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Wasabi, Kaiten Sushi in the Corridor of Tysons Corner Mall - Also Opening in Montgomery Mall


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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>

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I've been watching the construction daily since the doctor's office moved out. I don't know if the construction is on track for the restaurant world, but for the consumer who wants good sushi near work world it's taking a long time.

There isn't much good sushi around, other than Cafe Asia, so this could an excellent development.

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From their Website.....

At Wasabi Sushi, we are looking for the best of the best! This is the first of many Wasabi Sushi Restaurants, so the opportunity for advancement within this company is fantastic! With your help, we will provide downtown DC with some really great food & service.

Wasabi is a Kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi concept that is huge in Japan and Europe. When our guests arrive and sit down, the food is ready! They simply take whatever food they like off of the conveyor…hot food, cold food, sushi, salads, desserts, etc, there is something for everybody!

Remember the last time you were at a restaurant…you sat there for a few minutes, then someone asked you if you wanted a drink. Five minutes later they came back with the drink and asked if you wanted an appetizer. Ten minutes later the appetizer came out and you made your dinner order. Twenty minutes later the entrée came out. THAT’S CRAZY! Washington DC is a fast-paced town, they want their food now and we have it. If they’re in an even bigger rush, we have a great take-out section in the front of the store.

Why bring a European/Japanese concept to the USA? Well, frankly, because no one else will. You should see how busy these places are in London! In fact, to make sure that we captured the essence of these places in London, we went and got the chef who opened a bunch of them. That’s Chef Miguel Choy, ask around, he’s awesome.

The GM running the restaurant is Steve Greehan, one of the top 5 managers in the entire DC Metro Region according to the restaurant association. He has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Read some of the jobs...the rolls are made by sushi robots!

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Scott, which website did you check. This one is pretty useless.

I walked by this afternoon. There were signs on the door that said "Closed For Private Party". Hopefully they will be open to the rest of us tomorrow :unsure:

My question about all the food being ready is that how will they keep soup and other hot dishes warm? And do they remove some dishes after being on the blt for a certain amount of time?

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I was looking at the same website. Check under the link to positions open and read the text and the job descriptions. http://www.wasabisushi.com/jobs.html

I agree, how do they keep it fresh and hot? Sushi robots seem to take some of the fun out of seeing the chef make the rolls. I imagine there must be a time stamp on the belt as well as someone judging how many people are sitting down and if they need to increase/decrease production.

Hello... I am sushi bot, what can I roll you today.... how about a number one special? Would you like wasabi with that?

Scott, which website did you check. This one is pretty useless.

My question about all the food being ready is that how will they keep soup and other hot dishes warm? And do they remove some dishes after being on the blt for a certain amount of time?

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Once again... "Private Party in Progress" .No explanantion of when they will be opening. There were people in side and there was prepared food in the cases (I hope for display and not what will be available tomorrow(if they do open)). Poor website. Communication is a good thing! After passing by the site again today, I high tailed it to the grill, had a sasuage sandwich fixed "chef style" and tried some of the new and wonderful soup. I am glad that I get a email telling me when the grill is open.

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Scott... I did the same thing. Two days in a row. In fact the food in the case looked exactly the same as yesterday. Someone from inside did come out and give a menu to a guy who was peering in the window.

Maybe they haven't finished the licenses required to open?

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I fired off a quick email to their website asking them when they will be open and to post something on the door..... perhaps that will reply!

Scott... I did the same thing. Two days in a row. In fact the food in the case looked exactly the same as yesterday. Someone from inside did come out and give a menu to a guy who was peering in the window.

Maybe they haven't finished the licenses required to open?

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I got a nice email from the CEO who said "We have not published an exact opening day because we are not opening until our chef says the food is perfect. I hope you would not expect anything less!"

Nice thought! Should be ready next week, in the meantime they are training their staff and making sure they are ready to go!

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Hello All! I am thrilled to see the interest in Wasabi and will answer all of the questions above. But first let me say I can't wait to see you all in the restaurant soon!!!

Meaghan - Yes, we will have premium sake! In fact we will have an array of Sake's ranging from several dollars for a hot sake up to $100 for premium cold Sake and including at least one type that we will be the only provider of in the US. (((this may come a bit later as we are dealing with the import process at the moment)))

Hill Vally - No comparison to Cafe Asia. Where Cafe Asia is pan-asian and so has a little bit of everything in a massive three story environment, we will offer some of the best Modern Japanese Cuisine available in the world in a cosy personal setting. Chef Choy is an award winning Chef who I am sure you will be impressed by.

ol ironstomach - Yes, much kaiten sushi is not noteworthy. In fact the concept in Japan is largely used for inexpensive sushi delivery. However, in London a couple of places (Itsu & K10 for example) took the concept up-market. Delivering top quality food in an attractive setting to people in a hurry has been a huge success, and we believe the same will be true in DC.

