Genki Sushi offer this but they offer good cuts as well as portions.
Last Sunday upon visiting the restaurant for lunch (okay I admit I cannot seem to stay away,) I found a special item on the conveyor belt. It was a type of sauce on a special plate. You take the sauce off the belt, scoop what you want out of the container, and place it back on the belt. It was spicy, and good. I am unsure if this will be a weekly opportunity, but it was enjoyable to have this additional treat at no additional charge.
This restaurant has now been open for a few weeks, but one interesting observation is the customer service. The first time I was there, they were obviously very busy and focused but I can honestly say that I still received good service. By my second visit I was recognized by the staff, and received a warm “hi there you are back,” greeting. With obviously so many individuals coming through, I was surprised they recognized me. Seating is normally not a problem, but even at their busiest times I have only had to wait for 15 minutes for seating.
The menu also contains a variety of side dishes including Edamame, Cold Tofu, Miso Soup, Soybean Salad, Calamari, as well as dessert items for those that have a little sweet tooth including Japanese Pudding, Green Tea Roll Cake, Dorayaki, Mochi Ice Cream.
For the true sushi lover I believe Genki Sushi is a must visit establishment. You can come out stuffed with a delicious healthy, affordable meal, and still brag that you have money in your pocket.
365 South Grady Way Suitem B&C
Renton, WA. 98057