THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne
This Friday: Susan Pascal Trio
Susan Pascal, vibes
Chuck Deardorf, bass
Dave Petersen, guitar
Last Friday night, my teenage son, Emmett, and I were looking for something to do. The planets must have been in some kind of quirky alignment. Or maybe there was some residual weirdness from the full moon of a few days before; Emmett doesn’t usually want to hang out with mom, especially on a Friday night. But there we were. The kid likes sushi, so we decided to head over to Hiroshis for the Jazz and Sushi night, which happens every Friday.
If you’ve never been before, Hiroshis is a jumping little sushi joint on Eastlake Avenue. It’s a bright and lively spot with busy waitresses navigating around tightly arranged tables. On past visits, the place has been packed and there has been a lengthy wait for a table. However, this was not the case on Friday. There were plenty of available tables, and we were seated immediately. Jazz happens in the main room, right underneath a giant TV, which was mercifully turned off. The band this particular night consisted of Alexey Nikolaev on sax, Jon Hamar on bass, Randy Halberstadt on piano and of course, Greg Williamson on drums. (Jazz and Sushi is presented by Pony Boy Records, of which Greg is the big cheese.) They started out with “All the Things You Are” and then moved on to original compositions by Greg and Randy. God, what a treat. There was no histrionic manager wringing his hands and asking the band to turn down. This was no pansy-ass background music. This was jazz exactly as it should be: Out there for all to hear and enjoy. Heaven. The band seemed free to do whatever they wanted, and I was particularly taken by the unbound improvisation and the take-no-prisoners solos. It was the first time I’d ever heard Alexey play. Man, that cat can blow! Jon, Randy and Greg also delivered the goods, providing the high-octane performances we’ve happily come to expect from them. Adding to the jovial and laid back vibe was Greg’s between tune banter, which was pretty entertaining all by itself. The teenager was even amused.
Emmett and I banged down an assortment of rolls: tuna, eel, spider and California. The sushi was tasty and satisfying. (There was a slight issue with the wasabi, but it was user error. The restaurant can’t be blamed. Emmett went a little overboard when mixing the requisite dipping concoction of soy sauce and wasabi. The result was a nuclear meltdown in my sinus cavities. Matricide by wasabi.) For those who are disinclined to go for sushi, there are many other options such as noodle dishes, rice bowls and teriyaki. Hiroshis serves beer and sake and also has a full-service liquor thing happening. Our tab came to around $37.00 with tip, which some might consider a little spendy for two. It’s hard to say, however. When dining out with a teenage boy, the tab is always up there.
As we were leaving, I wondered why it had been so many months since I’d been out to Hiroshis on a Friday night. It definitely won’t be so long next time. The jazz is some of the best in the city, the food is wonderful and the scene couldn’t be more fun. Jazz and Sushi night is a real gem. Hats off to Pony Boy and a big up for Hiroshis: Finally a restaurant that gets it.
Hiroshi’s is located at 2501 Eastlake Ave., Seattle, WA 98102. Phone is 206-726-4966. For more information, check out: