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Zento Japanese Restaurant in the old Burrito Grill Space on N. Washington and Wythe Street in Old Town Alexandria


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Zento opened a few weeks ago in the space previously occupied by Burrito Grill (North Washington near the corner of Wythe St).  In addition to the sushi and sashimi menu, they have a variety of teriyaki dishes, ramen, bento boxes, and small plates.

We stopped in last night to check it out and were happy with what we tried.  They have a happy hour from 5-7pm daily, with a selection of discounted beverages, small plates, and roll combo (2 from a list of 6 varieties for $9.95).  The spicy tuna roll and tuna avocado were both very good, with fresh ingredients.  Edamame and seaweed salad are pretty standard fare - no surprises there. We shared a sushi/sashimi combo .  Other than a few pieces of sashimi that were a touch on the cold side (better than too warm), we had no complaints. Pieces were generous, clean, and well-cut/prepared.  Veggie tempura was fresh and hot, with vegetables still fresh and crispy. My only quibble was that it was a touch greasy.

We're looking forward to heading back and trying some other things. The dishes we saw at other tables all looked very nice. Service is friendly and efficient.  Free parking in the two retail lots with entrances on Pendleton and Wythe Streets (if you pull in somewhere you have to take a ticket, that's the wrong entrance).  This has become a decent block to stop for lunch or dinner, with Teaism on one side and Zento on the other.

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So I needed a place for dinner last night before a JF meeting that wasn't at the Campagna Center. Zento was on the way. There was no AC last night, apparently the whole building was out, but it wasn't that hot. I ordered the two rolls for 9.95 happy hour special (regularly together they would be $12) they were pretty large rolls so it was a better deal than it sounds. I also ordered the beef gyoza and nori age rice bowl.

I got salad and miso with my meal. This was a big plus for me, although it was a little too hot to eat the miso soup, I generally like miso soup a good bit, this one was a bit more bland than Momo Sushi or Sushi Zen, but passable.

The rolls were really fresh and well made, I had the spicy tuna and the salmon avocado. Very neatly made and the sushi rice was done very well. After a recent less than par Momo experience (which is the first time I encountered it) I was happy to see the quality here.

The gyoza were tasty, not unusual really, but perfectly tasty. I probably could have gotten away with just the sushi and gyoza, but my eyes were hungry. The rice bowl is a really big portion, shredded cabbage, lettuce, carrots with crispy fried chicken. The fried chicken was really crispy, but moist and I liked the flavor. The rice had good texture, I would have liked just a little more veggie, but I am normally a bigger veggie person than most. Overall really good and I have leftovers for today.

The server who was helping me was extremely nice and efficient and gracious. It really made the experience. Refilled my water a lot, brought my food quickly, cleared my plates quickly. When I had to jet for the meeting brought my check and a box for my leftovers. He was just really nice. And he was very nice with people who came in said no AC? Then either stayed or left. There was a nice little crowd, although I wouldn't call it crowded. Would definitely go again to explore some other things on the menu.

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Met up with an acquaintance for lunch here today.  I had the double roll special ($11 for 2 rolls), an eel avocado and mexican crunchy tuna.  My dining companion had the chicken teriyaki bowl.  Both were served with miso and a small salad.  Everything was nice and fresh, the rolls were well constructed and tasty.  We traded tastes and the teriyaki chicken was well cooked with a nice glaze from the teriyaki, with some shredded cabbage but not much else in the way of veggies in the bowl.  Overall, a clean place with quick and pleasant service and pretty good food at a decent price.  Teaism is in the same complex on the lower level, and if I had to choose between the two, unless I was jonesing for saag paneer, I would pick Zento in most instances over Teaism.  It just seems a better value to me.

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we have eaten at zento or carried-out three times this month. They are on my husband's way home from work and are the perfect spot to meet-up or have him grab carry-out. the sushi is very fresh and well prepared. We LOVE the shrimp goyza! Really light and delicious. We've tried the Mexican tuna roll, avocado and tuna roll, spicy tuna roll and some daily special rolls. The daily special rolls are a couple of pieces larger than the regular rolls and worth the additional price. It's a nice addition to North Old town where it's pretty easy to find free parking within a block!

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GElittleman, who just turned 8 (oh me, oh my), asked to be taken out for sushi, when GEgrandma said she would like to treat him to his birthday dinner.

Thanks to the wisdom of DR'ers, we picked here and had a great meal all-around. Little man chose two maki rolls (very stereotypical, but good maki-roll-starter-types): California and Philadelphia (yes, just for the cream cheese). The better deal would have been to choose 3 rolls for $17 (their special), but it didn't appeal to him. He rather enjoyed them and their miso soup.

GEgrandma and I split their Sashimi Dinner (14pcs for $25), with a wide-assortment of salmon, salmon belly, tuna, seared albacore, white fish, and yellowtail. For an extra $2.75, you can have freshly ground wasabi (we upgraded). It was a nice bonus that it came with some fish roe to pair with the rice. GEgrandma thought it was such a nice treat, with the fish so fresh, that we tagged on an appetizer sashimi order, to boot. Both GEgrandma and I commented on how much we enjoyed the rice they served. Guess I should have asked which brand and variety it was.

It is nice to find a place that serves fresh fish, as, for once, my stomach didn't feel queasy after a sashimi-based meal. GEgrandma even asked to come back here to dine before heading back to the Midwest!

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Went here with my wife and our 2 month old for a lateish lunch over the weekend. The service was extremely accommodating to us. They were quick and attentive. They even went so far as unnecessarily whispering when serving us, so as not to disturb our son in his stroller next to our table. The restaurant was lively enough that they could've spoken in a normal speaking voice and still not disturbed him, but I really appreciated the effort and thoughtfulness.

My wife got an assortment of sushi - spicy tuna and yellowtail rolls, eel, salmon, and yellowtail nigiri. The rolls were a little overly sauced. I tasted both the eel and the salmon, and the fish was clearly fresh, delicious, and well presented. The one knock was that the rice was warm.

I had udon with beef gyoza. The noodles in the udon were a little soft, but the broth was good. And while the gyoza on their own were just good, dunked into the broth, they tasted really great, truly delicious.

My wife and a couple of other new mothers went for lunch a few days later and similarly great experience.

Demonstrating that there is more to a meal out than just the food, I am certain we'll be returning, because while our lunch was somewhere around slightly above average, the service was enough to win our hearts. I look forward to eating around the menu to find the winners.

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Got take out of their soba noodle with seaweed, asparagus, tomatoes and avocado.  This was a really nice little vegetarian noodle dish that I would make at home.  I also got a california roll, which was standard, not anything special, not anything bad.  But the noodles while not mind blowing was a really satisfying lunch dish.  Next time I might get a cucumber roll instead for a little extra crunch in my lunch.

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I go here a lot for work lunch.  I often get the two roll combo and a side of edamame.  I also like the sushi lunch.  It isn't go out of your way for, but it is a nicely priced option, with nice people near my home/office.  We ordered delivery the other night, and I don't think the delivery is as good as Momo.  I also was disappointed because the online app doesn't let you cross order from the dinner and sushi menu, which is odd because the dinner menu has the sushi combo items on it, and etc.  

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