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Sushi Taro, Owner Nobu Yamazaki and Chef Masa Kitayama's Superb, Upscale, Japanese in East Dupont Circle

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I went for lunch today (Sushi Day!). The yellowtail was flavorful and buttery. The temaki was amazing, it seemed to surpass the regular rolls. The rice on the nigiri was great and held together very well. I don't know if it was a result of the other people in my party being regulars, but the cuts were on the thicker side. The salmon and the toro were solid. I've had better spider roll elsewhere.

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AlexC   
I went for lunch today (Sushi Day!). The yellowtail was flavorful and buttery. The temaki was amazing, it seemed to surpass the regular rolls. The rice on the nigiri was great and held together very well. I don't know if it was a result of the other people in my party being regulars, but the cuts were on the thicker side. The salmon and the toro were solid. I've had better spider roll elsewhere.

I'm sure I posted about this a year or so ago... but I'll say it again: The bento box lunch special at Sushi Taro is a great deal. For just $10, even a ragamuffin sweatpants-wearing unemployed schmo like me got six pieces of nigiri, four pieces of tempura, two gyoza (is that plural?) a sliver of pickled gourd, a mound of pickled peppery sprouts, a ginger salad and a miso soup. Great deal. Now, to be fair, I haven't been back for lunch in about six months (now I work, boo), but I can't imagine the quality has fallen off.

Alex

PS - They aren't open for lunch on the weekends, FYI.

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Can you give a little more detail about the omakase? How much was it? How many courses were there? What was included? Thanks :P

I don't remember the exact $ amount...but it was in the range of $55 to 65. We had started off with grilled kunamoto oysters, sashimi assortment consisting of tuna cheek meat, toro, squid with squid guts, abalone and abalone guts, fatty yellow tail tuna, raw shrimp with scrambled (?) eggs, couple other daily specials, uni imported from japan and fried shrimp heads. We generally don't like to stuff ourselves with rice (more space for sashimi) so we requested that no sushi be served.

The picture attached is what was served for 2 people.

It is not the small course by course offering like Makoto or Kaz, but for those who want to go straight to the fish, it's a good deal!

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MarkS   

Anyone been here recently. I have a hankering for Sushi today. Or is there a better spot near 16th and M.

Thanks

Mark

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Anyone been here recently. I have a hankering for Sushi today. Or is there a better spot near 16th and M.

Thanks

Mark

I think that in the area, it's probably the best. That doesn't say much, because most places aren't all that great. I haven't been to Izakaya in the P St. Whole Foods, which has sushi and a ton of other stuff. In the overall DC scheme, there are better places.

The other day I had octopus sushi that was chewy and inedible. I actually had to spit it out, because I couldn't bite through it. But some tips for ordering there if you do go. If you order lunch specials, the sashimi is a better choice than the sushi, but it's more optimal to pick and choose from the paper. Also don't get the scallop, they don't cut it the optimal way. Rice for the sushi is a little better than for the rolls.

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cajcaj   

I'm thinking of going on Friday night to try their omakase at the sushi bar. I called to ask about it ($42/person) and got kind of confusing answers. It seems the latest reservation they take is for 7pm (we'd be looking to show up later) and I when I asked if we'd be able to do omakase at the sushi bar as walk ins, she said she wasn't sure.

What has been other's experiences with going here after 7pm, long waits? How about going for omakase as a walk in?

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FWIW, I have been there at 8pm on a Tues or Weds night and had a super long wait to sit anywhere! It was noisy and crowded - the one time I've had omikase was not at Taro, and I remember part what made the experience so enjoyable was being able to observe and communicate with the chef.

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I was very surprised by the seaweed salad today. Rather than the usual green strings of seaweed there were entire "leaves" in dark greens, light greens and pink with fronds. There was what I think was a little bit of Kewpie mayo and then a slightly sweet vinagrette-y gelatin or agar on top. Pretty good, but maybe too much of the gelatin/agar.

