japanese


There are a handful of restaurants that I can honestly tell you that I’ve been more than 10 times.   Heck, more than 20 times.  Cafe Asia is one of those few places.

  • Food: Their fried tofu is pretty good and crispy except they put a couple of tofu pieces into a soy sauce with other seasonings so it gets soggy.  But the sauce and tofu is good.  I’ve ordered tons of their sushi and it’s also good. 
  • Service: They’re usually nice, but sometimes they’re extremely absent.
  • Atmosphere: From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look as big as it actually is.  It’s two stories with high ceilings and a contemporary feel.  Check out their photos here.Their tables are a bit low and in the first floor, none of their chairs have backs — it’s all low stools.  They do have a few booths though.  On the second floor, there’s chairs with backs…it’s good to know how long you’re going to stay since backless chairs can get to be a bit tough to stay in for a long period of time.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Here’s what I like about Cafe Asia – it’s not fancy and there’s usually not a wait.  You can chill at the their tables and participate in their happy hours (unlike most places where you have to stay in the bar area). 

Happy Hour: $1.25-per-piece nigiri, $2 sake and $2.50 beers at both their downtown DC and Arlington location daily from 4:30-7:30 PM

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-11pm; Fri 11:30am-12am; Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 12pm-11pm
  • Address: 1720 I Street NW; Washington, DC
  • Ph: 202.659.2696

I’ve been to Kaz Sushi Bistro several times, but I hadn’t been in some time (or at least since I started the blog).  They were supposed to do fugu this spring, but when I called and put my name on the list, they never did call me back.  Bummer.  I’m going to try fugu one day!

  • Food: My food friend and I decided to go to Kaz.  I ordered the blue crab sushi (top left) which was good.  Tuna and jalapeno (middle 6) which wasn’t spicy, but insanely fresh.  It was amazing because unlike some places, they did a great job of balancing enough jalapeno for a small amount of heat while not overpowering the fish.  I think this was my my favorite roll!  I also ordered the asparagus and red pepper roll (“sandwiching” tuna and jalapeno rolls).  Plus, they give you white ginger (not pink).  My friend ordered salmon teriyaki and she loved it. 

Kas Sushi Bistro  Kas Sushi Bistro Salmon Teriyaki

  • Service: When I’ve actually eaten in the restaurant, it’s been good. 
  • Atmosphere: Inside it’s a pretty small restaurant that does pack people in a bit like sardines.  It’s tight and cozy – and not the place to go if you want to have a conversation that you wouldn’t want others to hear. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Hands down, this is one of the best sushi places in the city.  Plus, it is a great place to take anyone from friends to clients to dates to parents. 

Details:

  • Reservations recommended for peak times.
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:00; Dinner Mon-Sat 6:00-10:00; Closed Sundays
  • Address: 1915 “Eye” St. NW, Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202.530.5500

**Update 1/09 – I was walking by one day and noticed their happy hour sign.  It’s Monday-Friday from 5-7 PM for $5 sushi (select) and $4/5 beer or select cocktails.** 

Dragonfly has been closed for years (or at least it seems like it to me), but it is open again for business.  Last night was their opening. 

The name of the restaurant/bar has changed to Current, but there’s few other details available.  The interior is more open and modern.  And since this is a food blog, here are some photos of their (limited) menu. 

Current Menu  Current Menu  Current Menu  Current Menu

Have you been?  Is it fun?  Do you like it better than Dragonfly? 

Details:

  • Address: 1215 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 5:30 pm-1:00 am; Fri 5:30 pm-2:00 am; Sat 7 pm-2:00 am; Sun 7 pm-1:00 am
  • Ph: 202-331-1775

I had been to Thai Chili/Sushi Go Round once before a few years ago and recently stopped by again for a quick bite. 

