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malokd

Nasime, Chef Yuh Shimomura's Wonderful Japanese Kaiseki-Like Menu - King Street in Old Town Alexandria

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malokd   

This restaurant just opened up on a relatively dead strip of King Street.  The chef is from Kaz.  They offer primarily a Japanese set menu, similar to Kaiseke but less delicate.  We had dinner there earlier this week and were pretty pleased with the food, particularly since it was opening week.  My wife is a pescatarian and they were accommodating with advance notice.

  Courses consisted of

1: Sashimi platter--scallop, salmon, tuna(lean),grouper,sweet shrimp--the fish was excellent in quality on par with Ogawa in the city and Takumi ( variety was more pedestrian than both), fresh wasabi

2: Probably the most interesting: Lotus and Eggplant Age-Dashi --- Two slices of lotus root sandwiched around a shrimp mousse  and two slices of eggplant with crab in the middle--both fried and in a dashi.  The lotus root in particular was really good.  The eggplant was cooked perfectly and meltingly tender but the crab stuffing was not as good as the shrimp mousse. The dashi needed a bit more salt but was quite good

3: Kurobota pork tenderloin fried in a panko crust with a coated and fried mushroom:  The pork was cooked perfectly--just a little rare but overally this was a boring but good dish

4: grilled black cod:  this was given to my wife in lieu of the pork--this was the only dish that failed--- fish was overcooked and oversalted

5: In place of the Oxtail Ramen on the menu they gave us Tuna tempura with soba noodle soup.  The tuna was fried to a perfect rare and did not overcook in the broth.  Broth was tasty.

6: Desert was a Japanese sweet potato custard---this was fine, nothing special.

Set menu was $47 a person---very reasonable for the amount of food.  We will definitely be back in a month or so after they have been in business a while longer.  For Old Town this is a major score given the dearth of non-tourist trap restaurants.  The chef is definitely serious about his food and I will happy to see him succeed in this market.

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DonRocks   
On 11/4/2016 at 8:06 AM, malokd said:

This restaurant just opened up on a relatively dead strip of King Street.  The chef is from Kaz.  They offer primarily a Japanese set menu, similar to Kaiseke but less delicate.  We had dinner there earlier this week and were pretty pleased with the food, particularly since it was opening week.  My wife is a pescatarian and they were accommodating with advance notice.

...

Set menu was $47 a person---very reasonable for the amount of food.  We will definitely be back in a month or so after they have been in business a while longer.  For Old Town this is a major score given the dearth of non-tourist trap restaurants.  The chef is definitely serious about his food and I will happy to see him succeed in this market.

I fell behind reading and organizing posts, and just now came across this post about Nasime.

HELLO?!

This is nowhere on the internet, and sounds just as exciting as Takumi (which is far-and-away the best, most important Japanese restaurant in Northern Virginia). Has anyone else tried Nasime? malokd, you may have unearthed a really exciting restaurant - I'm not trying to make diamonds from coal, but this "reads" like it could be a big deal.

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On 11/4/2016 at 1:20 PM, malokd said:

sake and japanese beers, suntory highballs

and wine. Per glass prices of most beverages about $7-15 (except for the Dassai). Sake and wine bottles uniformly priced at four times the cost of a glass.

First course was a simmered dish containing ikura, uni, blue crab, and matsutake. Instead of pork tenderloin, the fried dish was oysters. The "ramen" had an oxtail broth and somen (?) noodles. Great value. I can see coming back often and rarely having the same meal. Everyone is careful to note this is not kaiseki. Dishes are combined unlike, I think, they would be in Japan. Maybe call it idiosyncratic omakase?

One chef and one server. A pair of two-tops, one four-top, six counter seats, and a banquette seating six. Comparable to Makoto in square footage, but Nasime is contemporary, brighter, and more comfortable. So make a reservation or visit during a slow weekday (Tuesday or Wednesday).

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sweth   

Add another endorsement for this place.  Stopped by last night, and had a great meal:

  • Spanish cod cheek ni-oroshi. Fried cod in a dashi.  Very nice.
  • Otsukuri. Sashimi of conch, bluefin, spanish mackerel, salmon, and one or two other fish that I've forgotten but that were all some of the best quality fish I've had in a long time (and I've spent much of the last year on pacific islands gorging on seafood.) Special bonus--I almost always ask for ponzu sauce w/ sashimi because I find that soy overwhelms really good quality fish, but I didn't have to here, as the fish was accompanied by a very nice and light ponzu jelly.
  • West Coast Oyster Eggplant Dengaku. This was my favorite course.  Perfectly fried meaty oysters with charred sweet eggplant.
  • Maine Lobster Miso Ramen.  My least favorite course, but it was also very good; shiro miso, butter, and corn made a rich and creamy broth that turned the entire thing into kind of a New England-style clam & corn chowder gone upscale, but I honestly would have preferred a nice pork ramen and then some lobster w/ butter on the side. :)
  • Cantaloupe ice cream, which turned out to actually be cantaloupe ice cream, red bean(?) ice cream, chilled cantaloupe, and rose water jelly.

The kaiseki menu is $48 + tax/tip; they also have a few a la carte items in the $6-20 range, although I think I saw a note saying that they don't offer those until after 830pm.  Service was a little off just because it appears to basically be a two-person show--Chef Yuh, and what appears to be a relatively new waitress, Vera--and I arrived just before they were closing down, but they were both very attentive and I'm sure as they get settled in, the (very tiny) kinks will get ironed out.  Alcohol runs from $7 (for a suntory highball or a beer) to $25 for some of the higher-end sakes and wines (per glass; per-bottle prices were ~$40-150).

Just in terms of quality of food, I'd put this place easily on par with Kaz and Makoto (or at least my memories of meals there, since it has been literally years since I have been to either of them).

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Every single dish was different than the last post. 

Uni topped lobster in turnip soup

Sashimi 

Some sort of fish with yam and a great sauce cooked in a big lead.

Pork belly made like a bibimbop

Roasted apple ice cream, soy ginger tapioca balls.

Game changer for Old Town

TS from WP came last week. They called for pictures with the chef today.

Go before you can't. Dope.

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Well, I called it "pork belly" above, which is a fatty, boneless cut of meat from the belly of a pig. It was crisp on the outside and soft underneath. It fell apart with a fork. I don't know - it's like most pork belly. Not sure what you're asking. It had sauce, vegetables, a soft fried egg, and rice. You stir it up before eating. 

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Bart   

Mark me down as a fan!  Went last night with my wife and we loved the place.  In deference to the chef, I will not write a seven page review, but I'll just say we loved every course and can't wait to go back.  It was a new and different experience for us, mostly because our knowledge of Japanese cuisine doesn't extend too far beyond sushi, but I'm excited to learn more here.  The waitress said they have a new menu every day, but usually it only changes a little each day, however, she said what we had last night were all dishes she hadn't seen before (except the sashimi which they do every day with different fish).

IMG_8741.JPG

The first course: 

IMG_8689.JPG

Sashimi

IMG_8697.JPG

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Bart   
On 12/22/2016 at 9:21 PM, Simul Parikh said:

Game changer for Old Town

TS from WP came last week. They called for pictures with the chef today.

Go before you can't. Dope.

All good things to say from Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post.

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DonRocks   
On 12/31/2016 at 3:14 PM, Marty L. said:

Darn -- now we'll never be able to get in on the day of, after seeing the menu . . . .

I called tonight at 6:15 for a party of 3, and we got in at the time of our choosing (6:45-7 PM), at the chef's counter.

Any other long-extinct myths you want dispelled? :P 

As sweth noted a month ago, the price has gone up from $47 to $48 - prepare for it to increase closer to $60.

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Bart   
8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I called tonight at 6:15 for a party of 3, and we got in at the time of our choosing (6:45-7 PM), at the chef's counter.

Any other long-extinct myths you want dispelled? :P 

As sweth noted a month ago, the price has gone up from $47 to $48 - prepare for it to increase closer to $60.

You got a table 30 minutes after you called?  Is that what you're saying?  

Any details on the meal?

Regarding the "price increase", I wonder if the original $47 price quote (1st post in this thread) wasn't a typo.  The Washingtonian article was published 2 days before the first post here and Jessica Sidman has it listed as a $48 meal

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DonRocks   
2 hours ago, Bart said:

You got a table 30 minutes after you called?  Is that what you're saying?  

Any details on the meal?

Regarding the "price increase", I wonder if the original $47 price quote (1st post in this thread) wasn't a typo.  The Washingtonian article was published 2 days before the first post here and Jessica Sidman has it listed as a $48 meal

The first post must have been a typo.

Yes, that's what I'm saying, and I'll review the meal in a later post.

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Bart   
1 hour ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I'm just called and got a reservation for this weekend....