Scott Johnston - yes, the current website is fairly useless. It is a placeholder. The full site will launch in the next 72 hours.

Sushi Robots - These are cool. They do not affect the quality at all and do not really make sushi per say. One takes the rice made by Chef Choy's team and makes unlimited perfectly shaped Nigiri rice balls. All it does is shape rice, but as you know this is a time consuming affair so is very helpful. The other robot takes the rice, and other ingredients and rolls the sushi into Maki. This doesn't let Chef Choy or his staff off the hook, all the work of a Chef is still done these machines just take some of the monotony out of the job so that they can focus on the food!!! Check out a video of these at www.sushirobots.com (note we are not using this manufacturer but they are a similar concept).

Opening!!! As I mentioned to Scott Johnston we are having private parties until our chef tells us the food is perfect. We expect to be open in a week to ten days and would love to see you then!!! Any questions can be directed to davisb@wasabisushi.com. I will try to keep checking this site as well but you can imagine we are a little busy at the moment!

Sincerely,

Bo Davis

CEO

Wasabi

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Opening!!! As I mentioned to Scott Johnston we are having private parties until our chef tells us the food is perfect. We expect to be open in a week to ten days and would love to see you then!!! Any questions can be directed to davisb@wasabisushi.com. I will try to keep checking this site as well but you can imagine we are a little busy at the moment!

I, for one, would like to personally volunteer to be a member of a "private party." I'm just trying to be helpful :unsure: I am really looking forward to trying this place out.

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I, for one, would like to personally volunteer to be a member of a "private party." I'm just trying to be helpful ;) I am really looking forward to trying this place out.

roughly between the hours of 12-3 today and tomorrow there will be a woman standing in front of our space (sarah) who will be signing people up who are interested for tastings thurs lunch, fri lunch & dinner, mon lunch & dinner. Food will be half price for the tasting and we will ask you to fill out a survey and be patient with us. We will not do full seatings, we are still finalizing our liquor paperwork so will not have booze, but the food should be fabulous! See Sarah...

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I just got a quick peak at the space and it looks great. It has a very modern design and the accent color reminds me, big surprise here, wasabi. The conveyer belt is different from what I have seen at other places. There are white pods that I assume the plates will sit on.

Even better, it looks like they are going to have an extensive take out menu (extensive for a place that size anyway) and grab and go items.

Now I just have to find out if they'll have natto.....

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Several of us are going tomorrow for lunch and another group for dinner. I have a menu that showed most items were from $3-10 bucks. Soup $2-4 dollars and platters $10-14, making this a canidate for a $20 dollar tuesday. Lets wait for the reports tomorrow. My comparison will be to Kaz bento box at 12-14 dollars.

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I did go today, for lunch, so I will mark my first Rockwellian post by making a report. Perhaps I will go on to long, but there seems to be enough curiosity.

The restaurant is divided into a take-out front and a small dine-in back where most of the seats (all but two booths) are around the sushi conveyor bar. The menu they have been handing out is for the take-out operation -- which was stocked but I did not sample -- while the dine-in operates on a color-coded plate system. Grab what you like off the conveyor with the yellow rimmed plates costing $2, $2.75 for orange, etc., all the way up to $5 plates.

The sushi, sashimi and rolls we had were all good. Excellent tuna sashimi, and very good spicy tuna roll. Avocado and pepper roll was also very good. Perhaps the best edamame I've had in DC (while I really liked the sea salt version, I did not like the version called "wasabi's edamame" with a sticky brown sauce).

However, the selection was limited to whatever was on the belt . . . and not scarfed up by the folks positioned on an earlier part of the conveyor. That meant we had more salmon than we would have liked, and also some fried chicken nuggets that the manager assured us were very good (but were in fact greasy). Never did see any unagi. We ordered a miso soup from the waiter (which was fine), and I'm glad we did: the open bowl of soup later making its lonely trip around the conveyor was particularly unappetizing. After we were all full, we saw some things we would have liked to try, like some varieties of tiradito and chicken anticucho.