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AlexC   

Five of us did a walk-in omakase at Sushi Taro last night, to celebrate the birthday of my fish-lovin' sister Liz. We put our name on the list at 7 and were told it'd be an hour. We went and had a glass of wine, they called us 40 minutes later and we sat around 745.

The waitress asked if we preferred it on five plates, or would we like "the big one".

Around 75 minutes later, close to 9 PM, with only a miso soup and some edamame to tide us over, they wheel over Noah's Ark. Toro. Octopus. Squid. Salmon. Mackerel topped with ginger. Fat pieces of yellowtail sprinkled with scallion. Frilly sliices of giant clam leaning against crescents of lemon. Alternating slices of scallop and kiwi, strung out in a clam shell. Amberjack with a miso sauce. Raw sweet shrimp, with their heads deep fried (delicious, like a potato chip).

The most visually impressive element were the "masts" - a sardine spine and head, deep fried, hooked around a yakitori skewer at the bow, and a fried mackerel spine and head hooked together on another skewer towards the stern. In front of the masts was the fish itself. The mackerel came chopped raw and mixed, with ginger and a very light sauce (the nice cuts were used in the ginger and scallion-topped sashimi) and the pungent sardine was cut into thin little steaks. They also dropped a softball of real wasabi down.

We finished the boat. It was a Herculean effort, but everything was so good, it just had to get eaten. Afterward, when we were fat and happy, the entire staff of the restaurant (from the GM on down), crowded around our five-top and belted out "Happy Birthday Liz" as loudly and happily as I've ever heard it done in a restaurant. You could tell they were proud of what they'd put out, and excited that someone would give them the chance to put such a thing together. What a fun, fun dinner.

So, if you go, get the big plate.

Alex

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AlexC   

According to a guy shuttling boxes of dishware into the restaurant, Sushi Taro will open tonight. They've been closed for several months due to renovations.

Alex

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AlexC   

I went to the new Sushi Taro last night. I'm still reeling from what my favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant has turned into -- so sleek, modern and spacious. They have cut the number of tables in half, doubled the prices and added a bar. My father remarked that Sushi Taro had "gone Komi" and, well, there's some truth in that.

They offer two $75 tasting menus and one $65 tasting menu, each featuring a parade of small dishes. I believe that one focuses on sashimi, another sushi and another cooked items, but I am not certain of the breakout. The a la carte menu offers a limited selection of appetizers, nigiri and sashimi, but no maki.

We ordered a variety of items from the a la carte menu, due to time constraints. The tasting menus are clearly the better option. The total cost for 3 of us, including tax/tip/$40 albarino was $250. It was tough to watch the table in front of us open the menu, chat quietly, tell the waitress that it was too expensive and walk out, but I understand. I'll probably need to find a new neighborhood sushi restaurant, too.

Oh, the food was excellent. The grilled arctic char included a cut of fillet and a cut of belly, a nice comparison. Our sashimi came resting resting on banana leaves, over a bowl of ice to keep it cool, and both the toro and the hamachi were as good as I've had. All the presentations were lovely, and the waitstaff (all familiar faces) has clearly undergone extensive training

I was terribly jealous of the plates whizzing by to those who had elected for the tasting menu. I can't wait to try it. I'm just sad that my neighborhood sushi restaurant, my once-a-week fish joint, has turned into a $100-a-pop special occasion place.

They plan to open for lunch on thursday or friday, but I'm bracing myself for a $25 bento box.

Alex

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chiefdc   
I went to the new Sushi Taro last night. I'm still reeling from what my favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant has turned into -- so sleek, modern and spacious. They have cut the number of tables in half, doubled the prices and added a bar. My father remarked that Sushi Taro had "gone Komi" and, well, there's some truth in that.

They offer two $75 tasting menus and one $65 tasting menu, each featuring a parade of small dishes. I believe that one focuses on sashimi, another sushi and another cooked items, but I am not certain of the breakout. The a la carte menu offers a limited selection of appetizers, nigiri and sashimi, but no maki.

We ordered a variety of items from the a la carte menu, due to time constraints. The tasting menus are clearly the better option. The total cost for 3 of us, including tax/tip/$40 albarino was $250. It was tough to watch the table in front of us open the menu, chat quietly, tell the waitress that it was too expensive and walk out, but I understand. I'll probably need to find a new neighborhood sushi restaurant, too.

Oh, the food was excellent. The grilled arctic char included a cut of fillet and a cut of belly, a nice comparison. Our sashimi came resting resting on banana leaves, over a bowl of ice to keep it cool, and both the toro and the hamachi were as good as I've had. All the presentations were lovely, and the waitstaff (all familiar faces) has clearly undergone extensive training

I was terribly jealous of the plates whizzing by to those who had elected for the tasting menu. I can't wait to try it. I'm just sad that my neighborhood sushi restaurant, my once-a-week fish joint, has turned into a $100-a-pop special occasion place.

They plan to open for lunch on thursday or friday, but I'm bracing myself for a $25 bento box.

Alex

I am truly hoping that he opens a new version of the old Taro in a new location... The timing of this change is somewhat inexplicable given what's going on with the economy. You would hope that restaurant owners would understand how dire the economic situation is and take things downscale if anything (for their sakes as well as their customers), but then again, it's their prerogative to do whatever they'd like. And you do build a venture like this with the long-term in mind... but I still want the old Sushi Taro (or something like it) back for selfish reasons.

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squidsdc   
I am truly hoping that he opens a new version of the old Taro in a new location... The timing of this change is somewhat inexplicable given what's going on with the economy. You would hope that restaurant owners would understand how dire the economic situation is and take things downscale if anything (for their sakes as well as their customers), but then again, it's their prerogative to do whatever they'd like. And you do build a venture like this with the long-term in mind... but I still want the old Sushi Taro (or something like it) back for selfish reasons.

There's a spot on 19th street which would do perfectly! :rolleyes:

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brr   
They plan to open for lunch on thursday or friday, but I'm bracing myself for a $25 bento box.

Alex

Any word on lunch options? Website seems to be down. God I loved this place for lunch before they closed!

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brr   
They plan to open for lunch on thursday or friday, but I'm bracing myself for a $25 bento box.

Alex

Actually the bento box is $40 :rolleyes: "Seasonal Tenshin Bento (available with advanced order)"

hmmm, mixed bag for lunch - you can still get the daily lunch special for $12 which represents a 20% increase from before but a fairly manageable $2....you can also get Katsu Don and hot and cold noodles for $12

sushi starts at $15 for 6 nigiri plus 1 roll, there are also $25 and $35 sushi options

some (maybe all) dishes now come with a piping hot egg custard soup dotted with some shitakes and a few other buried treats, plus miso soup

room is nicely done....no sushi bar

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Went in for a quick dinner the other week; quick, because my friend had a train to catch. This was poor planning on my part, I confess. We ended up on 17th a little after 5, to notice that they didn't open until 5:30. I say "notice", but what I really mean is that there is no signage of hours at all, and I had to bring up the webpage on my phone. We elected to wait; my friend was craving sushi, and I was curious to see how things had changed.

5:30 came and went with no sign of motion. I called the restaurant. "Hi, when do you open?" "We don't open until 5:30." "Um... what time is it now?" ".. 5:30" "..."

The door eventually opened a few minutes later; I really don't think they expect diners right at 5:30.

The space is lovely, although I am kicking myself for not stopping by when they closed and asking to buy all of the old perforated-metal screens and dividers. Bathrooms are relocated to behind the hostess counter, and it looks like they have a private dining room in what used to be part of the kitchen on the P street side.

Our waitress was a familiar face, and she'd definitely been studying up on the various dishes. I felt somewhat bad for just wanting to look at the menu and not have everything described to me. Also, while I enjoyed talking to her, I was there to talk with my friend, so much of it was lost on me out of impatience.

