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The Salt Cellar, despite its funky, underground setting (careful navigating those dark stairs, particularly if you've been washing down your pre-dinner oysters, clams, shrimp or mussels at the bar), is completely serious about bringing us only the freshest, best-quality aquatic fare from around the globe. In fact, its comfy ambiance is one of the reasons we're hooked. Who needs frou-frou fittings with a multitude of daily market selections such as Canadian king salmon, Hawaiian mahi-mahi with macadamia nuts, Cajun-spiced halibut from Anchorage, stuffed mountain trout from Idaho, or our personal favorite: the three-pound, live Maine lobster? Or stuff your mouth with the Cellar's whole Dungeness crab or Alaskan king crab legs. The Captain's Choice selections add more adventurous treats such as shrimp San Remo on fresh garlic basil pasta, and teriyaki ahi on fresh orange habanero pasta. No matter the mood, we always "sea" something we like at the Salt Cellar.
It's a fantasy we keep returning to: stuffing ourselves to the gills on quality seafood, without taking out a loan on our house. At Ichi Ban, it's certainly easy to fill up, selecting from hundreds of aquatic items at this buffet-style sushi and seafood fest. But we feel a wave of relief when the bill comes: just $13.95 at lunch, and $20.95 at dinner. The reality is that even with the low tariff, Ichi Ban doesn't cut corners on its catch. Pale pink albacore tuna, bright red maguro, silky salmon, buttery hamachi, cooked shrimp, flaky kani, red snapper, scallop and eel make for sensual sushi. More substantial choices include baked salmon, snow crab, marina clam soup, scallops, baby octopus and sautéed fish. Finally -- substantial seafood that doesn't cost us a c-note.

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