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  1. Anyone have a place they swear by in the District itself that's roughly comparable, in price and quality, to Takumi? The sushi version of Seki, say? (I know some of you think the omakase at Ogawa is excellent, but because of the $$, I'd only go there for special occasions. Same w/Taro's omakase.) Happy hour at Taro fits the bill, obviously, but that requires advance planning and a wait in line. How's the new, Chinatown location of Sushi Capitol? I haven't been to Nama or Kaz in a long time. Recent reports? Gakyu? Perry's, even? Others?
  2. Takeshi Sushi and Ramen has had a soft opening in Courthouse, at the corner of Wilson and Barton (under Rooftop and next to Delhi Dhaba), where the Subway was for years. We are likely to be regular customers for their terrific tonkatsu ramen. They have not had their official opening yet, so for example, their soda machine had not been delivered yet as of last night (though originally it was supposed to have been there last week, they told us, but the vendor changed the dates at the last minute). They do not have a sign up yet with their name, though you can see Japanese lanterns in the window. According to Arlnow, they will be adding more dishes by the time of their grand opening sometime in June. Currently, the menu has multiple ramen options, some don options (fish or meat or vegetable on top of rice), and a page of sushi options. We had excellent ramen there last night. I had the shoyu ramen as I wanted something very light last night, and it was excellent. The abundant noodles were very good and springy and the broth was light and very tasty. Although I ordered chicken shoyu ramen, they asked if I wanted to try some pork as well, and the pork they put in was so good (better than the chicken pieces, which were perfectly good, but couldn't match the rich flavor of the pork). The toppings included a very nice soft-boiled egg (I think cured or marinated), scallions, a fish cake with a pink swirl on top (I liked it though I wasn't sure what it was at the time - I've had them before in ramen but never looked up what they were - after googling I think it was narutomaki), corn (I wondered if that was a gesture to American palates, but looked up ramen toppings afterwards and it looks like they're often used in Japan), and pieces of lettuce or cabbage (that seemed unusual to me and I didn't end up eating them, but again I see on looking it up that cabbage is not an uncommon topping in Japan). From the pictures on yelp, it looks like they sometimes have microgreens on top. My husband had the tonkotsu ramen, which is what I tend to order at ramen places, and it was outstanding, creamy and rich and flavorful and delicious. I will get that next time and we are definitely going back. We both tipped our bowls to get the last of our broths. They asked if we wanted our ramen spicy, and neither of us eat spicy food (I eat a little spicy food but not last night), so we declined. Another customer got the spicy ramen and they asked him how spicy - he said medium this time and he'll see if next time he wants more. That customer also got some avocado-topped sushi. I must admit that for sushi, I will not be your reviewer, as I am not a raw fish eater and generally stick with Boston rolls (which they have on their menu), eel (which they have), other rolls with cooked shrimp/crab/lobster, and tamago. But I hope to go with a friend who loves sushi and hear what she says. The owner or manager was friendly and chatted with us a bit, and told us that the chef had trained to make ramen (and sushi, I think) in Japan. The owner and chef apparently moved here from Japan not that long ago, and this is their first restaurant in America. https://www.arlnow.com/2019/05/24/takeshi-sushi-and-ramen-now-open-in-courthouse/
  3. Zeppelin with sushi and yakitori opened on March 4, 2019, at 1544 9th St, NW, in the former Shaw Bijou and French Quarter Brasserie location. Website From Washingtonian:
  4. The Lady and I had a hankering for local sushi on a Friday night, so we headed to Osaka....but now, it's Izumi. Owned by UnCha Howard and her husband since last summer, the interior hasn't changed much since its Osaka days. UnCha Howard is Korean, and there are many Korean dishes on the menu. The daily special was seafood BiBimBap, for example, but Lady KN and I went there to enjoy the sushi. We ordered a solid $100 worth of nigiri and rolls, all of which came out on a wooden boat. The kitchen sent out a baby octopus amuse, and they were braised nicely, almost sweet. The rest of the fish was pristine, and the rolls were delicious. The tuna and salmon were excellent, and looked fresh with bright shimmering colors, as well as very clean taste. The mackerel was as clean as it gets, with decidedly non-fishy taste. The Spider Roll and Spicy Dragon Roll were really good. We would return for the sushi, but now I'm thinking I have to check out this kitchen's Korean bona fides. Annandale is next door, but Korean food in Springfield needed a shot in the arm, and maybe UnCha Howard will provide it.
