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  1. This has become a regular stop for us in NYC, or at least on the last 4 visits. It is a branch of a chain of two restaurants in Roppongi executed in much the same style here though larger and with the addition of sushi. Our visit last year happened to be when they were having a special event to introduce Ten Qoo farm raised bluefin tuna. The tuna then was amazing in quality and the special tuna cutting ceremony impressed our then 3 yr old daughter enough that this is now her favorite restaurant. The other theatre that they do is a nightly mochi pounding though usually too late for our kids' bedtimes. The main theatrical element of Inakaya is the chefs cook in front of you and serve the food and drinks directly at the counter on long paddles. One warning about Inakaya is that the prices of the a la carte menu are comparable or even more expensive than Tokyo prices, especially for many of the fish offerings. The saving grace is that they have several set menu offerings which moderate the pricing and provide a good variety of foods. Set menus come with a variety of kushi yaki and a main course of some other kushi yaki, sushi or fish. Kushi yaki we had included eringi and shitake mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, ginko nuts, potato, sato imo/Japanese sweet potato, chicken thigh, chicken meatballs (tsukune), okra, and beef. Nothing out of the ordinary. Also had sushi which was on par with table service at Sushi Taro and much better than sushi ko or Kaz, in my experience at those places. (Kaz is the most overrated sushi place in this city in my opinion). Pieces included were ama ebi, kanpachi, hamachi, salmon, unagi, and what I think was red snapper/tai. Since we were splitting it, I don't remember what some of the other pieces were that others ate. Last main course was the ubiquitous black cod with miso glaze which was very good and a nice size filet. A la carte additions for the kids were grilled onigiri (rice balls) and an avocado roll. Have no idea how the avocado roll was since our 20 month old devoured it and wouldn't share. Kushi is probably the closest comparison with regard to menu, though I've not been to Kushi in a while. The quality of the food is much better at Inakaya and what really sets it apart from Kushi is the service. Servers know how to serve and pace the meal here much better than Kushi ever has for us. Going with the set menus helps to keep the price down here as well.
  2. I couldn't find any postings on this place, so if there is a topic, mods, please move! Big space in the Yards development, open for lunch and dinner, decorated like Regent Thai. This is one metro stop from us, and when I get the itch for Thai and can't get to the burbs, this will scratch the itch adequately. If you want something other than typical bar food before or after a Nats game, you could do worse. The spicing was fairly aggressive, in a good way. Staff seems nice, if a bit distracted. After your meal, you can walk along the river on the extraordinary path from Navy Yard to Nats Stadium. This is not relevatory food, but it's a nice addition to the 'hood and perfectly convenient for those of us in the food wasteland that is Southwest.
  3. Has someone already started a thread for this new place? I didn't see one. Anyways it got a sound thrashing by someone on Tom's chat and I was just wondering if anyone else had tried it out. I saw it opened and was reallllly hoping for a go to sushi place near home.
  4. Anyone been yet? It looks fast-foody, but if it's quality sushi, I'll look beyond the decor and signage!
  5. We eat sushi 3-5 times a week and regularly debate the best place. Last night, we went to the "new" Sushi Taro", with great anticipation. However, while it was a good meal, we were frankly disappointed. It led me to wonder what is the best sushi place in DC area right now. Thoughts?
