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Tara Temple, Thai and Japanese on Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street in Virginia Square - Closed

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I had an enjoyable lunch at Tara Temple yesterday. It replaced Tara Thai -- thankfully -- and is managed by the guy who formerly managed Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. More accurately, it is the remodeled Tara Thai, but I'm glad that Tara Thai is no longer dishing out so-so Thai food. This is a trendy black-and-steel place that looks like it should be in Manhattan or San Francisco, and it has mini tables with padded stools ringing what will soon be a combination bar area and dance floor if the notice on the door for a dance hall permit is approved. The throbbing techno music in the background adds to the trendiness, I suppose.

The food is Asia fusion, and pretty darned good. The green tea came out in a coffee press and was thick and flavorful. We had quite a few of the sushi rolls and nigiri, all flawless and fresh. The salmon cheek yakitori was delicious, proof that we often toss away the best morsels of salmon in this country. I forget the style of fried rice we tried, but it was excellent and I would be tempted to get it as carry out whenever I'm in the neighborhood. All in all, this was a surprisingly good meal, albeit in a way too-trendy environment. I'll definitely be back for the food, but not the atmosphere.

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