They don't yet have their liquor license, so I can't say anything about Wasabi's sake (not that I know my saki anyway). But the sake menu presents thirteen different varieties and professes (contrary to expectations) that "like fine champagne, premium sake is best enjoyed chilled." So only one appears available hot. And they also had no hot tea, although it appears on the menu. The iced tea was bottled.

We ate past full and the bill (before being halved) came to $45. We were so pleasantly surprised that we wondered if the still-new new crew had lost count of our plates.

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I did go today, for lunch, so I will mark my first Rockwellian post by making a report. Perhaps I will go on to long, but there seems to be enough curiosity.

The restaurant is divided into a take-out front and a small dine-in back where most of the seats (all but two booths) are around the sushi conveyor bar. The menu they have been handing out is for the take-out operation -- which was stocked but I did not sample -- while the dine-in operates on a color-coded plate system. Grab what you like off the conveyor with the yellow rimmed plates costing $2, $2.75 for orange, etc., all the way up to $5 plates.

The sushi, sashimi and rolls we had were all good. Excellent tuna sashimi, and very good spicy tuna roll. Avocado and pepper roll was also very good. Perhaps the best edamame I've had in DC (while I really liked the sea salt version, I did not like the version called "wasabi's edamame" with a sticky brown sauce).

However, the selection was limited to whatever was on the belt . . . and not scarfed up by the folks positioned on an earlier part of the conveyor. That meant we had more salmon than we would have liked, and also some fried chicken nuggets that the manager assured us were very good (but were in fact greasy). Never did see any unagi. We ordered a miso soup from the waiter (which was fine), and I'm glad we did: the open bowl of soup later making its lonely trip around the conveyor was particularly unappetizing. After we were all full, we saw some things we would have liked to try, like some varieties of tiradito and chicken anticucho.

They don't yet have their liquor license, so I can't say anything about Wasabi's sake (not that I know my saki anyway). But the sake menu presents thirteen different varieties and professes (contrary to expectations) that "like fine champagne, premium sake is best enjoyed chilled." So only one appears available hot. And they also had no hot tea, although it appears on the menu. The iced tea was bottled.

We ate past full and the bill (before being halved) came to $45. We were so pleasantly surprised that we wondered if the still-new new crew had lost count of our plates.

Welcome!

Thanks for the post. I am going to be dining there tonight so your info is timely for me.

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Had a very good dinner Friday night at Wasabi with a bunch of friends from the board (who ideally can chime in whenever they want!)

The space is divided into two parts: The front take-out area, and the restaurant seating in the rear. The conveyor belt runs down the middle past a few booths and then the bar-style seating. I wasn't expecting the tables, actually. The two positions at each table adjacent to the conveyor belt are positions of thankless responsibility, requiring a quick mind and quicker hands as your own dinner ages while your companions tell you to "Grab that! No, that! Yeah...get that! Quick! Fine...grab the next one..." Personally, I'll stick to the bar.

The fish was all very good, and there was fortunately no shortage of the excellent tuna that Bonz mentioned. I liked the tiradito, which was thin slices of fish quickly cooked with a blowtorch. I liked how the waitress described this as 'good for people who don't like raw fish', but really, it's only a step above 'ceviche' and one or two below 'rare seared tuna block' on the 'How cooked is this fish' scale. The cooked items proved more controversial among the group. I personally kind of liked the chicken karaage and fried calamari, while most disliked their 'basically room temperature' nature. Maybe I've had enough things like this in bento boxes, but non-scalding-hot fried food is alright for me in some contexts. Whether this was by design or from going around a couple times, I'm not sure. This is going to be an issue for them: How long are things left to go around the belt before they are replaced? Sushi either keeps better than it would seem, or has high turnover, but the fish was always fresh-tasting, so no problem there, and same with the tiradito. There were a few anticucho whose sauce was starting to congeal a little (This is one thing I'll have to try on the next visit). $2.00 yellow plates were rare (At one point I saw a stack with cucumber roll on a yellow plate, and on top cucumber roll on [whatever the next more expensive color is]. Watch out for that!). I blame some cheapskate closer to the front of the line gorging on half-price cucumber and asparagus rolls. Desserts were the sort that hold up well: Very tasty strawberries and ginger, which I thought could use more ginger, and green tea mousse. The fruit spring rolls made an early appearance, but by the time we wanted dessert they had not been seen in a while. A note requesting more was drafted and sent to the kitchen via the belt. It is unclear if the note was seen, but eventually more rolls arrived. The human brain is great at picking out patterns, including sequences of dishes you're pretty sure you've seen go by for the last 20 minutes. They'll figure out the pacing and turnover with time, but everything I had tasted perfectly fresh.

