New restaurant expects special sandwich will put it on the map

Shishini’s fried sandwich,
Shishini’s fried sandwich, 'like nothing else in the world.'
— image credit: Justine Frederiksen

Restaurants are defined with narrow parameters, creating specific customer expectations for a Chinese, Italian or barbecue establishment.

But a new Port Orchard restaurant seeks to dissolve the boundaries and offer a unique mix of Asian and American cuisine.

“We’re not offering traditional Chinese food,” said Harry Wu, manager of Shishini BBQ House on Bay Street in Port Orchard. “We combine it with some Japanese recipes. We serve teriyaki, but it’s not our specialty because everybody serves it. We have a combination of things, but our homemade sandwich is like nothing else in the world.”

This sandwich comes in two versions, borrowing contents from the standard hamburger or ham and cheese sandwich.

It includes a mix of hard boiled egg, lettuce, cucumber and special sauce. But the treat is in the bread; a large bun with a hard crust and a sweet, soft middle.

Restaurant owner Roger Chou said the buns, which are baked fresh, have twice the weight of what you find on a standard restaurant hamburger.

He describes it as “deep fried without grease.”

Due to the substantial bread portion, this is not a low-calorie experience.

On the other hand, it might be the single indulgence by the diet conscious — the monthly slip to counteract all the rabbit food served at home.

If the sandwich will attract the calorie crowd, the restaurant offers four varieties of the more diet-friendly yakitori — meat on skewers served with salad and rice.

With all these choices, a family of four with diverse tastes will all find something they can enjoy.

Shishini is in a space occupied for several years by the Golden Chef, an authentic Chinese restaurant that varied in its quality and service.

It didn’t help that the restaurant would close for months at a time, offering only the explanation that the owners had to take care of family business in China.

Family is a part of Shishini’s business, as well. It is owned by the same family as Golden Grill locations in Silverdale and Port Orchard.

In that respect, it runs restaurants at both ends of town.

Wu admits that current economic conditions make this a less than opportune time to open a restaurant. All restaurants have suffered a 30 percent decline in recent years, although some are beginning to recover.

And while downtown Port Orchard is making a comeback, daytime parking is still a problem unless you’re lucky enough to snag one of the spaces on Bay Street.

The situation is relieved somewhat when the restaurant can use a nearby parking lot owned by Kitsap Bank.

“Maybe they can give us some spaces to use during the day,” he said. “I think they should, because we opened some accounts there.”

Despite these small setbacks, Hu feels the restaurant will succeed once the word gets out.

“This may not be the best time to open a business,” Hu said, “but we like the challenge. We got a really good deal from the landlord, and I know we will do well.”

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