Clearly, the a-la-carte menu is more of an afterthought; they really really really want you to order the fixed-price menu, and they really really really want you to order alcohol. Unfortunately, my friend does not drink, and I was driving him to the train station, and we did not want the fixed-price menu, nor could we linger for hours.

The biggest loss for me was the seaweed salad; they do not have it. "You can still get edamame!" Well, I could, but I didn't really want edamame... I miss the seaweed salad. On the plus side, refills of soft drinks are now gratis where before they were not.

The fish was excellent, and had been delivered that afternoon. We didn't get anything exotic, just some sashimi and nigri. We *did* however linger for dessert, which was as excellent as ever. The green tea ice cream was now a toasted green tea; it came out a golden color, with an incredibly complex flavour. I also got matcha ice cream mochi, which was very intense. Alternating between the two was interesting. My friend initially thought he did not like the toasted green tea ice cream, but it quickly grew on him. When our waitress ascertained that he was from out of town, he was quick to assure her that he felt the restaurant was a worthy destination for a New Yorker; but I suspect that the desserts might have in fact stolen the show from the fish or the space.

It was good, but I am still sad to have lost my neighborhood sushi restaurant. I *am* pleased to note that they still have soups at lunch, and will probably be over for lunch soon. Dinner, however, is likely off this college student's menu for a while. There were several more tables occupied when we left, but I suspect that the recession means I am not the only person regretfully finding another sushi restaurant. I hope in the end this works out for them, I really do. But, oof. Expensive.

Afterwards, I hurtled across town with liberal application of horn and bravado, and my friend boarded the train with two minutes to spare.

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The omakase here is nirvana (or as close to nirvana as you're going to get in DC) for raw fish lovers. For your choice of sashimi and sushi, they had 6 trays of fresh seafood to choose from, each tray bearing 3 to 4 types of fish. Naturally we said we want to try them all, other than 1 tray which had salmon roe, sea urchin, steamed baby clams and boiled octopus leg (had them all before). Other dishes included your choice of fried fish (we chose a small Japanese rockfish which is edible in its entirety after the chef cleaned out the innards), your choice of grilled fish (some other kind of Japanese fish - presumably flown in from Japan), your choice of soup (snapping turtle for us), a steamed prawn topped with sea urchin.

The order of the courses were - 4 appetizers (sea urchin served on top of tofu, small marinated mackerels, a small piece of grilled fish with bok choy, abalone with steamed vegetables), sashimi, fried fish, grilled fish, soup, steamed prawn, and then sushi.

Not every course was delicious but enough to vault this place to the top on the Japanese restaurant foodchain. Maybe Makoto will respond by changing their omakase?

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Sthitch   

It is worth every penny. The cherry blossom shochu, the Sweet Fish with Bok Choy, and anything severed raw were the highlights, the mealy New Zealand prawn was far and away the lowlight. Don’t go expecting to load up on sushi, we were served two pieces and it was plenty to finish off such a large meal.

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It is worth every penny. The cherry blossom shochu, the Sweet Fish with Bok Choy, and anything severed raw were the highlights, the mealy New Zealand prawn was far and away the lowlight. Don’t go expecting to load up on sushi, we were served two pieces and it was plenty to finish off such a large meal.

I had a salad for lunch yesterday and still managed to gain 1 pound from eating basically just protein (okay, there were 3 kirin drafts too).

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I had lunch here today. I ordered the bara chirashi which came with chawanmushi. I love chawanmushi with it's wonderfully brothy custard and bits of shrimp and lotus seeds in it. The chirashi was gorgeous when it came out - bits of salmon, tuna, mushroom, egg, shredded egg omelet, seaweed, eel and some other white fish I couldn't identify, some type of pickled veg, and ikura (salmon eggs). The fish just wasn't that good, and really just looks like trimmings. One of the pieces of salmon was sinewy and I had to spit out some of it. Any delicacy was also overwhelmed by shiso leaves. The two times I've had lunch here since it reopened leaves something to be desired.

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