  5. Have been indulging in Ariake for years (since they opened in 2005) - the original location is a stand-alone across from Hunter's Woods Shopping Plaza in Reston, a block off Reston Parkway. If coming off the Dulles Toll Road, instead of going towards the RTC, go the opposite direction; obviously various mapping services will get you there easily, more pointing out for those less familiar. I am a selective when it comes to sushi - Ariake has experiences Chef's, daily specials for lunch and dinner, and it is a decent sized restaurant if you want to eat-in. Beware, their carry-out business has exploded and if you go during normal dinner business hours the place is hopping. Despite having their own parking lot, it fills up fast and the employees often park on the grass around the restaurant to open up more spaces. Sounds tacky, but like I said the place is consistently busy. Prices are similar to other decent sushi places, the fish is very fresh and they can be creative. They recently opened a Fairfax Ariake location and took their better sushi chef and a few of the other employees there to open. For those who live in the Dulles corridor this place is almost on par with Tachibana in Mclean, and not as far to drive. In the warmer months, they have outdoor seating which is nice; the sound of their waterfall helps mitigate the noise from passing cars on the two adjacent streets.
  6. "Kouji Kimura: The Genius of Extreme Fish Aging" on luxeat.com Andy Hayler's recent review of Kimura
  7. After a brief stint as the Spanish tapas restaurant Calle Cinco, Conosci is now the neighborhood sushi restaurant Nama. The head chef, Handry Tjan, comes from Sushiko and Kobo. @MichaelBDC and I went and sat at the sushi counter on Thursday, their second day of service. Both Michael Schlow and Ed Scarpone (head of the Schlow Restaurant Group) were there to run quality control. We ordered the chef's selection of sushi & sashimi ($42 for 13 pieces), the tuna and jalapeno roll, octopus nigiri, and uni nigiri. There was a bit of a mixup as we assumed that the chef's selection was omakase (it was not) and that we had ordered one for each of us. We mentioned this to our sever and our comment was overheard by the chef and the two sous chefs in front of us so the chef sent out chu toro nigiri and a special nigiri of sweet shrimp topped with uni. After talking a bit with Michael Schlow, he sent out two orders of the beet nigiri for us as well. The fish we had was outstanding, and in my opinion, on par with O-Ku and Sushi Ogawa. We don't usually order shrimp due to @MichaelBDC's mild shellfish allergy, but the shrimp was sweet and some of the best I have had. Even the beet nigiri was great and is highly recommended. The only area where Nama falls short for now is the selection of fish, which is fairly limited and standard. There is not as much variety as Ogawa or even Sushi Capitol, but the fish they did have was very very good. Both Michael Schlow and Chef Tjan mentioned that Nama is intended to be a neighborhood sushi restaurant and that they were keeping things simple to start. Depending on the neighborhood and clientele, could add more variety fish and omakase to the menu. We'll certainly be back and crossing our fingers that this place is here to stay.
  8. O-Ku is located in a building next to Union Market. It is currently helmed by opening chef Brian Emperor, who is apparently well established as a Japanese cuisine chef. We inquired about the omakase ($80 and $120), which generally consist of dishes selected by the chef from the menu. We decided to order on our own so as to get dishes we want and avoid dishes we don't want. Executive Summary: Awesome (and priced to match) We started with 3 items from the Robata Grill, hanger steak, chicken meatballs, and yakitori (chicken thighs). The steak was tender and well seasoned and should be ordered by anyone who loves heifers - I don't think the garlic chips added much though. The chicken meatballs were heavily laced with scallions and the dip is made with raw egg - I think it's pretty tasty (but probably even tastier if made with pork). And the chicken thighs were good too. That was followed by some fantastic tempura soft-shell crab roll. Actually, the two end pieces were tempura soft shell crab, the 3 middle pieces were filled with delicious snow crab meat. All the pieces were topped of wasabi tobiko but none were polluted with avocado as stated on the menu (maybe there was avocado in there but I don't recall tasting any). What I did taste was the fresh crab meat. Then came the sashimi. We went with the Kindai o-toro, aburi toro (aburi means lightly torched, hence the whitish color), and Hokkaido scallop. The blue-fin is decadently fatty but the winner is the Hokkaido scallop, which tasted sweet and pristine. Finally, we had sweet prawn, anago, signature anago, and sea urchin sushi. Again, the quality of the seafood is top notch but I don't have an impression of the rice (it's like the rice isn't even there). With a couple of drinks a piece, the bill was $110 with tax per person.