Here is a video I took at Wasabi. It is a discussion about 'wasabi' the spice, of all things. FermentEverything took pictures. Hopefully he'll post some!

The fish was good. The fish was very good! As a sushi place, they have succeeded in this most critical of area. As long as the fish is good, everything else is secondary. Actually, 'sushi' refers to the vinegared rice, which some thought was packed in too-large nigiri-form and faulting the sushi robot. I'll pay more attention to the rice next time.

Obligatory Uninformed Selfish Third-Party Superficial Speculation, Unsolicited Armchair Restaurateur Advice, and Nit-Pickery:

* The lunch crowd is going to carry Wasabi. They have a location (that must be costing a fortune) right by the Metro, but not near anything else. There is little reason to be in that area at night unless you are specifically going to Wasabi or other nearby restaurant, so there is little chance of the random 'Hey, let's go to Wasabi', 'in the area for general entertainment and decide they want sushi' crowd. There is a large potential lunch crowd in that area, and likely an affluent one. This is good, because while not extremely expensive, Wasabi isn't cheap, either. If I ate half as much for lunch as dinner, cutting out the 'Why not...we're here to try stuff out', second dessert, and going easier on the excellent sashimi, one could probably have a good lunch for about $25 eating in. We were seated immediately so I didn't get a chance to look at the take-out sushi boxes to see what you got, but they top out at $12. Cheaper than Kaz bento, but time will tell and I'm optimistic! I'd really like some 'Cheaper than Kaz but better than Sushi Express' lunch sushi! Personally, I'd like to see prices dropped between $0.25 and $0.50/plate, but that may well not be workable. On the other hand, the kaiten-aspect makes it easy to go in, sit down, and immediately start lunch rather than the unworkable (for we unlettered plebes who have to clock out and in for an hour lunch) 90-minutes-last-time lunch at Kaz.

* They are going to have to work on patron turnover. At the end, I was chilling out for at least half an hour without eating anything...that just can't happen in kaitenzushi! ;) You need people in, fed, and out to free up stools! This is an even faster version of one of the original fast foods, a fact that the American dining public isn't likely to appreciate, but really, they need to eat and run! This isn't France: Your table in any restaurant generally isn't yours for the night, but damn sure your stool isn't yours for more than about 45 minutes minutes! Eat your heart out, Ray! :P The restaurant simply isn't big enough to allow people to linger like we did. Maybe it was different because it was a special night, but the people in the next seating needed places to sit! That said, I can't imagine a kaiten place taking reservations. It just doesn't work like that!

* Plate labeling: Many plates were unlabeled. Generally this wasn't a problem (I can spot tuna sashimi at 40 paces!), but there was one roll that went unidentified all night. It might have been eel. I tasted one, and I'm not entirely sure what it was. I forget if anybody asked what it was, if only to solve the mystery, but if they are going to label, they need to consistently. On the other hand, when 'some kind of flan or something' became, once a labeled one appeared, 'green tea mousse' (What, it wasn't green...not a big deal. Good key lime pie isn't...the gari wasn't pink either, which means it's the good stuff. It looked like some kind of flan, or something) I bought a plate I otherwise would have let pass, and was glad I did! The bowls of strawberries and ginger were attractive enough to sell themselves, identified or not!

* Kaitenzushi etiquette and protocol: This is a form of dining to which the majority of Americans are likely unaccustomed, and one with nonintuitive protocol and community standards. While there, I noticed several unscrupulous diners (Several of whom, I hesitate to add, were in the very party with which I was dining, a group I would generally expect better of!):

  1. Collude with patrons further back on the line for advance notice when desired items were on the way. And..AND entreaties to let said items pass!
  2. Grab items from the far side of the loop from where they are sitting
  3. Take items they initially passed, but later, full of regretful longing, asked somebody else further down the line to take by proxy.
  4. Return plate covers placed in a wholly improper 'open side down' position for return to the kitchen.
  5. Use the conveyor belt as an intra-group communications channel
  6. Waylay and manipulate stacks of covers en-route back to the kitchen.

This sort of thing simply cannot be tolerated in a civilized kaiten-society. Maybe a table tent can be placed at interval on the conveyor belt explaining things.

Executive Summary: Wasabi is good. Go there. You'll have fun, and very good sushi!

