Seattle newbies are often taken aback by the sheer number of takeout teriyaki joints in our fair city.
But rather than just explain that Japanese immigrants brought their own fast food here in the '70s and it caught on big, take proper teriyaki tour.
Here's the Rundown on our five favorite restaurants executing teriyaki with aplomb.
Low Down: Teriyaki 1st
This place is no-frills in just about every way. Located in a U District strip mall, the decor and service are nonexistent. But the spicy chicken teriyaki is perfectly done: pounded flat, charred black and expertly doused with a sauce that's just sweet enough. (Pro-tip: Get it with extra vegetables.)
5201 University Way NE, University District (206-526-1661)
High Up: Canlis
People looked at Peter Canlis like he was crazy when he put beef teriyaki on the menu here in the '50s, but the flash-seared tenderloin served with delicate steamed broccoli and gomasio still holds up more than a half-century later.
2576 Aurora Ave. N, Queen Anne (206-283-3313)
The Original: Toshi's Teriyaki
Toshihiro Kasahara is widely renowned as the originator of Seattle-style teriyaki at his Roy St. restaurant in 1976. He's still in the game almost forty years later with his new spot in Mill Creek. The menu's pretty minimal, which works for us, we always go for the chicken & beef combo.
16212 Bothell Everett Hwy., Mill Creek (425-225-6420)
Hawaiian Style: Kona Kitchen
Much of Seattle's Japanese population came by way of Hawaii, and this fusion spot owned by actor Yuji Okamoto (the bad guy from Karate Kid II) serves up a black belt-worthy take on teriyaki beef skewered with pineapple and mushrooms.
8501 5th Ave. NE, Maple Leaf (206-517-5662)
Big Time: Manna Deli
Teriyaki is all about huge portions, and this Greenwood institution packs nearly two pounds of meat into each order. An eight-dollar order of chicken teriyaki can feed two people with ease, and the sauce is snacktastic.
9831 Aurora Ave. N, Greenwood (206-527-5542)