  • Food: The sushi conveyor belt has 4 different color plates — blue, yellow, green, and red.  They clearly label the prices each plate color cost (but I can’t remember their prices).  I think the most expensive is around $5 and the cheapest is $2-3.  I’ve tried a lot of their sushi and it’s good.  They offer a good selection, but as with all sushi conveyor belts, you do have to know your sushi/nigiri!  Otherwise, you may end up paying for something you don’t like. 
  • Service: I’ve only eaten at the Sushi Go Round, but they are quick to clear any garbage you have and the covers to the sushi plates.
  • Atmosphere: It’s like there are two different restaurants.  Neither one has a lot of seats, but the Thai side has 10-12 tables and chairs while the Sushi Go Round has 20-25 stools around the conveyor belt.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’re in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area and are looking for something quick and healthy without going to a chain, I recommend trying this place out.  It’s decent sushi and let’s be honest, the conveyor belt is fun.  Ha ha.   

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-10:30 PM; Fri 11 AM-11 PM; Sat 12 noon – 11 PM; Sun 12 noon – 10:30 PM; Delivery Hours: Mon-Fri 11 AM-3 PM, 5-10 PM; Sat & Sun 5-10 PM (min $20)
  • Address: 701 7th Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: (202) 393-2905, (202) 393-2906

I  vaguely remember when Suki Asia opened — I think two or three years ago.  I have been once before and remember ordering sushi and it was pretty good.  But it had been a couple of years since I had been so I thought I’d try it again for the blog.  Their menu is pretty brief and actually fits on one page here

11/2008 – Here’s their updated menu.  Page one here and page two here.

  • Food: I was hungry and so I decided to order their original bibimbap and a bagel roll.  First, the bagel roll.  They get points for not dying their ginger to that horrible pink color and instead, leaving it to its original state.  I also give them major points for not giving me so much wasabi that I feel like I’m wasting it.  Their bagel roll was pretty good and I’d definitely order it again.  Next to the bibimbap.  I thought it was OK, but the bulgogi cart definitely makes a better version.  Plus, there was no egg.  And there wasn’t that much in there, but what was there was decent.

Suki Asia Bibim Bap  Suki Asia Bagel Roll

UPDATE: My lunch buddy kept raving about their udon mushroom with tofu so I had to try it.  It was really good (no MSG so no weird after-taste).  There weren’t a lot of veggies though, but the noodles and broth were really good.  A super filling lunch!

Suki Asia Udon Mushroom with Tofu  Suki Asia Udon Mushroom with Tofu

  • Service: They’re very nice and while it can seem busy with a lot of people, they are pretty efficient. 
  • Atmosphere: While it’s not a very big location, it has 5-7 tables.  The interior lacks much decoration, but considering most people are grabbing and going back to their office for lunch, it doesn’t really matter.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:I think I’ll skip their bibimbap and go to the Bulgogi cart instead since it tastes so much better and is cheaper.  But I do like their sushi so I would definitely go back for that. 

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30-5:30
  • Address: 1730 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202.463.3400

When I moved to DC, I loved that you could order sushi and it’d be delivered to your door.  Where I used to live, Thai was about as exotic you got for delivery. 

I’ve eaten at Uni a few times before this review. 

  • Food:Working late one night, I ordered the Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad (left photo) and Mango Salmon Roll (left) and Extreme Picante Escolar Roll (right).  The salad was tasty and I would definitely order it again.  It was light and fresh — yum!  The Mango Salmon was OK (it’s not peak mango season so it was flat and tasteless).  The mint was also really bad.  So bad in fact that I had to take the leaves out and I love mint!  The Picante Escolar Roll was pretty good and I would order it again because it did have a nice kick. 

Uni Seafood Salad  Uni Rolls 

Update:So I ordered the Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad, Sundance Roll (with sun-dried tomato), and the Mango Salmon Roll.  The chilled Smoked Calamari  wasn’t smoky and not as delicious as I remember it.  The Mango Salmon was better, but it’s not my favorite.  And I absolutely hated the Sundance Roll.  There’s way too much sun-dried tomato. 

Uni Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad  Uni Sundance & Mango Salmon Roll

  • Service: I’ve eaten here before and the service is a bit “hit and miss.”  I’ve had really nice, pleasant waitstaff and then really unpleasant, rude ones.  And when I ordered for delivery, they had a person who didn’t speak English very well (at all) answering the phone. 
  • Atmosphere: Inside it’s a pretty small restaurant, but if you’re looking for a sushi restaurant with a private room — this is about the only place in the city. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I think it’s decent sushi at a reasonable price.  While their service can leave something to be desired, they do deliver to my office ($15 minimum food order for free delivery).  And if you’re looking for their menu, here you go: Uni Menu Page 1 and Uni Menu Page 2.