Open already! :unsure:

Update:

I was in the area, following up a hot tip on a Cuban sandwich, from a place I was pretty sure would be closed, but I went anyway, and they were closed, so I thought I'd roll by to see what was up at Wasabi. Here's the situation:

1) Takeout operation seems open. Place didn't LOOK open, but it was a '...on the other hand, there's food in the cases, so it must be for SOMEBODY!' situation, so I chanced it. As far as 'how much does lunch cost?' I got a tiradito and a salmon nigiri combo for $9.25. That'll work! (Oh, and um...half price deal is still in effect... B) )

2) The little sign on the door states that the place will be open for business Wednesday.

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Not a whole lot else that needs to be said, but I'll chime in anyway. First off, pictures are here. As always, let me know if anyone wants a particular picture taken down.

As far as the food goes, it was pretty good. I thought the calamari was good despite not being hot, although I wasn't as much of a fan of the tiradito that I had (snapper I think?)...it wasn't bad, just seemed like the sauce was overwhelming any of the flavor of the fish. The strawberries were quite good, and the tuna sashimi was excellent. Quality stuff.

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* Kaitenzushi etiquette and protocol: This is a form of dining to which the majority of Americans are likely unaccustomed, and one with nonintuitive protocol and community standards. While there, I noticed several unscrupulous diners (Several of whom, I hesitate to add, were in the very party with which I was dining, a group I would generally expect better of!):
  1. Collude with patrons further back on the line for advance notice when desired items were on the way. And..AND entreaties to let said items pass!
  2. Grab items from the far side of the loop from where they are sitting
  3. Take items they initially passed, but later, full of regretful longing, asked somebody else further down the line to take by proxy.
  4. Return plate covers placed in a wholly improper 'open side down' position for return to the kitchen.
  5. Use the conveyor belt as an intra-group communications channel
  6. Waylay and manipulate stacks of covers en-route back to the kitchen.

This sort of thing simply cannot be tolerated in a civilized kaiten-society. Maybe a table tent can be placed at interval on the conveyor belt explaining things.

I fully admit that I am guilty of violating at least four of these prime directives. Clearly, I deserve no less than a spanking. :unsure: (but not from Shogun).

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I fully admit that I am guilty of violating at least four of these prime directives. Clearly, I deserve no less than a spanking. :unsure: (but not from Shogun).
Nice write up, Shogun. As the last person on the line that night, I'll fess up to a clean sweep of all these infractions. If it were any other group, I would have abstained... ;)
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Hit Wasabi with the +1 tonight. It was almost full the entire time we were there, including a couple of large party rotations. I'm sure business will pick up even further once their liquor license comes through. I have to wonder if the lack of alcoholic libations explained the heavily female skew to the patrons.

[Yes, we know kaitenzushi is meant to be on the quick, but we were seated at the back end of the line.]

As you enter, you'll be handed a small menu card. Its front enumerates the different price levels of the plates, and lists sides, soups and desserts. The back side lists beverages, including the beers and wines they're not yet allowed to serve. I doubt folks want me to get into a complete listing of the menu itself, or all the dishes we saw when we were there, but here's the skinny on the plates:

Yellow - $2.00; Orange - $2.75; Red - $3.50; Blue - $4.25; Purple - $5.00

Some folks - including our waiter - confessed to having difficulty distinguishing between the red and the purple colors on the menu in that lighting. However, the plates themselves are sufficiently differentiated... as long as you understand that the purple plate is violet, as opposed to the almost-magenta of the menu.

Our meal:

I had zucchini (tempura) nigiri, avocado maki, spinach with sesame sauce, avocado and pepper tempura roll, sunomono, salmon anticucho, and green tea mousse. B had salmon nigiri, salmon sashimi, salmon tiradito, and tuna maki. We split orders of freshly steamed edamame and shrimp dumplings, and a bowl of gingered strawberries (the latter including 1) indeed, not enough ginger and 2) what I'm guessing is the same raspberry sauce used on the spring roll dessert).

The tempura rolls I had worked quite well despite the theoretical temperature issues. The battering was very, very light - even for a tempura - which I imagine explains its continued edibility past the usual 5 minute mark. The anticucho was pleasantly tart and spicy, featuring an accompaniment of mashed potatoes. (Some of the chicken anticucho that went past us later featured rice instead.)

In case you're wondering, yes B is a bit salmon-obsessed... but the tuna in the nigiri was tiny, and wilted to the point of practically shriveling up off its bed of rice. We didn't even see any tuna sashimi go by. The tuna in the maki was sufficiently protected to keep its lustre, though.

