• Virginia (12)

Reston, VA — Obi Sushi

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Published on: September 15, 2008
Obi Sushi
1771 Library Street (Reston Town Center)
Reston, VA

Reston Town Center is an upscale shopping center located amidst several office buildings. There are several restaurants in the complex and they do a brisk lunch business. I was working nearby and I found Obi Sushi on the Internet.

I drove over to Reston Town Center and parked in one of the free parking ramps. Obi Sushi is across the street so I walked on over. Obi is a modern looking restaurant with a buffet at lunch time. The buffet includes sushi and a variety of Japanese items.

I decided to try the buffet. I normally don’t like Tempura but I gave it a try along with a noodle dish and some gyoza. All of them were good but since this is a sushi site, I should probably comment on the sushi.

The buffet contained the normal assortment of maki. California rolls, spicy tuna rolls and some nigiri. The sushi was good but not outstanding. Overall I was pleased.

This is one of only a few sushi buffets that I can honestly recommend.

Obi Sushi 3 rice bowls * * * - -

Reston, VA — Ariake Japanese Restaurant

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Published on: August 14, 2008
Ariake Japanese Restaurant
12184 Glade Drive
Reston, VA

I often find myself working in the technology corridor around Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. This week I was in Reston, Virginia and in between watching the Olympics, I snuck out to enjoy some sushi.

I looked at some online reviews and Ariake seemed to be consistently good. I punched the address into the GPS and drove to the restaurant. Ariake doesn’t look like a sushi restaurant at all. It is located at the end of a mall in a stand alone building.

The restaurant has huge windows on three sides, it looks like the walls themselves are glass. Buit the most uniqe feature of Ariake is an outdoor stone patio. The patio is set apart from the parkling lot and has seating for about twenty people. I think there was some water, maybe a small fountain at one end.

The interior was a bit unusual for a sushi restaurant. There was none of the common blond wood and Japanese inspired accents. Instead there are beautifully polished deep brown wood floors and tables and chairs to match.

The menus were nicely presented and there was a good variety of items. I decided to order the deluxe sashimi combo. The salad was unremarkable but the miso was good. When my sashimi arrived I knew it would be good.

The sashimi was nicely arranged on a bed of Japanese radish and wafer thin cucumber slices. My combo included tuna, white tuna, salmon, yellowtail, red snapper and surf clam. There was a white fish in the middle served with tobiko and tiny slivers of scallions. I coul dnot identify the type bit it was good.

I like a good presentation but in the end you have to eat it. I was not dissapointed. I love white tuna, I started there and it was perfect, it sort of melts in your mouth. The tuna was very good and the salmon had just enough taste without being overpowering. All of the fish was good.

I could not find anything wrong with Ariake, I really enjoyed it.

Ariake 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Ashburn, VA — Samurai Japanese Restaurant

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Published on: May 2, 2007
Samurai Japanese Restaurant
43150 Broadlands Center Plaza
Ashburn, VA

Ashburn, Virginia is in the DC suburbs out by Dulles airport. I spent a grueling week in the area working late hours. By Wednesday night, I was ready for some sushi. I used the GPS and found Samurai, it was close to the office and in an upscale neighborhood.

Samurai is a sushi restaurant shoe-horned into a small storefront in a strip mall. The mall has a grocery store and a variety of restaurants. When I walked in, I saw that Samurai has a few seats at the sushi bar and about a dozen tables. I took a seat near the front window which had good light so I could read.

The menu had an extensive list of nigiri and several rolls. I ordered a regular sashimi combo and a Whitehouse roll. The Whitehouse roll had white tuna, avocado, tuna and asparagus. I am beginning to enjoy white tuna more and more. Combined with two of my favorites — avocado and asparagus — I knew this roll would be a winner. When the roll arrived I was pleased to discover that I was right. The mix was absolutely perfect. The ingredients complimented each other without being overpowering. The tuna (red), avocado and asparagus were wrapped up in sushi rice. The sushi rice was wrapped in white tuna, sprinkled with a few sesame seeds. If it sounds like I am raving about the roll — I am.

The sashimi combo was a little unusual. Most places make up a combo with three pieces of each kind of sashimi, almost as if were a law. At Samurai there were five pieces of each kind and four pieces of snapper arranged into a rose. Nineteen pieces in all! This was the small combo, the large combo consisted of 27 pieces!

The sashimi was arranged on a plain white plate on top of the largest pile of shredded daikon that I have ever seen. All of the fish was first quality. I have no complaints at all about Samurai.

If Samurai had any fresh specials, it would have been rated a five.

Samurai Japanese Restaurant: 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Arlington, VA — Sushi Zen

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Published on: March 2, 2007
Sushi Zen
2457 North Harrison Street
Arlington, Va

I have been working in Falls Church, Virginia this week. At lunch today I decided to look for a sushi bar. I went out to my car and used the Hertz GPS to look for the nearest Japanese restaurant. I avoided the Teppanaki places and found Sushi Zen. Sushi Zen was only a few miles away but it took me about twenty minutes to get there with the lunch time traffic. Sushi Zen is located in a busy strip mall and I think I go the very last parking place. It took a while, but it was worth it.

