Hungry twosomes can warm up palates with organic tofu miso soup and a starter to share, such as a Dragon Taco, a combination of eel, cucumber, and salsa tucked inside a grilled-tortilla sleeping bag. The second course confronts chopsticks with two of more than 35 special rolls, including the Crunchy Infinity, a symphony of shrimp tempura, spicy crab, cucumber, masago, and crunch flakes, and the Out of Control, which attacks tongues with tuna, salmon, soft-shell crab, and spicy tuna, all drizzled with spicy aioli. Special rolls are then sidekicked by a choice of two classic maki such as California rolls, spicy-scallop rolls, and Spider rolls—deep-fried soft-shell crab dressed in the finest bright-orange masago overcoats.
Though the interior of Matsutake Ballston Japanese Steak and Seafood House takes a modern approach to traditional Asian décor, its lunch and dinner menus are filled with authentic Japanese cuisine. On traditional hibachi grills, chefs-turned-showmen sizzle morsels of marinated chicken, NY strip steak, and lobster alongside fresh vegetables. At the sushi bar, maki-makers hand craft spicy tuna, tempura shrimp, and California rolls in a less flashy display. For more unique flavors, Matsutake serves up appetizers of tempura-fry calamari and cap meals with desserts such as housemade crème brulee infused with green tea and cream harvested from the brulee tree. Matsutake also stocks a selection of imported Japanese drinks including Echigo Koshi Hikari rice lager, Junmai sake, and Ramune orange soda.
At Hikaru Sushi, seasoned chefs mold the sea's freshest specimens into more than 70 types of maki and nigiri. In addition to constructing classic California rolls from crab sticks and cucumbers, they whisk taste buds to the frontier of the sushi realm with colorful fruit maki and a deep-fried Virginia roll stuffed with asparagus, cream cheese, and yellowtail. The eponymous Hikaru bento box pairs a choice of five sushi rolls with hot teriyaki and an Asian amuse-bouche such as gyoza or shumai, and the Hikaru maki teams crispy shrimp tempura with a mayo that has more kick than a Rockette who took tae kwon do lessons as a child. To end the meal on a sweet note, guests can nibble desserts such as mango sherbet and tempura ice cream on the restaurant's outdoor patio.
Every Wednesday and Thursday night at Zen Bistro & Wine Bar, melodies of live musicians fill the air and swirl with the aromas of Pan-Asian specialties. Behind the scenes, the kitchen staff prepares sushi rolls, entrees, and Asian-style tapas to serve alongside their carefully selected wines or cocktails. Meanwhile, patrons soak in the serene décor, gazing at stone fountains and lush plants while resting after a long day of re-painting neighborhood taxi cabs into police cars.
Made to be shared with tablemates, the tapas dishes include specialties like fried-chicken curry puffs, crunchy calamari with mixed greens, or crispy wonton spring rolls. Dinner specialties include five-spice roasted duck, braised lemongrass lamb chops, and hawaiian chicken with pineapple and cashew nuts.
Kanpai Japanese Restaurant encourages diners to raise their glasses over platefuls of fresh sushi and traditional Japanese entrees. Inside the restaurant—which takes its name from a word that means “cheers!” —patrons gather around the sushi bar and watch as chefs set pieces of yellowtail, white tuna, and smoked salmon over rice and slice up various specialty rolls. Meanwhile, the wait staff carries salmon and chicken teriyaki from the grill to dining room tables both indoors and out. Throughout meals, patrons can sip wine and sake, or kick back with a bottle of Japanese beer.
True to its name, Hashi Sushi Georgetown's culinary craftsmen bundle and roll a variety of sushi rolls, but that's not the only recipe in the restaurant's cookbook. The chefs also acquaint diners with traditional Japanese and Korean dishes they may not have tried, such as fresh udon or ramen noodle soups tossed with breaded tonkatsu, or bento boxes of spicy bulgogi strewn with kimchi. On the weekends, the restaurant combines its dignified sushi-bar airs with a burst of nightlife fun replete with sake bombs and energetic crowds, before turning back into a pumpkin at 11 p.m.
Chopsticks China Bistro & Sushi Bar's chefs fill plates with spicy, traditional Chinese cuisine and spin sushi rolls. Feast on a selection from the extensive lunch menu, which includes mongolian beef ($6.79), moo goo gai pan ($6.29), and szechuan-braised chicken and shrimp ($7.29) and earn sides such as fried rice and crab rangoon. The dinner menu lists larger dishes, such as the ginger lobster tail, a lobster tail with asparagus and snow peas stir-fried in ginger scallion sauce ($18.99), and the steak and scallops, served with black-peppercorn sauce, mushrooms, and onions ($16.99). Emerging from the sushi menu are physical tuna, salmon, or squid rolls ($4.59 each) and the sashimi combination plate, featuring an assortment of 15 flavors ($17.99).