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Found 156 results

  1. So, I've been watching this spot at 910 17th Street, you know somewhere between Suntrust Bank and Firehook Bakery, two places not too far from my Metro stops that I visit with some frequency. The place is still under construction, but on the sign that covers the glass front there's a quote from someone I have never heard of raving about Chef Miguel Choy (and making reference to his restaurant Yuzu in London. Instead of being so cynical, I want to say that I hope this place is good! The fact that Mervis Diamonds and (sorry) Chevy Chase Bank are the other two businesses on the block worries me a bit. So, what's the dilio? <edited for fiction and grammar>
  2. darkstar965 had the constraint of neighborhood, driving him to Raku II, we had the constraint of a late (3 PM) lunch - most places in town had closed, but Japonica was serving until 4:30. Japonica opened in 1978, and has received more than its share of press in its decades of existence - if you go to their website, you'll see plenty of rave reviews, including some "Best Of" mentions, but they're undated, and my how standards have changed in the past thirty years. I made the mistake of thinking I'd walk from Columbus Circle to Japonica in about an hour. Doable, of course, but not walking smack dab through the middle of Times Square the week between Christmas and New Years. Bad, bad, idea, Don, and for block after block, the crowd density was such that I was barely moving. Fifty minutes into my walk, I wasn't even halfway there, and got a text message from Sasha saying, "I'm at a table." Whoops, time to cab. After that hectic walk, walking into a nearly empty Japonica was exactly the comforting experience I needed, its well-worn but attractive feel just oozing comfort - I apologized for being late, and immediately ordered a cup of tea. Sasha used to work in this neighborhood, and knows the restaurant well, having been here many times. 'You can always find something good here,' was the distillation of his thoughts. And we sure did: an appetizer of Yasai Tempura ($13.50) was, for me, the highlight of the meal. "It's all Japanese pumpkin," our server advised us, and when it arrived we dug right in - an ample portion of perhaps eight wedges, perfectly fried in clean oil, brought to life by its dipping sauce. It was just the heat and the bulk we needed to round out our sashimi and sushi (it actually more than "rounded out" everything; we over-ordered, plain and simple). Sasha had ordered a favorite of his, a plate of Yakko-Tofu ($6.00), served unadorned except for some scallion and some soy sauce. This was a satisfying dish - for me, there are "different tofus for different situations," but if I had just one texture and prep to have for the rest of my life, this would be it. Plain, unfussy, and of pretty good quality - this type of presentation is in danger of being served too cold (often pulled from a 40-degree refrigerator), but this was merely cool, and correctly so. The raw fish arrived next, a mixture of Sake Maki ($9 + $2 for inside-out), and our guilty luxury, two pieces each of sashimi from the daily-special list: Yellowtail ($5.50 each) and Blue Fin Tuna (a painful $7.75 each). While I was disturbed at the price of these, I was equally astounded at the portion sizes - the roll was very large, really too large for single bites, and the sashimi was larger still, absolutely a double portion. I understand that people have primal cravings for massive amounts of raw fish (and I do, too); Sasha mentioned he brought a Japanese friend here a few years ago, and the critique was that the fish was cut too large, tilting things out of balance. I agree (though the caveman in me really did appreciate the quantity, I must admit). There's no doubt about it, we ordered too much for a "light lunch" - the tally, before tip, was just under $70 which was fair value for what we had. We both left happy, sated, and more than just a little primed for eight hours of wine tasting and dining soon to follow. Cheers, Rocks
  3. Looking for a last minute, good quality, moderately priced sushi place in NY isn't an easy task. There are so many in the mid range. And, most of those are pretty bad, comically overpriced, or both. And, we had an additional constraint of neighborhood. That's what led us to this small, non-descript spot at the corner of 76th and Columbus on the Upper West Side. And, it delivered big time. On the cost/quality spectrum, it compares most favorably to spots in DC like Sakana in Dupont or Kotobuki on MacArthur. But it's better. A "boat" for two, served on a large wooden boat, was a deal at $55 with very generous portions of varied but traditional rolls, sashimi and sushi. Three thick slices each of white tuna, salmon and rich maguro. Big dragon roll. Cali roll. Sushi pairs of salmon, tuna, hamachi and ebi. More sashimi included four each of red snapper and fluke. A few others I can't recall. And, miso and a green salad included. We'd come in starving so ordered a dozen more sashimi split between tamago, yellowtail and For the special occasion or expense account meal where real innovation and ultra high grade fish is desired, this of course isn't it. For that, Azuba, Yashuda, or Gari all work nicely at maybe $250-$500 for a couple depending on the normal a la carte and drink variables. But, for an ample and surprisingly good assortment of the familiar a la carte sushi/omakase type offerings at very reasonable prices, tough to do much better than Raku II just north of Columbus Circle.
  4. We had dinner on Friday night at Hwaro, the (mostly) Korean half of a two-restaurant combo (the other half is Norito, described as an "authentic Japanese Brasserie"). This is a relatively new restaurant on Rockville Pike in the same plaza as Penzey's Spices. The panchan were good and plentiful, and my Jap Chae was pretty good (my frame of reference is limited, but the noodles were good and the flavor was great). We'll return to do BBQ some night, and will almost certainly go to Norito soon to check it out as well (and maybe pick up a bento box for lunch some afternoon).
  5. This place was my intro to sushi. I used to live a few blocks away from there and hit it up about once a week. It comes off as sort of non-descript from the outside and even a little on the inside (they could have remodeled, I haven't been since '02); however the sushi still remains some of the best I've ever had. I remember eating something that they called "deep sea fish liver" and to this day I can't remember what kind of fish it came from.
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