Sushi Kashiba

Takeout offered 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; $100 per box (feeds one); 86 Pine St., suite 1, Seattle; 206-441-8844, sushikashiba.com/menu

When our world was normal — remember? — you had to endure two hours in line at Sushi Kashiba to score one of six seats where sushi master Shiro Kashiba serves his omakase, a taste of Shiro-san’s greatest hits and best catch of the day. A man of exacting measure, Shiro advises you to eat his toro roll in two bites and dictates which sushi to eat with soy sauce. When the pandemic hit, the “OG,” as his son Ed Kashiba calls him, needed prodding to pivot to takeout. His family and staff ran a zillion tests in different to-go containers and ice packs before Shiro agreed to offer omakase to go.

My “Limited edition Kashiba Omakase dinner box” comes in a beautiful floral-imprint box with 10 pieces of sushi and nine pieces of sashimi Shiro has chosen. The daily offerings varied, but one constant is a slab of Shiro’s signature grilled black cod that has been bathed in sake kasu to give the white flesh a buttery-rich and sweet finish. There is also a hint of miso. It’s a fillet coated in umami. The to-go box also includes rice and a tamago that tastes like a flourless pound cake. Even slouching in my own couch, I sensed Shiro watching over my shoulder. The master chef left a note in my takeout with instructions to eat “within 30 minutes of picking up.”

Oliver’s Twist

Not your usual chicken wings. Oliver’s Twist does a boneless and stuffed version with a side of slaw tossed with coconut and scallion dressing.  (Courtesy of Oliver’s Twist)
Not your usual chicken wings. Oliver’s Twist does a boneless and stuffed version with a side of slaw tossed with coconut and scallion dressing. (Courtesy of Oliver’s Twist)

Closed Sundays; takeout available other days from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; 6822 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle; 206-706-6673, oliverstwistseattle.com

I recall Karuna Long rhapsodizing about Cambodian street food behind his bar at Oliver’s Twist three years ago. I left that night thinking this guy should be in a kitchen, he was so passionate about his native cuisine. In May, I swung by Oliver’s Twist to grab cocktails to go and — what do ya know? — Khmer comfort food headlines his takeout lineup. The bacon-stuffed dates and other Oliver’s Twist bar bites couldn’t compete with restaurants doing entrees in this takeout climate, he said. So he dusted off his mom’s family recipes and started featuring rolls, noodles and rice bowls ($4-$16).

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The food I sampled in May was good. It’s even better now. Strips of beef short ribs ($7 each), coated in a shallot-lemongrass-based paste, get singed with a blowtorch for a caramelized glaze to finish. His crackling, fat egg rolls (four for $6) hearken more to Saigon street food. That egg-roll filling (pork, noodles, taro and carrots) also gets stuffed into boneless chicken wings (two for $14); the rendered fat from the skin and the fish sauce make the wings sing. Those wings are always the first thing to sell out. The evolving menu will soon feature sandwiches and stews. After the pandemic, Long also plans to open a cafe to showcase Cambodian food.

Oliver’s Twist cocktail standbys are available to go including the Pickwick Paper ($15), a fiery, mezcal funk that gets its burn from Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and dosed with lemon juice, rosemary-pear shrub and Angostura bitters. Or get the summery puréed strawberry with lemon juice and agave syrup in a Mason jar ($13) spiked with your choice of booze. When the bartender asks which spirit moves you, the correct answer is mezcal.

Andaluca

The Lemon-Aleppo Chicken is one of Andaluca’s signature dishes.  (Courtesy of Andaluca)
The Lemon-Aleppo Chicken is one of Andaluca’s signature dishes. (Courtesy of Andaluca)

Takeout 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m. daily; 407 Olive Way, Seattle; 206-382-6999, andaluca.com/to-go-menu

The best wine deals are hiding at the bottom of this dinner menu. A 2018 Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley goes for $20. Or to support the home team, order the stellar syrah from Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla ($24) or the $18 merlot from Basel Cellars in Walla Walla; the latter will ring you $40 in wine stores. But may I suggest the 2016 Lachini pinot noir from Willamette Valley? It’s luscious with blueberries and absurdly cheap ($26). This bottle costs $65 retail. Like many, this downtown hotel restaurant is unloading its wine inventory during these slow times. But those priced-to-move bottles appear on the website when you order food online.

Takeout pickings are slim on Mondays, when most restaurants take the day off. This Mediterranean spot is your best bet. The charred-crust medallions of grilled ground meat (lamb kofte, $14), seasoned in a medley of fall spices, chilies and herbs, taste better unadulterated without any sauce, but dunk them in the yogurt-dill dip if the gaminess bothers you. The Aleppo chicken breast (with mashed potato and roasted carrots, $24), a juicy, briny-tasting bird marinated for 48 hours in juice from preserved lemons, is one of the best roast chickens I’ve had during this pandemic. If you must, get the cheeseburger, a half-pound wagyu patty with fries ($17), the pickles and condiments stored in separate containers. Unlike most souped-up burgers around town, this isn’t a soggy mess when you get home.

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RockCreek Seafood & Spirits

The braised octopus at RockCreek Seafood & Spirits is finished over an applewood grill and fortified with fingerling potatoes, briny olives, roasted acidic tomato, cannellini beans and aioli.  (Tan Vinh)
The braised octopus at RockCreek Seafood & Spirits is finished over an applewood grill and fortified with fingerling potatoes, briny olives, roasted acidic tomato, cannellini beans and aioli. (Tan Vinh)

Takeout 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; 4300 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; 206-557-7532, rockcreekseattle.com

I miss this place. It has the feel of a well-swept barn down by the river. I miss its seafood. Chef Eric Donnelly composes some refined dishes from the bounty of the sea with nods to the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, French Creole and the South.

For starters, the braised octopus ($14) finished over the applewood grill for a charred finish, is cooked textbook-perfect, neither mushy or rubbery like many iterations around town — a firm, meaty bite fortified with fingerling potatoes, briny olives, roasted acidic tomato, cannellini beans and aioli. His Provencal Chilean Sea Bass ($36; certified sustainable from the Marine Stewardship Council) — a chunky, buttery fillet, redolent of dill and fried shallots and served in a garlicky fish sauce — tastes like a homage to the famed Cha Ca Thanh Long dish in Hanoi. And the briny, crispy skin on the Icelandic Char ($29) is the perfect marriage to that caramelized onion jam and pickled leeks.

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