Sushi Zen is a medium sized Japanese restaurant with several tables and a small sushi bar. The decor is blond wood with screens separating the tables. Overall, I thought the restaurant looked nice. I especially appreciated the fact that the interior was bright so I had no trouble reading my menu or my book.

I ordered the lunch sushi/sashimi combo and a Philly roll. The combo came with miso soup and a salad. I was pleasantly surprised with the salad. The lettuce was crisp and fresh and the dressing was just right. A nice change from those places that smother their lettuce in dressing. The salad dressing was a creamy dressing with perhaps a bit of orange rather than the ubiquitous ginger served by many sushi places.

The combo was a nice mix of nigiri and sashimi. The nigiri included salmon, tuna, red snapper and eel. The sashimi included yellowtail and  tuna. I also got a choice of a California roll or tuna roll. This was a nice touch, I rarely order sushi combos because so many places include a California roll and do not allow substitutions.

All of the fish was very good. I am not the biggest unagi fan but even the eel was good. Portion sizes were just right and everything was fresh and tasty. The rolls were a bit uneven. The Philly roll was very good, a nice mix that included cucumber. The cucumber added a nice texture.

Sushi Zen was a pleasant surprise.

Sushi Zen: 4 rice bowls * * * * -

Vienna, VA — Narita Japanese Restaurant

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Published on: February 15, 2006
Narita Japanese Restaurant
8417 Old Courthouse Road
Vienna, VA

A colleague recommended Narita. The restaurant is located in the busy Mclean, Tysons, Vienna corridor. Narita is located in a strip mall next to a Subway, Thai restaurant and Korean Barbecue. I got to Narita at about 9:15 one evening and I was prepared to be disappointed. The restaurant was empty and dining in an empty restaurant near closing is a sure way to get bad service. (See The Best Time to go to a Restaurant)

I was pleasantly surprised. While I was in the restaurant, they took several takeout orders and a handful of customers came in to pick up their sushi. The service was quick and professional. The restaurant had more of a Mediterranean than Japanese feel but it was clean and bright enough to read in. There was also a 40 or so inch plasma TV and I watched the Olympic women’s downhill ski race during dinner.

I ordered a sashimi special. It came with Miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing. At first I thought that the lettuce might be spoiled but I was wrong — the dressing was brownish in color and it made the lettuce look spoiled. When I took a tentative bite, I was surprised, the salad was very good. The lettuce was crisp and the dressing was excellent. It was probably as good a salad as I have had in a Japanese restaurant.

The Miso was good but nothing special. When the sashimi arrived it looked good. The presentation was rather ordinary, pine butcher block with piles of shredded radish topped with fish. The combo included Salmon, Tuna, White Tuna, Red Snapper and Yellow Tail. All fish I especially enjoy. The pieces we a little bit thinner than I like making it harder to hold them with the chopsticks. The quality was excellent. The fish was firm and tasty. The White Tuna and Yellow Tail deserve special mention as they were perfect.

I thoroughly enjoyed Narita and will make it a regular stop on my frequent business trips to this area.

Narita: 4 rice bowls * * * * -

McLean, VA — Tachibana

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Published on: July 21, 2005
6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA
(703) 847-1771

Tonight Sushipilgrim decided to try a new sushi place. Several reviewers gave Tachibana high ratings so it looked promising. Tachibana is open until 10:00pm on weeknights so I watched a couple of episodes of Law & Order and got to the restaurant at 9:00pm.

Tachibana is a large restaurant with a curved sushi bar and a large main dining for tables. In the back I could see Tatami rooms andother private dining areas. The restaurant is clean but the decor is a little bit dated.

Right away I was impresed with the menu. Tachibana has an excellent sushi menu as well as reular Japanese menu items. Several items were worth noting. Uni, mirugai and fresh mackeral were all on the menu.

Tachibana is also notable because it has combinations both as complete dinners and a la carte. The complete dinners come with a choice of soup, salad appetizer and ice cream or sorbet for dessert. I ordered the sashimi combination. I chose Miso soup, and a shrimp sunomono salad. For an appetizer I chose shrimp shumai.

The Miso was good but the sunomono was spectacular. The sunomono was cucumber, shrimp and seaweed. The shumai was good but a little bit on the bland side. The sashimi however was perfect. The sashimi arrived on a plate and in a bowl. It was artfully arranged but not as nicely as at Sushi House in Iowa.

The sashimi combination was the best I’ve ever had. It had salmon, tuna, yellowtail, halibut and seared tuna. The best part was the diced scallops served in a carved up cucumber shell. All of the fish was just right, firm and fresh. The flavors blended nicely and the portions were perfect.

I cannot think of a single negative comment for Tachibana this is now one of my favorite sushi restaurants.

Tachibana: 5 rice bowls * * * * *

Vienna, VA — Sweet Ginger

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Published on: July 20, 2005
Sweet Ginger
120B Branch Rd Se
Vienna, VA
(703) 319-3922
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