The green tea mousse was light and refreshing, and the layer of mango sauce at the top is a nice touch. That having been said, I can't imagine a dish that looks more like a fridge experiment gone awry when it gets stirred.

I'm not sure whether the waitstaff have yet been trained to keep an eye on what patrons are snatching up the second it comes out of the kitchen, but one thing they (or the kitchen) should learn is that when several parties ask after a particular dish that never made it past the first two tables, making several more does not equal making another three. :unsure:

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I am eating one of Wasabi's take away lunches as I type. All in all, it's a great addition to the lunch choices in the area. They had a number of rolls that were packaged in this clear plastic cylinder thing, sushi, sashimi, and a variety of cold salads. I got the seasame chicken salad.

It comes with a nice sized amount of grilled chicken with some sort of rub on it, two pieces of avacado, a rice noodle salad and two, yes two, pieces of ginger. There is also a container of what I guess is some sort of dressing and a container of soy sauce. Flavor wise, everything is great. The chicken is well seasoned, the noodles are cool, refreshing and nicely dressed. My only complaints are that the chicken was not cut all the way through so when you go to pick up one slice you get four. Also, the dressing. It had seperated by the time I got it, which is to be expected, but I have done all that I can do get the oil to emulisify (sp?) with the rest of the dressing but it didn't work. So instead I have a thick layer of oil over the rest of the flavor.

Service was quick and easy. The restaurant section was full and there were a number of people trying to decide what to take away while I was there. It looks like they are off to a good start.

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Just got back from a $42 lunch at Wasabi. $8 of that was sake. This was not a gut buisting caqn't walk out the door lunch but just a meal on the light side. My mom always said if you can't say anything nice... don't say anything at all. It was quick. :)
I think lunch per person runs about $25 for not a great amount of food. I wonder how many repeat customers they are getting. I have no desire to return, even to pick up to go. I'd rather give my money to Kaz, and a lot less of it for what I think is better food.
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I think lunch per person runs about $25 for not a great amount of food. I wonder how many repeat customers they are getting. I have no desire to return, even to pick up to go. I'd rather give my money to Kaz, and a lot less of it for what I think is better food.
You're missing out on the takeout. That $12 plate is more than I can generally eat in one sitting, and it's very good. In what universe is Wasabi more expensive than Kaz? Good to know the sake is in stock, and that it's 'quick' now. Last time I was there for lunch, there was no sake and it was far from quick. Seitsema said in Weekly Dish today that the average was 32 minutes according to the manager. We were WAITING more than 32 minutes :) .

Still a fan.

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You're missing out on the takeout. That $12 plate is more than I can generally eat in one sitting, and it's very good. In what universe is Wasabi more expensive than Kaz? Good to know the sake is in stock, and that it's 'quick' now. Last time I was there for lunch, there was no sake and it was far from quick. Seitsema said in Weekly Dish today that the average was 32 minutes according to the manager. We were WAITING more than 32 minutes :) .

Still a fan.

Not sure if it is fair for me to weigh in, but if I disclose that I work there it should be OK?

On the wait, yes we are MOBBED between 12-1. Funny thing is at dinner there is rarely a wait and if you come at 11:45 there is no wait. So the 32 minutes Seitsema referenced is once you are seated...

On the price, I think you will find if you compare items we are less expensive then Kaz, Sushi-Ko, and the others in this class. We did compare. Also, to the person that spent $34 on food and wasn't full I am not sure how that is possible. Our most expensive plate is $5. So even if every plate consumed was a specialty that is 6 plates which is above the average 5 plates per seating. Our average check is closer to $20/head.

-- Bo Davis

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Not sure if it is fair for me to weigh in, but if I disclose that I work there it should be OK?

On the wait, yes we are MOBBED between 12-1. Funny thing is at dinner there is rarely a wait and if you come at 11:45 there is no wait. So the 32 minutes Seitsema referenced is once you are seated...

On the price, I think you will find if you compare items we are less expensive then Kaz, Sushi-Ko, and the others in this class. We did compare. Also, to the person that spent $34 on food and wasn't full I am not sure how that is possible. Our most expensive plate is $5. So even if every plate consumed was a specialty that is 6 plates which is above the average 5 plates per seating. Our average check is closer to $20/head.

-- Bo Davis

I wasn't full at all. I think the portions skimpy. There were three dishes where the portion was so small athat I cuoldnt believe what I was getting for what I was paying:: yellowtail in soy, spring roll with fruit, beef with spciy sauce (I am sure this is not what the labels on the dishes said but my recollection of the dishes.

