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  1. We were up Kentlands way today and stopped in here. Ha Ku Ba has been operating for at least several years and I'd been 2 or 3 times previously. Vague recollections of it being a decent, lower priced, sushi spot but it didn't quite reach that level tonight. The "ninja" sashimi platter ($27.95) would have been enough to share if 20% of the fish wasn't tilapia (!) which we didn't eat. I'm not sure I've ever seen Tilapia on a sushi/sashimi plate before unless it was there posing as red snapper or something else as happens too often. Tuna, fluke, and salmon were fine--at Sakana (Dupont) level. The octopus was a bit stringy and overwhelmed a bit by orange roe. An order of tamago ($3.45) was of the plasticene variety. We ordered a nice specialty roll with spicy tuna and eel on top ($9.95) but, sheesh, did they have to call it a "Viagra roll" and then, add insult to injury by having another maki option titled "Viagra II"?!?!
  2. There are dozens of Yo! Sushis in the United Kingdom, but Union Station is their opening foray into the United States. It's in the West Hall (hard to find unless you're looking for it) along with Chop't, Potbelly, Roti, Chipotle, and maybe a couple other "better than terrible" fast food operations. Yo! Sushi is fun, extremely friendly, and murderously efficient. I just sat there and marveled at how every possible thing had been addressed in making eating here an exercise in ergonomics (yes, I know, ergonomics relates to workplace conditions, but think about who the author of this post is). You have to experience the efficiency to fathom it - it has everything from personal, underground ginger and wasabi containers to an orange iHelp button. I'm surprised the soy sauce didn't pour itself. The sushi is what you'd expect, and my only advice would be to show a bias toward the looser rolls - the ones that have been bambooed are just too compressed for my palate. If you have a train to catch, get here an hour early, assume you'll be filling up on a lot of rice, and you can enjoy a pleasant, reasonably healthful, moderately sized meal for about $20 (and of course, they have grab-n-go sushi as well). Kitten On The Kaiten aka Purrder on the Orient Express
  3. While I am unsure about the Herndon location of Matsutake, I have noticed the Wilson Blvd location going by a new name: Boru Fusion. I am unsure what stayed the same as I have not been there before, but bewarned that the website has music--it confirms that it owns the Crystal City location too. Please update! :-)
  4. I'm starting a topic for a restaurant I've never been to, but goodeats was kind enough to translate something for me, so I thought I'd share the information. Namely, last week I went to the estimable Elephant Jumps for some fried watercress salad and banana blossom salad, and while there I saw that the nearby Jasmine Garden had set out a couple of boards with Chinese upon them: Blackboard and Whiteboard Specials at Jasmine Garden (Note, I tried embedding them but they were just massive.) As I'm always interested in finding out "what's on the board" in any restaurant, but especially Chinese ones, I imposed upon goodeats to see if she could translate them and, perhaps, figure out what cuisine they might specialize in. Her response: Now I suppose a question is: has anyone ever tried the "on-the-board" specials here? I'll admit the ones on the whiteboard sound good to me. Or, I guess, anything here. Their regular menu does seem to be a bit of your standard American Chinese/Japanese food, with a few more less common dishes (three cups chicken, fish fillet in superior pickle sauce, etc.)
  5. An interesting corner of Springfield is at the corner of Backlick and Commerce -- kitty corner from Mike's is Springfield Plaza, and in the back corner facing both Backlick and Commerce is the amazingly good Flame Kabob, only a few steps away from Veronica's bakery (the Latino equivalent of Le Bledo and Dalat, which in turn is the Vietnamese equivalent of Veronica's), and opening soon, Bento Box Sushi. Sushi options in this neck of the woods are slim, so this will be a welcomed addition. I'll keep an eye on the space and provide updates. By the way, across Commerce is Bangkok Noodle and Merkamo Ethiopian, so within a short walk there's some significant eats. This corner of Springfield is on a par with the Brookfield Plaza, not even a mile farther south on Backlick. [My favorite name for a road in the entire Metropolitan area is Backlick. It would be my second favorite name if there was a Frontlick, but alas, there is not.]
  6. While I realize that this thread has been asleep for awhile, i just had to voice my displeasure with my lunch. I met a friend at Kyoto near Union Station/ SOBs and it is horrible. I had a box, nothing too hard, difficult, or fancy. Everything was oily and deep fried, even the pot stickers. Do they not own a steamer? They should be ashamed of themselves servingthat crap as "Japanese". Anyway, I smell like greese and now feel a tad bit better. Oh, the coke was good. (I know I've said it before but I like good coke and it's hard to find.)