I hope it meets your standard for authenticity.  ;)

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ktmoomau   

Wow.  I loved this place.  It really reminded me of places that we went in Japan.  The restaurant was hard to find- they have no sign hanging, only window-front, if you make it to Olio- you've gone too far.  Small and well composed.  We got reservations for Saturday night- I called and left a message on the res line, the call wasn't returned, so I called on Friday night to the normal line- they said they were working on glitches with the res line.  But were very nice.  I got a recommendation on two sakes, I tried one and then the other.  We started with a delicious red grouper with ankimo puree and ponzu oroshi- this was delicious- the puree was fresh, and not like a creamy puree, but more like a grated puree that tasted so fresh, I wanted to eat every bite in the bowl, I was scooping up puree with roasted brussels sprout.  The next course was a sashimi course with lobster, tuna and a few other bites.  I liked the plating on this dish and each bite was delicious.  Next up was a maple leaf duck and eggplant with maitake ankake.  This dish was good, but not the best of the night, but it made sense in the progression.  The duck was very good and I ate my and Hubby's mushrooms, I thought the weak point was the eggplant, which was a bit mushy and the gravy was just too emulsified and gravy like.  We then had a tasmanian trout with japanese risotto so to say- a hot pot of rice and fish eggs- ikura zosui.  This was a great dish the fish eggs were little warm umami bombs, with great fish and rice, composed, but super comforting.  This was so warm and good on a cold night, it was really, really good and in the moment.  For dessert there was chestnut ice cream (although I would guess based on texture it was non-dairy ice cream, I took a dairy pill just in case, but...) with coconut gelee, matcha cream.  There was sweet potato in there somewhere, but not quite sure where.  I really liked the dessert- it was re-assuring in it's reminder of Japanese desserts we had there- not to sweet, great texture.  The couple next to us was celebrating a birthday and had red mung bean spring rolls- I wanted one of those!  I think this is a type of restaurant that DC has been missing- and for it to first pop up in Alexandria- surprising.  I want to go back and see what they have next!  I am so impressed to find a Japanese restaurant daring not to have sushi, and to be doing a tasting menu that changes so frequently- it was really refreshing.  It felt like somewhere off the street in Kyoto.  One small, but important complaint though- I wish they would have better chopsticks, the ones they have are thick and somewhat uncomfortable in the fingers.  Everything else was great- the space was minimal, but I had space to talk with Hubby and it felt so intimate.  The service was very, very nice and competent.

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Bart   
53 minutes ago, ktmoomau said:

 I am so impressed to find a Japanese restaurant daring not to have sushi, and to be doing a tasting menu that changes so frequently- it was really refreshing.  It felt like somewhere off the street in Kyoto.  

I just checked the menu they currently have online and it has no resemblance to yours at all!  I don't know if they already have next week's menu up, or just that they can't keep up with the changes in the kitchen.  But I agree, it is very daring to have a Japanese restaurant with a set menu which you aren't fully aware of until you're experiencing it.  Let's hope this is the beginning of a new wave of unusualness in Old Town.

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ktmoomau   
11 hours ago, Bart said:

  I don't know if they already have next week's menu up, or just that they can't keep up with the changes in the kitchen.  

They said they change the menu every day, and based on all the posts I believe it.  Which is good if you like trying new things, but bad if you read someone's post and something sounds really good!  

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malokd   

Went back for our second visit last week.  Food was just as good( if not better) than our first.

1) Snapper stuffed with tofu topped with uni

2) Sashimi plate

3) Fried oyster in a roasted hatcho miso( miso was roasted on a leaf--- i remember a similar presentation in Japan)

4) Menu had oxtail ramen, since we don't eat beef they made a ramen with sea bream head--the meat was excellent--gelatinous and rich off the collar--the perfect cut of fish to stand up to a braise

5) Matcha ice cream with agar jellies and red bean paste spring roll--the ice cream rocked--not over sweetened.  Was really good

What a win for Old town

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JimCo   

We visited Nasime before Christmas. It's exciting to have a restaurant in Old Town that's exploring Japanese cuisine outside of sushi. I had left a message on the reservation line and received a return call on the same day. While I had requested a seat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, we arrived to find them all full. No big deal.

The service was extremely friendly. We requested help in selecting a bottle of sake. I don't remember now what we chose, but it was terrific. It was described as being like a bold red and that was accurate. I also appreciated the beer is all genuine Japanese imports. Our menu that night consisted of the following:

1 - Sake Steamed Tile Fish w/ Uni. I'm not normally a fan of uni, but I enjoyed his.

2- Sashimi. Consisted of salmon, yellowtail and two other fish I hadn't heard of. This was some of the best sashimi I've ever had.

3 - Grilled Fillet Mignon w/ Eggplant Miso. This was the big miss of the night. There was no char on the beef and it was mushy. Combined with the eggplant miso, it was a one-note dish both in texture and flavor.

4 - Oregon Black Truffle & Turkey Ramen. I assume the turkey was a nod to the Christmas season. I thought the broth was pretty good, but the turkey meatballs were dry.

5 - Honey-Dew Ice Cream. I'm not a dessert eater, but this was a refreshing way to end the meal.

Overall, I wanted to like Nasime more than I wound up actually liking Nasime that night. The fish preparations were clearly the strong suit with the meat dishes just a little off. I'm still anxious to go back however, because this is a small, unique restaurant that I think will only get better. 

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