Sometimes people email me for restaurant recommendations. I always answer! Here's one for Jim.
Hey, I had a quick question for you. Some friends from back east will be visiting me and want to go out for sushi. I usually stick to Maneki and a few other regular places but wanted to ask if you had any recommendations for an outstanding sushi place I've likely never visited or even heard about. I enjoy reading your work and know your judgment is sound.
I have an unquick answer for you. Maneki is a good choice—I love the tatami rooms there (which, by the way, is the only way to get a reservation there, and the wait is often dreadful, so get a bunch of friends together when you go, which is more fun anyway)—but good for you for branching out.
Right around the corner from Maneki is the tiny, a little bit divey, and totally delightful Tsukushinbo (Ichiro used to go here before he abandoned us).
Over on Eastlake, for good sushi in fancier surroundings with lots of sustainable fishes...
...there's Sushi Kappo Tamura.
I've always heard good things about Kisaku near Green Lake, but I've never been there.
If you like gigantic rolls with lots of items stuffed in or stacked on them that are also anointed thoroughly with sweet and sticky sauces and/or mayonnaise-type action, all deployed in an upscale atmosphere, you should go to Umi Sake House, Japonessa, or Momiji (and all of these have very popular, cheaper happy hours).
O'Shan in Ballard is friendly and good.
As far as cheap sushi goes, I do not believe in it.
Let me know where you go and how you like it! And thank you for your nice compliments.