  7. Would you please explain this? I'm not criticizing or anything, I'm just unfamiliar with Japanese dining customs, and curious. Sashimi after sushi is a faux pas?
  8. In case there isn't a topic here for it, I thought I throw a few words to Gaboja in Annandale. This is a little place, maybe ten tables, in the little strip mall on Columbia Pike right next to the more visible/easier to find Cafe Tu Ah. The main reason I want to exhort it is they have lunch specials of amazing values. The one I usually get is their hwedupbap: Hwedupbap!!! by Fortran, on Flickr Now maybe this isn't the greatest hwedupbap in the area, but you get that big bowl, banchan, some miso soup and a yummy souffle-y egg dish (I want to say gye ran jjim, but I might be wrong) all for a whopping $4.99 Yep. Frankly it's the best lunch deal around. They have other specials as well: sushi and udon for $5.99, and a rather fearsome looking spicy blue crab soup (kkotgaetang?) for, I think, $4.99 as well. Beyond the lunch specials is a whole menu (kinda see part of it above...though that might be an older menu). Much of it is just pure Korean so I don't have much of an idea what they are, though I think many are combination dinners (prices in the hundreds of dollars...I'm very curious to learn what those are). --- ETA: Okay. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the formatting is all wacky above. I try and make that "Now...as well" paragraph all one paragraph, but when I save it just goes nuts. Can an admin give me a hand? --- Here you go!
  9. I finally got around to trying Niwano Hana a couple of weeks ago. My mother and I stopped in for lunch and I was surprised, based on the outside, at how cheerful it is inside. Book, cover, etc. Mom is not an adventurous soul, so she ordered a roll combination - tuna, cucumber, and California rolls. All the rolls tasted as I would expect. I got a seaweed salad (way too sweet), and and various nigiri sushi - my benchmarks. Yellowtail was good, tuna surprisingly flavorless, and the saba was unpleasantly fishy, even for saba. The eel tasted good, but very few places manage to screw up eel. The prices seemed unremarkable, not cheap but not too high either. The miso soup was pretty wan. There were a few special on the blackboard that looked interesting, so we may give it another go for dinner if not for sushi. Greeting was very cordial and the service was attentive. Niwano Hana 887 Rockville Pike (Wintergreen Shopping Center) Rockville, MD 20852 (301) 294-0553
  10. I frequently drive back and forth to southern Maryland along route 5 on the weekends, usually returning in the evening after a long day outside. We like to stop for dinner along the way, which means that the options are a long wait at a chain restaurant in Waldorf, or stopping off in Charlotte Hall at one of the handful of local restaurants. Charlotte Hall usually wins, and so I am pretty familiar with just about every non-fast-food option in the area. AJ Hibachi is located in the back of a strip mall near the Food Lion on route 5. This little strip mall features some of the better options in the area (Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and a newly opened outpost of Sweetfrog). It took me a while to realize that AJ was actually an open restaurant, probably because the window blinds are always closed and the shop next door was (is?) vacant. Inside, there is a line of tables along one side and a glass fronted food prep area where I think the sushi is prepared. There are two televisions usually showing sports and news mounted on the wall. The long wall has a huge mural of a presumably Japanese market scene from some historical period. They do offer takeout, but it is mostly sit-down service as far as I can tell. Which is to say that this is one of the fancier establishments in Charlotte Hall. While the name would imply that one might find table hibachi here, that is not the case. The menu consists of a few appetizers, soups, several pages of sushi options, and then a handful of steak and seafood entrees. They also carry Ramune sodas, advertised prominently with table cards. Not being one for sushi or slabs of beef, I always opt for the soup. There are two kinds of soup broth (dashi or coconut curry), with three or four noodle options (udon, egg, something else), and four or five types of meat and vegetable toppings. I find the curry broth to be bland and disappointing, so I instead always go for the dashi soup with udon, the options for which include shrimp tempura, chicken, beef, and something vegetarian. The soup size is huge, with generous noodle portions, mung beans, and large squares of cabbage. The shrimp tempura lands you a side of three large prawns, yam slices, broccoli, and something else to add; the chicken version has a side of chicken slices with some kind of soy sauce? marinade which is tastier than I anticipated. I am not an expert on Japanese soups, but I think the version at AJ is pretty good. The spring roll appetizers are fair, reminiscent of the frozen spring rolls from Safeway. My carpool companion usually orders one of the steak or sushi options, and seems to like them well enough. IMHO, this is the best option in the area if you are looking for a non-greasy, hot, filling, semi-healthy dinner, along with a pot of decent hot tea, especially after a long cold day outside in winter.