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I wasn't full at all. I think the portions skimpy. There were three dishes where the portion was so small athat I cuoldnt believe what I was getting for what I was paying:: yellowtail in soy, spring roll with fruit, beef with spciy sauce (I am sure this is not what the labels on the dishes said but my recollection of the dishes.

I have to agree that the portions are very skimpy. We ate dinner at Wasabi last night and could not believe how small the portions were. The majority of the plates are $4.50-$5.00, and each plate only contains 3 or 4 small pieces of maki sushi. The amount of fish in each roll is also pretty skimpy. Assuming no drinks, 5 plates at $4.50 or $5.00 plus tax and tip is above $30, and you certainly do not get enough food to cover this cost!

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Bo, Thank you for chiming in. I hope the restaurant is a great success.

However, I'd like to elaborate on my comments regarding Kaz. The portions at Wasabi do not equate to those at Kaz. At Kaz, I have two rolls at lunch. My bill is $10. My rolls consist of 6 pieces each. I also receive a cup of Miso with my lunch.

At Wasabi, an order of rolls was 3 pieces, no bigger than 3 pieces at Kaz. I ended up spending twice as much as I would at Kaz for lunch at Wasabi for the same amount of food. And, I think Alisa explained why, I have not been full either time. Hmm...

My querry wasn't about Wasabi drawing crowds, it was about how many repeat customers the restaurant is attracting. I thought during the warm up and my post opening meal that the portions do not equate to the prices.

And Shogun, on my planet based on my experience Kaz is less expensive than Wasabi at lunch. Also, as I have elaborated here it is based on side by side reciept comparisons of what I eat. When I stray from my typical 2 rolls at Kaz, the most I ever have paid or had paid for me is $25 per person and that was for a TON of sushi, including Toro.

That is all.

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Just got back from a $42 lunch at Wasabi. $8 of that was sake. This was not a gut buisting caqn't walk out the door lunch but just a meal on the light side. My mom always said if you can't say anything nice... don't say anything at all. It was quick. :)
I think lunch per person runs about $25 for not a great amount of food. I wonder how many repeat customers they are getting. I have no desire to return, even to pick up to go. I'd rather give my money to Kaz, and a lot less of it for what I think is better food.
I wasn't full at all. I think the portions skimpy. There were three dishes where the portion was so small athat I cuoldnt believe what I was getting for what I was paying:: yellowtail in soy, spring roll with fruit, beef with spciy sauce (I am sure this is not what the labels on the dishes said but my recollection of the dishes.
I have to agree that the portions are very skimpy. We ate dinner at Wasabi last night and could not believe how small the portions were. The majority of the plates are $4.50-$5.00, and each plate only contains 3 or 4 small pieces of maki sushi. The amount of fish in each roll is also pretty skimpy. Assuming no drinks, 5 plates at $4.50 or $5.00 plus tax and tip is above $30, and you certainly do not get enough food to cover this cost!

Ok. Small portions. But no comments about the quality of the food. Nothing about the ingredients. Nothing about the preparation. And let's not forget, there's a concept to this place. It's not just a run of the mill, sit down, place your order joint where food is brought to you by a server. You're paying for something relatively unique to this city and, frankly, you knew that when you sat down. Like it or not, but Disney charges a gazillion dollars so people can wait on long lines and hang out with families of 45 people, including 20 hairy, sweaty dudes wearing tank tops that say "Kiss me! I drink beer!" and then have your picture taken with another ripe dude sweating his ass off wearing a mouse suit. But the Mouse is essentially a Monopoly! Granted, the conveyor belt is not some massive Dulles Metro Extension expense, but in our free market world, we pay extra for things that are unique. (Michael Jackson didn't make zillions because he can sing. As anyone whose watched American Idol can attest, anyone can do that. But who else can sing AND moonwalk????!)

Hungry? Why not go to Fogo de Chao? Oh, you'll get your fill alright! You'll eat like there's no tomorrow. A few trips there and you'll be looking just like the dudes in the "Kiss me!" tank tops! But, does that mean it's a bargain because the portions aren't skimpy? Is there more value at Fogo than there is at Wasabi? Including tax and tip, it costs you nearly $75 just for the hostess to call your damned name! But I can get much better beef in town for much less money. ("When can I go back?" - JPW)

But you know what? It's a concept! People dig it! I did. As Bo pointed out, the place is mobbed! Not all the time, mind you, but I'm not in the slightest bit surprised this place is packing people in. It's fun! Personally, I thought the anticucho and tiradito plates were great. Two, perhaps three, pieces of fresh fish dressed by a chef and served on a plate in a unique concept that no one else is tackling in the neighborhood and it only costs $5? I'll be the first to say that I LOVE Kotobuki! And it's a helluva lot cheaper at Kotobuki! But I was having a helluva lot of fun at Wasabi that I just don't get at Kotobuki.

