Photo by Shane Harms
Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap is a simple dish made with mixed rice, vegetables, meat or mushrooms and an egg on top, served sunny side up.

Bento Sushi offers cheap delicious eats after 10 years

Seattle holds high standards for sushi. In this city you can encounter places that offer the purist experience at $250 a head or patrons can venture a hole in the wall dive offering “crispy” and “spicy” rolls deluging with sauce.

Bento Sushi (8501 15th Ave N.W.) leans more toward the latter, however, diners should not let that stop them from trying the tasty cheap eats offered.

The sushi menu offers a broad selection of preparations, and prices hang close to $6 for an 8-piece roll. Sauce heavy, Americanized favorites like the Spider, Dragon and the Philly Roll are offered, but Lee switches it up with not so “fishy” rolls like the Beef Teriyaki Roll and Crispy Chicken Roll. More over, Lee said that the Seattle Roll, made with apples, carrots, cucumber and sesame seeds is a house favorite. Staying true to the “hole-in-the-wall village sushi shop” -- as one online reviewer put it – the prices rarely breach $10, making it a perfect stop for lunch. They also have outdoor seating.

Chef and owner, Kevin Lee moved to Seattle from Korea and has been running his restaurant for 10 years. He specializes in sushi but offers an array of other items like Korean classics, tempura, teriyaki, and of course bento box combinations.

Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap is Korean for “Hot Stone Bowl.” Lee said it is a house specialty and one of his favorites. Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap is a simple dish made with mixed rice, vegetables, meat or mushrooms and an egg on top served sunny side up. It’s drizzled with sesame seed oil and a light but spicy chili sauce on the side. The dish arrives sizzling in a stone bowl along with a cup of miso soup. It actually continues to cook in the sesame seed oil as a diner eats. The heat from the bowl cooks the rice further, almost burning it and makes a crunchy salty shell at the bottom of the bowl. The crunchiness if the “over-cooked” rice with egg makes a pleasant contrast. On top of that (literally) the yolk ties the flavors of dish together in magical umami-mingling. Yum.

In addition, the bento box combinations are a go-to for many patrons. They are served with a fresh green salad with a ginger dressing and a cup of umami rich miso soup, rice, beans with a plethora of meat and vegetarian options. Yakisoba (noodle dish) and Undon (noodle soup) are also available.

For a “dive,” Bento Sushi offers surprisingly tasty dishes at a cost even a Ballard New-Tribune reporter can afford.

Bento Sushi, 8501 15th Ave N.W., 206-782-3000. Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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