  11. I was asked recently to go to Hooked with a friend of mine that lives in Herndon. I was a bit surprised when she asked. "You have no problem driving into Georgetown on a weeknight (Wednesday)!?", I exclaimed. "What the fuck are you talking about Tony!?", she shouted back. By the way, I get that statement a lot from people, mostly women. After a few more moments of conversation, we finally figured out the disconnect and met up at Hooked, a small seafood restaurant in a strip mall out in Sterling, VA. I will say that I was a bit shocked when I heard the name, but while this restaurant will by no means be confused with Barton Seaver's gem in Georgetown, I do have to say that it is a very nice place to have out here in the suburbs. The restaurant is small, maybe seating for 20 people on the floor and another 10 at the bar, and pretty nicely decorated. It feels cool, but not pretentious, a bit out of place in the strip mall that it is located in, but not so foreign that it seems ridiculous. We got there at 5:00, super early, and it was empty, but when we left at 8:00, pretty much every seat was taken. The service was second to none, not in a "professional" manner, but in a "we love that you are here and will do anything that we can to make you happy" way. Doug, the front of the house owner, was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable. He quickly picked up on the fact that we weren't your run of the mill diners and was willing to talk to us about business and wine and the industry and whatever else was on our mind. He did so mostly at the beginning, because it was empty, but still did a good job taking care of us as the night went on and they got more crowded. Nice wine and drink list, we were deciding between three wines and he promptly poured us a taste of all three. We picked one we liked, of course I don't remember what it was, and it was a great bottle at a very reasonable price. He makes a mean drink too, as we would find out later. The menu was pretty straight forward, but had some interesting notes (you can check out the whole menu at www.hookedonseafood.com). Good balance, meaning that you can make it a light night or an expensive night depending on your mood, and pretty creative at the points that it needed to be creative at (they don't seem to add crap just to add it). There was four of us and we all liked our food, the miso sea bass appetizer being the best of the bunch. The portions were solid sizes, well worth the money. The only miss was the mile high mac and cheese, bland even though it was trying not to be. The sushi was pretty good as well, something that was a nice addition to have as an appetizer or to share, probably not where I would go to have a sushi dinner though. There was a service snafu though, the mac and cheese was missing for 15 minutes, and at the end of our meal Doug promptly brought us out four after dinner drinks, a piece of cheesecake and a piece of chocolate torte (or something along those lines), all on the house. The drink included some Bailey's and some chocolate liquer and some cream and some vodka, but it wasn't overly sweet and wasn't heavy, so we all liked it a lot. The desserts were above average, but nothing great. I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure that they get their desserts made by a guy that they know who works at Le Cirque in NYC. Either way, nice way to end a meal, not memorable, but clearly good. Overall, there wasn't a lot to dislike about Hooked and a pretty good amount to like. I think that they are serious restauranteurs that want to make an impact on the dining scene in the suburbs, but they don't take themselves too seriously, an attitude that we found refreshing. So, next time you guys are way out in the country, I would check it out. Like I said, it is not directly comparable to many of the places that we have all grown to love in the city, but it is a good step in making the suburbs a bit more exciting these days.
  12. Koji is the chef at Sushi Keiko and it feels like old times. The Flounder Carpaccio is as good as it ever was. Koji's sushi rice has a firmness and separates in a way that is very much to my taste. I am very happy to have Koji working on Sunday nights again.
  13. Yep, there's a new sush/sashmi place by Bon Chon chicken on little river turnpike. The reason I don't have a name for you is because I don't read Korean and the place is so authentic that they don't even have an English sign We ordered three rolls and a galbi dotsot bibimbap. The rolls were really good value with nice quantity of fillings. I hate those places that skimp on the filling and put mounds of rice on everything. I regret not trying any sashimi, as it seemed to be their speciality. There were two tanks in the front, with the top tank filled with live lobsters (for lobster sashimi) and the bottom tank filled with some really weird looking fish. Their sashimi ranged anywhere from $50 to $200. There were no further description on the menu, but judging by the food on other tables, it appears to come with more than 10 sidedishes and soup. Like most Korean restaurants, everything is meant to be shared. A table of five sat close to us probably ordered one of those giant sashimi dish and the thing came out on a 1X3 feet board. The amount of plates on their table was mind boggling. I felt like a noob as there were pieces of paper with Korean writings on the wall advertising specials not on the menu. This place definitely worth further investigation on my part.