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 12 PM-2 PM “Sake-tini”

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 AM-2 PM; Dinner Mon-Thurs 5 PM-10 PM; Friday 5 PM-11 PM; Sat 1 PM-11 PM; Sun 5 PM-9:30 PM
  • Address: 2122 P Street NW; Washington, DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-833-8038

I went to Adam Express (Menu Side A and Menu Side B— click on the lower right hand box with the arrows so it makes the menu bigger) with a friend of mine to try out their food after reading so many great reviews. 

  • Food:When we first went, it was packed (umm, there are only 5 stools so it’s not hard to be busy).  So we went to Tonic to grab a drink and then go back for dinner.  Of course, I ordered bibim bap.  It’s not like the kind you get in a restaurant, it was in a big bowl with a mixture of various vegetables and beef (so no clay pot).  But I have never felt like I was in someone else’s kitchen as much as I did here.  You could clearly see where they cooked and the ingredients they used to make their food.  The husband and wife team were adorable and very nice.  I really enjoyed the bibim bap, but it wasn’t like anything I had before in a restaurant — it was more like what someone cooks in their house.
  • Service: As soon as we walked in, the wife took our order and two seconds later, the skillets were heating. 
  • Atmosphere: Calling it a hole-in-the-wall is spot on.  As I mentioned, there are only 5 stools in the entire place and some are held together with wire.  But the intimate setting is great for a quick, tasty bite.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Perhaps you have a bad day and you don’t live close to home, but you want something cheap and good.  You should go here.  The couple’s warm smile and the intimate setting can almost make you feel like you’re home.  Well, if your home is a place where Korean/Chinese/Japanese food is served.  Regardless, it was good food at such a cheap price! 

Details:

  • Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.
  • Address: 3211 Mount Pleasant St., Washington, DC 20020
  • Ph: 202-328-0010

I went to Plum Blossom recently with a friend for a celebratory dinner because she got a new job, yay!  Though the job was in a new town, boo! 😉  

  • Food:After hearing so much about their miso honey lamb chops, I was looking forward to the opportunity to try them.  Unfortunately, we were told that they had gone through a menu revision and no longer offered the chops because they had been told it was too sweet.  So I decided to order the mussels and an order of Yellowtail nigiri, but then was told they ran out of the mussels.  I then ordered the lamb chops that were cooked with Szechuan peppers.  The lamb was the most tender I’ve ever had, but there was an enormous amount of fat that was still on the chops.  Personally, I prefer it when chefs trim that off, but to each his own — I just cut around it.  I can’t remember the sides, but I’m sure they were fine.  My friend ordered the steak which was good.
  • Service:Our server was nice, but despite the tiny restaurant, I do remember having to crane my neck looking for him on numerous occasions.
  • Atmosphere: To say it’s a small restaurant is an understatement.  It has about 6 very small tables that are about the 3 ft off the ground.  Then there are backless box chairs that you sit on.  If prefer seats with backs or a normal sized chair, you should definitely get your food to go.  When the door opens, the entire restaurant feels the draft too so if it’s a chilly day, keep your jacket close by!  There is a small bar in the back and in the front, there’s a little station for the sushi chef.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:While I thought he’d cancel my order for Yellowtail nigiri when I ordered the lamb chops, I’m glad I was able to try it because it was really good.  I’d be up to try it again for more sushi and their pomegranate chicken (sounds intriguing). 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Sun-Thurs 12 PM-10 PM; Fri & Sat 12 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1915 18th Street NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-232-8881

I’ve been to Sushi Taro a handful of times and have always had great food.  I’ve also always had a wait — no matter the date or time I go. 

