Being on the neighborhood restaurant beat means I invariably eat a lot of takeout each week. There have been doughnuts and pizzas and burritos galore. The one thing I haven’t had since restaurants shut down in March? Sushi.
I think I’ve been avoiding it. As someone who regularly drives about a half-hour home with hot takeout food cooling in the front seat, sushi felt on the same level as getting a giant ice cream cone and refusing to lick it until I got home. But upon a recommendation from a chef friend, I went to Bainbridge Island and stopped by SuBI (403 Madison Ave. N., #150, Bainbridge Island; 206-855-7882, sushibi.com).
The lunch menu is served 11:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Sure, I could’ve gotten the pork katsu, a bowl of ramen or the chicken teriyaki, but the sushi and sashimi bento box was calling me. For $17.44, the lunch included a feast: a four-piece California roll, three pieces of nigiri, three pieces of sashimi, a salad, three gyoza, a cup of miso soup, and a few bite-size pieces each of pickled daikon and roast pumpkin.
The restaurant is about a 15-minute walk from the ferry, past the hustle of Winslow Way. There’s a small pavilion outside with a few benches still scattered about, which is where I sipped my miso soup in the sunshine. I think I audibly sighed after my first bite of buttery salmon sashimi. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed the decadence of fresh, raw fish. I had to run to catch the ferry back to Seattle and ate the rest of the generous bento box with the breeze in my face, savoring every bite.
SuBI wasn’t the only delightful treat I had on Bainbridge Island over the past few weeks. There’s fresh pasta from Via Rosa 11 waiting in my freezer, and I’m still thinking about the pork chicharron sandwich from Heyday Market.
Noon-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; 129 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; 206-451-4609, hitchcockdeli.com
It’s tough to stroll down Winslow Way without hitting up one of chef Brendan McGill’s restaurants. Upscale Hitchcock is closed; instead the interior has turned into a market selling pantry staples. Bruciato and Hitchcock Deli are open and, like many, his team has pivoted to expand flavors that travel well, from a weekend barbecue pop-up to a daily burger offering called Sacka Burgers. The crispy smash burgers are oozing with melty American cheese and topped with onions, bread and butter pickles, and an actual red, ripe tomato. A single runs $7, a double is $10 and there’s even a triple stack for $14. The fries are tossed in herbs and garlic oil — best eaten as soon as possible — and there’s also a plant-based burger ($10).
Via Rosa 11 Italian Kitchen
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday; 10320 N.E. Valley Road, Bainbridge Island; 206-451-4640, viarosa11.square.site
Duck under a tent just outside the front door of this Italian restaurant to pick up wood-fired pizzas, salads and fresh pastas. Availability changes daily for fresh pastas, sold by the half ($5) or full pound ($10). There’s also meat and vegetarian lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi and eggplant Parmesan. I picked up a pound each of bucatini and fusilli, plus tubs of puttanesca ($12) and vodka ($10) sauces. The pastas last about a week in the fridge, longer in the freezer, while the sauces are frozen. Extruded pastas can sometimes be tough, but these were the opposite. The vodka sauce was rich and creamy; the puttanesca is waiting in my freezer for the next cold, rainy day.
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; 4569 Lynwood Center Road N.E., Bainbridge Island; 206-451-4929, heydayfarm.com
If you, like me, are still sad Dot’s Butcher and Deli at Pike Place Market closed, there is a welcoming face waiting for you at Heyday Market. Chef and butcher Miles James is now manning the counter at the shop, located in the historic Lynwood Center, curing, grinding and roasting succulent cuts of beef, chicken and pork. The sandwiches are predictably wonderful; porchetta ($14), topped with a crunchy slaw and chicharrones, is an incredibly flavorful, messy sandwich. Ditto for the TBLAT ($13) with a creamy garlic mayo mingling with the avocado, bacon, tomato, turkey and lettuce. You can also grab fresh vegetables and eggs from Heyday Farm, plus some pantry items.
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; 101 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; 206-565-3287, basabainbridgeisland.com
Owned by siblings Trinh and Thai Nguyen, this sleek Vietnamese spot on the corner of Winslow Way and Madison Avenue is open for takeout and some dine-in, with limited indoor and outdoor seating. Dishes here are substantial and packed with flavor. I loved the coho salmon fried rice ($21), studded with tender morsels of salmon, plenty of garlic and a perfect smattering of Thai chiles on top. Also lovely were the tapping noodles ($17), a hefty bowl of rice noodles with slices of char siu pork, prawns and ground pork, smartly served with fragrant broth on the side, perfect to take home.
Coquette Bake Shop
8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; 278 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; 206-922-8939, coquettebakeshop.com
There has never been a time that I have gone to Bainbridge and not stopped at this adorable little bakery stand in the Winslow Mall. I love the fudgy brownies ($3.50), I swoon over the chewy ginger molasses cookies ($2.25), but my absolute favorite is the nut bar ($3.95). Smooshy caramel laced with pecans, walnuts and almonds atop a shortbread base. It’s heaven with a cup of tea or just straight out of the bag.