  14. While driving in Annandale today, I noticed a new restaurant on Little River Turnpike called Gangnam Sushi House (Facebook page) replacing Osaka.
  15. I've done Morimoto about a year ago and had an amazing meal. It's quite expensive, I think we blew about $400 for dinner for two with sushi, couple of small plates, desserts, and a very generous alcohol allowance, but much fun with food has been had by all and I felt it was worth it. It would help to go with someone who loves food, too. Also, once you've had a few drinks, a constant change of color of the walls boosts the fun and giggles.
  16. Okay, I apologize for the tag's irreverence. Jiro left home around 7 or 9 to become a sushi apprentice. Over time, he became the master and Michelin had no choice but to give his restaurant 3 stars and declare his restaurant the best sushi restaurant, even though every time they ate at this restaurant, it was his oldest son who actually made the sushi. The movie shows that Jiro is very dedicated to his craft - doing the same thing over and over again and at the same time, looking for ways to improve. At one point though, his son expresses dismay over the disappearance of certain species and more or less blames us plebes who don't know shit about sushi yet demanding sushi at every turn. Why the fuck does Safeway sell sushi anyway? And who the fuck eats Safeway sushi? After watching this movie, I'm going to stop eating shitty sushi (it's okay to eat California rolls, since no fished died for that). Save your dough for Sushi Taro's sushi counter, Sushi-ko with Koji, or Kaz. According to the movie, Jiro's joint starts at 30,000 yen, or about $400 for 20 pieces of sushi. $20 a piece! Oh, Jiro says it's the lean tuna (akami) that carries more flavor, if properly selected. He acknowledges that fatty tuna is now very popular but he implies fatty tuna is for chumps.
  17. 204 East 43rd Street New York City 10017 Phone: (212) 972-1001 Fax: (212) 972-1717 Web: http://www.sushiyasuda.com/ One of my favorite destinations in New York is Sushi Yasuda in Midtown East, one block from Grand Central. I've been numerous times, and my visit last week was typical of the remarkable experience I've come to expect. My meal last Thursday at the sushi bar was omakase and included, in order (all nigiri unless indicated): bluefin toro, branzino, yellowtail, mackerel and jack mackerel (I told the chef I loved mackerel), scallop, arctic char, Australian king salmon, giant clam, sea eel and frestwater eel, oyster, toro and scallion maki (two pieces), uni (on request), and more bluefin toro (also requested). Each was the best of its kind that I can recall and came with perfect (texture, seasoning, and temperature) rice and interesting sauces and garnishes (a lot of citrus in addition to the usual soy and fresh wasabi). The whole meal for two (we each had everything listed), plus 3 Kirin draft was $200, which, though not cheap, I consider reasonable for sushi this good (the truly good stuff can be very expensive, and it was a lot of food). And Yasuda has been remarkably consistent, though the one visit where I sat at a table and ordered a la carte the sushi was only merely "very good." But if you go to the sushi bar and let them choose their best, I doubt you'll find better sushi in the US, and possibly anywhere.
  18. Automated Japanese Restaurant without waiters. (well, McDonald's doesn't have waiters either...) I guess it is a bit like the old Automat Restaurant. (What an unexpected treat!)