  • Food:The most recent time, I ordered eel.  My friend and I split an order of adegashi tofu, Japanese fried sweet potato, shiso leaf, asparagus, Shiitake mushroom, and eggplant. The eel was perfect, but the standout from our dinner was the shiso leaf and the Japanese fried sweet potato.  Yum on both accounts.   On a previous visit, I had ordered their Wakasagi Nanban because I heard it was the best.  They very well may have, but I didn’t love the deep fried smelt.  Sorry, I couldn’t get over it.  But I was proud that I tried it!
  • Service:While their waitstaff can sometimes leave something to be desired as far as their waitressing skills, it’s fine.
  • Atmosphere:During your waiting time, you can read the tons of accolades this place has gotten.  I’ve seen signed photos from Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright to an endorsement by the DC-based Japanese news bureaus that Sushi Taro is the best in the city.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I think it’s good sushi for a good price.  While the wait can be a bit annoying, if you have the time, you should try the place. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted (and recommended), except not after 12:30 PM for lunch and after 7 PM for dinner.   
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30-10 pm Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30 pm Closed Sundays
  • Address: 1503 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-462-8999

When you’re looking for quick and decent Thai food in the Golden Triangle area, you go to Nooshi (formerly known as Oodles Noodles).

  • Food:Surprise!  I usually order Pad Thai with tofu or chicken, but one day I thought I should try something different.  So I got the Mee Goreng which is described as spicy marriage of Malaysian & Indian-style stir fry egg noodles with chicken.  I thought the Mee Goreng was OK, but it definitely wasn’t spicy.  One of my lunch partners in crime always gets the Tom Yum Noodle Soup with spicy chicken in lemongrass broth served with rice vermicelli.  When I actually sit at the restaurant, I’ll usually order either the fried tofu or fried calamari — both tasty.

Nooshi Mee Goreng

  • Service: I was recently talking about this with some colleagues, but they claim that when they eat in here, they feel rushed throughout their meal.  I’ve got to admit that when I eat in, I don’t. 
  • Atmosphere: With a dark interior, the restaurant is comfortable.  There’s a small sushi bar (or was it an actual bar?  Can’t remember) on the right hand-side. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: This is a good place to go with some friends for a casual bite to eat.  They also deliver (orders must be over $25)  and have a separate “restaurant” (and menu) for carry out.  It’s next door to their sit-down restaurant and is incredibly tiny.   If you’re in a hurry, call in your food and then walk past the line to pick up your food and pay. 

Happy Hour: Monday-Saturday 5-7 PM 1/2 off drinks.

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am- 11pm Sun 5pm-10pm; Delivery Hours: Mon – Fri 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm; Sat 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm; Sun 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Address: 1120 19th Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-293-3138

Thanks to my blogger friend VeggieLove for recommending Thai Chef because I finally went!  In addition to VeggieLove’s recommendation, I was excited about trying Thai Chef because I have walked by there a million times!  It’s usually pretty busy, which means popular, but not always good.  In this case, it’s good!  Also, here is their menu:

      

August 2008 Update: Thai Chef now offers free delivery from 5 PM-10 PM and a minimum $20 order. 

  • Food: I stopped by to pick up an order to go.  For lunch, I thought I’d get an order of fried tofu and tuna and salmon nigiri.  Then I ordered Pad Thai (last photo on the right) with tofu and medium spice for dinner.  The tofu was crispy fried goodness and was nicely complimented by the plum-peanut dipping sauce.  I wasn’t expecting too much from the nigiri, but I got to tell you — it was really good.  Finally, I took a couple of bites of the Pad Thai.  It wasn’t spicy at all, but there was a strong hint of peanuts (even though I didn’t want any — so a heads up to those of you who have peanut allergies!).  Am sure they used peanut oil in the cooking process.  The tofu was fried and there was a lot of it.  Oh — and in my to-go bag, they put a packet of soy sauce for the nigiri.  Nice!