  9. My uncle's wife and her friend were in town for a visit and wanted to meet up with @MichaelBDC and me for dinner. They requested sushi but our #1 place, Sushi Ogawa, was booked and not knowing their budget, we decided not to push our luck with Sushi Taro. I ended up booking Sushi Gakyu after reading Tim Carman's review in the Washington Post. I used to walk by there everyday when I worked in the area, almost willing it to open, so I was very excited to finally be able to check the place out. When I made our reservations, I indicated that the four of us would like to sit at the counter and order omakase. The day of, the restaurant called to confirm our reservation and asked if we would like the $100 omakase option or $150 omakase option. As one could guess, the higher price meant more and higher quality fish. I selected the $100 omakase option but mentioned that we may order more if we were still hungry. We arrived right at 7:30pm to a mostly empty restaurant and our dining partners already seated at the counter. We would be the only ones at the counter the entire evening though there were 3-4 other tables seated and we did overhear one of the servers mention something about a party upstairs (perhaps Sushi Gakyu was catering it). Within five minutes of sitting down, we realized we were in for a treat. One of our dining partners was speaking in Japanese to Chef Ota and she insisted on ordering a bottle of sake from the "featured sake" list rather than the regular one. We started off with a bottle of Kotsuzumi "bloom on the Path" Junmai Daiginjo. It was so smooth and clear. We started with a refreshing salad of tomato, cucumber, seaweed, and dashi jelly. We also ordered edamame. That was followed by fried salmon cheek which was very good. Sashimi of sea bass with ponzu came next. Then came a taste of fugu/puffer fish (though I forget what part of the fish we got). A second bottle of sake. Four different slices of salmon nigiri. Three different pieces of tuna nigiri. Nigiri of seared prawn, raw scallop, and raw prawn was next. Finally, eel and a sweetened omelet. That was supposed to be the end, but we added small bites of uni from Maine and California as well as a little marinated squid. It was all fantastic. My only quibble with the meal is that the rice seemed a bit dry or undercooked, but the variety of the fish really made up for that. Our dining companions picked up the bill so the real price of dinner is unknown. Sushi Gakyu is certainly another option for sushi lovers out there and I definitely see us going back for another round of omakase.
  10. Had dinner last night at Samurai teppanyaki grill in the GMU shopping center. I had the chicken and shrimp combo, dining companion had the lobster-filet-shrimp, plus the typical miso soup, salad, fried rice, grilled veggies and noodles. It was clean, everything was cooked properly, not the best show by the chef but certainly adequate, and thankfully not oversalted (which is something that I find happens at a teppanyaki with chefs using the salt shakers in their show). A lot of food -- I took fully half of mine home even after eating until I was stuffed, so I think a fair value for the price, which I believe was about $24 for my choice, maybe about $31-$32 for my companion? Plus a sake appletini for me that balanced on the line between sweet and sour. I would have been happy with a tad more sour but was relieved that it wasn't too sweet. Not fine dining by any stretch, but I think a better choice than Kilroy's (which was the other option I was offered).
  11. Question, Josh: Given that Houston is so far inland, is this saying much? (No, I'm not assuming they're yanking your Madai from the Gulf of Mexico, but is the distribution network, and the post-receipt storage, good enough to provide for compelling sushi?) Are there any Sushi / Sashimi restaurants in Houston that fly in their fish from the Tsukiji Fish Market? We actually have these in Washington, DC, and we're further from Tokyo than you are.
  12. Kukuri received a moderate amount of hype when it opened, based on the presence of sushi chef Shimao Ishikawa. Ishikawa was behind the (sushi) bar at Michelin-starred Jewel Bako in New York, where I had a memorable meal years ago. I had omakase reservations last week ($175 per person), but ultimately cancelled after hearing rumors that Ishikawa was no longer in the kitchen. I asked a couple of the food critics in town, neither of which had heard anything. A perusal of the Kukuri Facebook page showed that Ishikawa responded to a negative review from his personal account, claiming to have been out of the kitchen since an automobile accident in November. I sent him (or at least whoever is behind the "Shimao Ishikawa" Facebook account) a personal message, and he confirmed that he is no longer associated with Kukuri. While their website still lists him, their frequently updated Facebook page now lists Masayuki Kawai as the head chef. I haven't been able to find out any information on his past work.