  19. I'm not qualified to opine on what the best sushi restaurants in New York are. I am qualified to state that 15 East is my current favorite. Note to sushi lovers: the best way to experience sushi at 15 East is at the sushi bar, where the menu does not include the cooked items from the dining room menu. If you are willing to eat most anything, go with the chef's tasting menu or one of the sushi omakases. Be prepared for some unusual items, such as shrimp that was alive moments before it hit your plate, followed later by the fried heads. Chef Masato Shimizu is the most engaging, friendly sushi chef I've ever encountered. In fact the entire staff of the restaurant is wonderful, never batting an eye at one of my stupid questions or requests. I find the service formal but engaging and friendly, similar to European-style fine dining. Chef Masato is known to explain what's special about the fish your eating, famous for taking one of his books from behind him to explain something to you. And the quality of the fish, rice, and accompaniments are superb. Often I find the flavors subtle, such as in the sashimi and tartare of tuna, but in a way that lets the fish shine. So last night my wife and I ate there for the 5th time, but this was the first where we ate in the dining room instead of the sushi bar. We just showed up a little before 6:30 PM without a reservation, on a whim. We asked if they had a table for two -- they offered a seat at the sushi bar, but we turned it down because I wanted to try their soba -- and they seated us promptly. The restaurant was empty, but filled up quickly as our meal wore on. Our meal consisted of: Degustation of 11 varieties of sea lettuces -- for me this was something different to try. Presentation was lovely (I forgot to take a pic), some were pickled, others we were told to dip in the provided soy sauce. I quite liked this healthy, light starter. Sashimi & Tartare of Bluefin Tuna Risotto with uni, matsutake mushrooms, cabbage and chives. Balanced flavors, again not bold but very creamy. As good as most Italian restaurants produce. Hot soba noodles with matsutake -- most expensive soba ($30) I've ever eaten, worth it if you love matsutake. Total including a bottle of sparkling wine, tax and tip about $140, which is about as cheap as I can imagine a dinner for two there. I suggest Don add this one to his dining guide. http://15eastrestaurant.com/
  20. I had a solo dinner at Yuzu this past Wednesday and was very pleased. I discovered Yuzu through a Tom Sietsema "First Bite" column http://tinyurl.com/nbngbtv. The restaurant, which has been open for about a month, is located at 7345 Wisconsin Avenue. Their web page is here: http://yuzubethesda.com/. I ordered nigiri from the menu of specials on offer that day: I enjoyed everything with the exception of the nihon anago, which was oddly mushy and tasteless. From the regular kitchen menu, I ordered the "fried oyster, kakifry" which was just wonderful. The panko coating was crisp, not greasy, and the interior harbored full-flavored, molten oyster goodness. The oysters were accompanied by a dipping sauce (can't recall the name, but it was dark and a little sweet, akin to a plum sauce), and a small dab of spicy mustard. Both perfectly complimented the oysters. I'm reserving final judgement until I'm able to dine here at least another time or two, but I'm hoping that I've found my go-to sushi place near home in east MoCo.
  21. Money is no object. A foodie Japanophile wants to eat. Where do we go?
  22. It's come to my attention that this place doesn't have a thread, so I'm starting one. I don't to be honest, have a ton to say about it. The food is better than Sticky Rice most of the time, which I suppose makes it the best sushi restaurant on H Street. Which isn't the highest bar to clear. I've never had any real complaints about a meal here.
  23. The old Moto Photo location on 19th Street has been paper-covered for some time now, and every time I walk by I've peeked to see if the permits indicate what might be coming in to the space. Last time I checked the permits showed that it would be a "food" place, but I thought that maybe Chop't was going to expand. Well yesterday, I saw a small sign on the window advertising Oh Fish by Kaz, Maki Sushi and that they plan to open in July and are looking to hire a Manager. Anyone who can find any other info please update as I could not find anything when I searched the web. I am quite looking forward to it though! And it will definitely give Oodles Noodles take-out sushi a run for its money.
  24. Before I knew of my food allergies (soy, nuts, sesame) I was a sushi addict. I would be still; however I find sushi in DC to be sub-par to NY, and the same goes for service, unfortunately. I realize this is a generality but it is sadly true in most cases. I often order sashimi from Uni sushi but decided to re-try Tono tonight. When I called and gave my phone number/address, the manager said that he saw I hadn't ordered recently. I explained that this was due to my allergies- especially the fact that Tono had blatantly disregarded them in the past, including soy sauce which spilled all over my order. Major problem! The manager explained that he was the new Sunday floor manager, and would take special attention to make sure my order arrived allergy free. Wonderful.. I ordered the Sashimi-jo, no sauce anywhere, no allergens, please do not even include soy sauce in the bag, and they were happy to sub a salad for the miso soup. Sounds promising, right? Well, I was told my order would arrive within 45 minutes. An hour later, it showed up. Forgivable, whatever. I opened up the order to see some sort of fried crawfish/shrimp(?) along side my sashimi. What is it fried in? What is it? I called and asked to speak to the manager. He told me it was fried in peanut oil. Ok, so obviously you did not pay attention to my allergies. Then the manager had the gaul (balls even) to tell me not to order Japanese food again, due to my allergies to most of the main ingredients. Sir, I eat fish safely. I eat wasabi, ginger, vegetables- safely. But if there is a peanut fried item in my sashimi, I throw out the 25 dollar order which you refused to refund. And, FYI, I regularly order sashimi from Uni sans probleme. And if there ever is a problem they are gracious about it, at least apologizing and not telling me to stay away from all Asian food. No, I am not foolish enough to wander into Thai restaurants. But I can and do eat Chinese food on occasion (steamed of course, no sauce)... If I could prepare wonderful (and safe) sashimi in my kitchen, I would. God forbid I try to pay you for it.
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