Thai Chef Fried Tofu  Thai Chef Tuna & Salmon Nigiri  Thai Chef Pad Thai with Tofu

  • Service: Since I went for pick-up, my interaction with the servers was pretty minimal.  But it seemed like people were getting what they needed, when they needed it.
  • Atmosphere:With a little sushi station immediately in front of you when you walk in, there’s not as much room as you’d think in this 2-story restaurant.  At the sushi station, they have these cute backless wooden stools which are surprisingly comfortable.  In the summer, the floor-to-ceiling windows open.  It’s a comfortable, casual restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’m planning on going back for the fried tofu and sushi.  It’s good, reasonably priced, and convenient to home!  The Pad Thai was OK, but nothing special.

Happy Hour:  Sun-Thurs 4-7 PM with $3 beer and wine.  They have their “Drinks that Make You Brave” mixed drinks menu for $3.50; wine by the glass is $3; Sake small is $2.95 and large is $5; beer is $2.  Sushi is half-priced (meaning about $3-$5). 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-10:30 PM; Fri 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sat 12 PM-11 PM; Sun 12 PM-10:30 PM
  • Address: 1712 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 234-5698

I love food (as evident by this blog).  But sometimes, I am craving sushi that’s quick, fast, and decent.   Hence Wasabi Sushi.

  • Food:I ran into Wasabi Sushi for lunch to-go (photo below).  They call it “take away” and offer a different menu than their normal restaurant menu.  You get 5 pieces (versus the usual 6) for the order, but it’s also cheaper.  From left to right, my order was shrimp tempura & asparagus ($3.75); salmon, avocado, & sesame seeds ($3.25); and spicy tuna & scallion roll ($3.50).  The middle roll was weak.  It had little flavor and almost soggy (what happened?).  The other two were fine rolls for the price.  The bummer was that they put no chopsticks, wasabi (umm, hello — the name of your restaurant is…), or ginger in my to-go bag. 

Wasabi Sushi

  • Service:The cashiers are polite.  When you actually sit down and order, the servers are friendly.  Their job is pretty easy — keep you hydrated and count the color plates.  They have a conveyor belt of food so you can pick and choose which plates you want.  Each color signifies the price. 
  • Atmosphere: It’s very casual and it can be fun to go with a few friends to actually sit down for lunch/dinner.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:It’s certainly not the best sushi in DC, but it’s fine.  I go when I’ve got only a few minutes but am craving sushi.  Considering it’s also super cheap, it sits well with my wallet.  But I’ll have to remember to ask for wasabi, chopsticks, and ginger next time.  

Happy Hour Specials:

  • Daily 5-7 PM, offer many drink specials
    • $2 Kirin, Kirin Light, and Sapporo
    • $2 White wine (Kenwood Chardonnay or Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc)
    • $4 Red wine (Buena Vista Pinot Noir or Penfold’s Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre)
    • $5 Sake pitchers (Snow Beauty Nigori or Yamadanishiki)
    • $7 Sake pitchers (Kaguyahime or Taru)
  • Thursdays 5-9 PM, they offer a sake night so you can sample and become a connoisseur. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: 11:30 AM-2:30 PM Lunch M-F; 5-9 PM Dinner M-F; Take away M-F 11:30-9 PM
  • Address: 908 17th Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202-822-2005

There are few things in the world that are better than a sushi joint that delivers.  Tono Sushi is my favorite because they deliver pretty good sushi at a reasonable price.

  • Food:With a mix of Asian food, it’s all good.  I’ve ordered Pad Thai, sushi, sashimi, nigiri, spring rolls, etc.  All tasty.  They also have sushi happy hour daily from 5-7:30 PM (dine in only). 
  • Service: Courteous and efficient.
  • Atmosphere:On the rare occasions I don’t order in, I think their restaurant is comfortable and casual. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: Between $ and $$
  • Overall: Their menu is on my fridge and their number is programmed on my phone.  I think it’s good sushi at a reasonable price.  

Tono Sushi Mango Sticky Rice Tono Sushi

Details:

  • Reservations might be needed during peak hours.
  • Hours: Lunch – Mon-Fri 11:30 – 2:30 and Sat & Sun 12:00 – 3:00; Dinner – Mon – Thurs  5:00 – 10:30; Fri – Sat  5:00 – 11:00; Sun 5:00 – 10:00
  • Address: 2605 Connecticut Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20008
  • Ph: 202. 332.7300