  6. I tweeted this yesterday afternoon, having a terrible craving for raw seafood - raw bar or sashimi - yesterday at around 3:15 PM. I really tried: Makoto, closed Kotobuki, closed Murasaki, closed Yosaku, closed Blacksalt, closed Black's Bar & Kitchen, closed Clyde's, open but no raw bar (!) I was shocked to walk in and find this out Sushi-Ko, closed Hinata, closed Satsuma, not answering their phone with weird recording on it Freddy's, closed Kanpai, closed Tako Grill, closed I mean, that is *really* trying - I tried *all* of these places, to no avail. Giving up, I saw Maki Maki on my right, heading northbound on Wisconsin, and it was OPEN! :) I walked into a completely empty restaurant, ordered a Pot of Green Tea ($1.99), and gratefully placed an order for sashimi. You simply have no idea how grateful I was to have found this restaurant open - can you imagine having gone through all that rigmarole? I ordered 3 orders of sashimi, and a maki roll: Salmon, Yellowtail, Octopus ($4.50 for 3 incredibly generously cut pieces for each order) and an Alaska Roll ($4.50) which was salmon and avocado. The plate came with standard ginger, powdered wasabi, and the fish was sitting atop shredded daikon radish (a guilty pleasure of mine is dunking this in a little soy sauce and enjoying it, rather than treating it simply as a backdrop). As I was finishing my shocking good sushi (all three items were above-average in quality, and only $1.50 per thick slice), I ordered a fourth order of sashimi, Red Clam ($4.50) to have before I finished my maki roll. The fish was no doubt frozen - in fact, one of the gentlemen brought out a plastic-wrapped cylinder of octopus that was as hard as a brick, in order to let it thaw for the upcoming dinner hour. So I bear no illusions in terms of freshness, but I don't care - the octopus, salmon, and yellowtail were all *very* good, and only the red clam was mediocre (and stingily portioned). The maki roll was okay, but not as good as the first three orders of sashimi. With tax, I got out for $25.95, and considering how strong my craving was, I was happy to pay it. I've never before worked so hard to find raw seafood. Maki Maki is worth knowing about, especially on Monday afternoons at 3:30 PM. Thank you, my friends, for being open. Note the delivery options, and with the takeout menu, they have $5 off of dinner delivery with a minimum order of $50. I'd load up on sashimi, although I suspect that with a mass order, you won't get near the same thick cuts that I was fortunate enough to receive. They also advertise that they serve brown rice, although I don't see that as a particular asset. Cheers, Rocks
  7. Aroi Thai Sushi Bar Coming To Bloomingdale by Prince of Petworth. They lost me at "Thai Sushi". I am hopeful, however, we need another good place to eat around here other than Boundary Stone.
  8. On a whim (or, it could have been a $20 Wednesday) I headed to Han Sung with Erin, several Baltimore chowhounds (BaltoEllen, Britboy, Dzoey, Crowsonguy) friends and spouses to check it out. This is a small, spare, home-style storefront, with friendly staff and lively families scattered around. There were eight Korean dinner entrees listed in English, and about six others only in Korean. The rest of the menu is Japanese. Since the waitstaff speaks very little English, we communicated as best we could that we would like them to bring out a selection of typical Korean dishes for all of us to share, and a couple of soups as well. As a result of the language barrier, and the fact that all the dishes pretty much arrived at once after the soups, without time for explanations, we're not entirely sure what everything was, but it all sure was tasty! This is not a place to compare to what you will find in New York's Koreatown, the panchan are a half-dozen simple preparations, there are no grills, and the dishes generally lack the complexity or fire one would find elsewhere. Highlights included the two soups - Man Doo Gook? - a mild ground meat and ginger dumpling soup with rice threads, and a spicier soup that seemed to have tongue and tendon included. Also, the Pa Jon (Hae mool?) was fabulous- a huge crispy rice flour pancake stuffed with scallion and shrimp. There was a moderaltely spicy squid dish that really was tender and fresh. The pork and bulgoki dishes were not typical brazier style, but also very flavorful and tender. Not sure about the fish - possibly salted deep fried croaker? was more bones than meat - tough going. Bibimbap was home-style comfort food, but we had to ask for the redbean paste that usually accompanies it. By the time we realized we were not going to be served the hwae du bop we were too stuffed to ask for it. We saw it on other tables and it looked wonderful. Total damage was an amazing $16 per, before drinks and tip. All in all, a good adventure into the hinterlands.
  9. While walking down Wilson Boulevard towards Clarendon the other day, before I hit the 7-11, there was a plaque in a field by the sidewalk. It noted a failed restaurant, and said it had been the nation's only combination "sushi and cigar bar". The plaque looks new - has anyone else seen it? It's actually ON the ground, not on a stand, so you won't see it unless you're walking. If I get a chance, I'm going to take a picture of it soon...
  10. I noticed a flashy new sign on Connecticut Avenue for someplace called Current Sushi. The website says that it is a restaurant/lounge complete with a DJ and bottle service (and what lounge would not be complete without the note that you can "see or be seen"). I could be surprised and this could be a grand new addition to the area, but from the website it looks to be more about the glitz than the food (only one of the many pictures on the site shows any food). In any case I will wait for others to report.
  11. 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>
  12. Tim Carman is doing some of the last great food reporting in this city. Here's his latest piece, entitled, "Sushi Standards and the American Way."
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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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