But you know what's really cool about Wasabi? If you don't feel like paying for the food with the concept, then go for the takeout! If the amount of sushi you get for $12 is too much for a man as attuned to all things Japanese as Shogun, then you know there are bargains to be had there or my name is Commodore Perry.

So, you left hungry after spending that amount of money. Qualify it with info on the quality of the food, the presentation, the ingredients, the atmosphere, etc. I'm done ranting now. I gotta figure out what I'm gonna eat after I scarf down this caviar.

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CrescentFresh

This was not a gut buisting caqn't walk out the door lunch but just a meal on the light side.

I was not looking for endless mounds of meat, just a sushi meal that would satisfy and fill me. This meal, at $34 for food, did not. I thought the portions extremely skimpy in the case of 3 dishes, skimpy fo rthe money for the rest.

My mom always said if you can't say anything nice... don't say anything at all. It was quick. :)

I think that was my attempt to give an impression that I was not impressed. I did not think the fish up to the standards of any of my other sushi palces I go to in terms of freshness. Several of the dishes ahd sauce that overwealmed the flavor of the main ingredient. The south maerican/sushi conncection basically did nothing for me as the sauced dishes were less well executed than a similar dish in a traditional sushi presentatio: ie the yellow tail with sow would have been better with a traditional ponzu sauce, the chicken appetizer was overwealmed by its sauce, the chicken Karage was served with only a lemon wedge and lacked in flavor but was piping hot.

While there were poeple there to the point of a short wait at 1pm, it was not a food experience that I will return for myself. Sushi on a conveyor belt is an old concept, just new to downtown. I have had it before in LA and San Francisco. If I am to support it in DC I woould expect it to hit the mark for both quality and value. This did neither for me.

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Crescentfresh,

I am sorry that we who do not see the value in the offerings at Wasabi. Notice how much I order at lunch, please, before you encourage me to go to Fogo de Chao. I don't think the quality of the sushi I have had in-house at Wasabi equates to the costs. Alisha summed it up based on the amount of fish in the sushi, I couldn't put my finger on it but I think that is right. My favorite dish both times have been non-fish sushi.

There is nothing wrong with those of us who point out that we do not think the "concept" is worthy of the cost. I personally love seeing the sushi chef make sushi. Plus, I have been to a traditional sushi restaurant that employs a very similar "concept" yet you still see the chefs making the sushi. (boats on the water)

Yes, the place has crowds but so does Baja Fresh, Burger King and Sizzling Express at lunch in Farragut. Crowds do not necessarily indicate quality, in this case it may be curiousity. My question was how many return customers does the "concept" attract.

And I believe I did make a comparison from what I think should be pretty easy to ascertain what I think of the quality of the food: Kaz is considered one of the best, most consistent and well regarded sushi restaurants in the city. Hmmm....

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And I believe I did make a comparison from what I think should be pretty easy to ascertain what I think of the quality of the food: Kaz is considered one of the best, most consistent and well regarded sushi restaurants in the city. Hmmm....

I can't help but chime in with a tidbit, again I am biased, I am one of the owners...

First the fish is absolutely the best available. The comparisons to Kaz are very interesting. Kaz is a great restaurant. Before I moved to Europe I worked only a few blocks away and ate their regularly myself. Our manager was the manager of Kaz for the last five years. It is safe to say we know it well. Our fish is from the same suppliers and we are every bit as picky about what fish we buy and how it is handled. Our prices, given different proportions, are similar in some cases, lower in others.

All of that said we are a very different place than Kaz. Our chef has an extremely strong reputation in London. His food is fusion, it is not traditional Japanese. While Kaz uses elements of fusion it is still at heart primarily traditional sushi. Not everyone likes this style. That is cool, there are lots of foods I don't like that other people do. But I do want to make it clear that the quality standards with Chef Choy are as high as they come. He did not build a reputation in London over the last 15 years opening numerous very successful restaurants such as Itzu, k-10, and Yuzu by skimping on fish quality.

PS - How about the sake menu? We worked hard on this and it is quite extensive with many sake's that are being brought into DC just for us. Any comments?

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