  13. Takohachi opened on December 11 in the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. My wife and I decided to eat lunch there today to test this new dining option after reading several positive comments from our neighbors on the Douglas Park community bulletin board. Owned and run by a Japanese chef, the space is simple and open (in the good Japanese way), with plenty of space between the tables and contemporary Japanese music playing softly in the room. We ordered from the lunch menu, which offered everything from Nigiri Shushi (at $1 per piece), to a number of Udons, Donburis and a large selection of Bento Boxes. We each ordered a Bento - Marianne had the California Roll and Spiced Tuna, I ordered the Sukiyaki. Both came with Tea, Miso Soup, Salad and a Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura portion in addition to the aforementioned Mains. All I can say is that if the quality of our lunch is the baseline for the other items on their menu, this is now our go-to spot for Japanese in South Arlington. They don't have an active social media profile, or a website yet. Here's hoping they can grow thru word of mouth - I want to be able to come back often. TSchaad
  14. City Taste Asian Cuisine opens today at 930 Wayne Ave., in Downtown Silver Spring, featuring up to 50 percent off sushi rolls: https://www.sourceofthespring.com/city-taste-restaurant-opening-today/
  15. Sunday night we went with my SIL to Rolls n Rice. She likes getting sushi here because you can get soy wrappers and she isn't a seaweed fan. The sushi isn't in competition for best of the DMV, but it is affordable and they have a nice selection of bento, normal sushi (very close to like quick made conveyor sushi in Tokyo, I am sure they use a machine to make the nigiri rice and they do it for speed, not for quality of the sushi), noodles, soup, etc. It is a fast causal order at the counter place. We have been before and the people who work there are very nice. They are really fast at making sushi. Once you order you get a number, they bring you salad, some dishes also get miso soup. I got a combo bento box with 3 pieces of nigiri, 4 pcs California roll, beef bulgogi, rice, 2 tempura shrimp and some tempura vegetables. It was really too much food, but I managed to eat it all. I should have saved the sushi for lunch today, as Matt overate his sushi and said we should have packed up a few pieces. The tempura was just as expected. The bulgogi was saucy, but good. This is definitely like fast-casual Japanese food, but it's affordable and a nice quick stop for dinner. We like going here, we think it's fun and we can swap things from each person's order to try.
  16. I'm curious what people's experiences are having sushi in grocery stores. Locally, my best experience has been in Balducci's in Mclean. The quality of the sashimi is quite good and even quite close to some DC Japanese restaurants. When I've talked to the sushi chefs working the counter there, they seem to be quite well informed and many years of experience. Does anyone have any good experiences in getting sushi from grocery stores?
  17. Let me start by saying I've never been to Japan, and I've never been to Masa. That said, for my personal preference, Japan is second only to France for my favorite cuisine, and I am very much of a sushi and sashimi hound - it's just about my favorite thing (along with foie gras, caviar, etc.) I had, without much doubt, the best Sashimi-Sushi Omakase I've ever eaten on Wednesday night at the Sushi Bar at Sushi Ogawa, and I've been to most of the great sushi specialists in the U.S. and Vancouver. The only option is a $100 omakase, and I highly advise all diners to call and see if Chef Ogawa will be working before they commit to this meal. My friend made the reservation under her name, and I have no reason to think I was recognized, but boy, this sure seemed like more than the "12-14 courses" they advertise. I don't rule out the possibility that I was spotted, but regardless, I'm spotted at most other top Japanese restaurants in DC, and nobody has put out sashimi and sushi like this before, not even the great Sushi Taro. I had made an exception to my own unwritten rule (the only other one-visit Bold I've ever made has been Elements in Princeton, NJ), and initialized Sushi Bar at Sushi Ogawa as such (this was absolutely the best meal I've had in 2017, my dining partner said it was by far the best sashimi-sushi she's ever eaten, and I've spent nearly 8 weeks this year in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), but just to be prudent, I'm going to wait for other people to chime in. There are numerous Michelin 3-star sushi restaurants in Japan, but I honestly cannot envision any sashimi-sushi-driven meals being much better than this, even though I'm sure they are. Still, this raised the bar for me, personally, by a fair amount. About the only thing that fell short of excellence was the crème brûlée (it was fine, but Koji Terano can rest easy). If you go with another person, treat yourselves to a .720ml bottle of Eikun "Big Hawk" Junmai Ginjo sake ($65 on their list, and it will carry you through the entire meal).
  18. We want to grab sushi before the Caps game tomorrow. We live in Mount Vernon Triangle and will be walking over so we don't want to go outside of the immediate Penn Quarter/Chinatown area. The only spot we've been to is Momiji and it was mediocre. Any other recommendations? We love Daikaya, both upstairs and downstairs, but they're not a sushi spot. Seeing Sei, Absolute Noodle/Sushi, AOI, Asia Nine, etc. Any favorites or others I am missing? Thank you!
  19. After a couple "meh" experiences at other sushi spots around town, I have seen the truth, and it is Hori-san's sushi rice. I absolutely cannot bring myself to get excited about eating sushi anywhere else. Yes, yes, the fish is superb, impeccably prepared, and seasoned such that your soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi stare on longingly as you neglect them throughout the meal. But that rice. So perfectly seasoned, juuuuust sweet enough, and never overpacked or structurally unsound. I honestly think you do yourself a disservice by ordering sashimi at Kata. As far as I can tell, the play is to get an appetizer or two (chicken skewers 3 ways, miso eggplant, and the ceviche wouldn't be a bad way to go), and then ask for an omakase sushi from the chef with as few or many pieces as you feel like. We've done this both from the sushi bar and the tables.
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