It’s important to Sakura Cafe that its sushi chef, David Li, be given free rein when it comes to creating new sushi rolls. That’s why its maki menu, with nearly 50 specialty rolls, includes creations that have likely never appeared on another menu. The New York roll wraps apple, fish eggs, avocado, and cucumber in soy paper. The Fuji Mountain roll combines eel and smoked salmon with green seaweed powder. And the Bonsai roll drizzles a spicy vinaigrette sauce over spicy tuna, fresh red tuna, and cream cheese.
For those who prefer something other than sushi, the immense menu also offers hot hibachi combinations, such as filet mignon and shrimp, and pan-Asian classics, such as drunken noodle and pad thai. It even has American options, including philly-cheesesteak wraps.
The menu at Kushi is swimming with savory sushi treats and grilled delicacies. Fresh maki is skillfully rolled with yellowtail and scallion or salmon and avocado ($7 each) before being sliced into six easily consumable pieces. Kushi provides a bevy of combination platters for indecisive eaters, such as the bara chirashi with assorted sashimi diced and mixed into sushi rice ($27), or the chef’s choice, which features twelve miscellaneous sushi creations ($40). The authentic robata charcoal grill produces refined tailgate-worthy treats, including salmon fillet ($9) and mahogany quail stuffed with duck-sausage ($12). Working on the basic principal that meals taste better on a stick, a variety of kushiyaki (skewered) eats are offered, such as pork-stuffed shishito pepper ($5). Round out the feast with a special house-blend seaweed salad ($6).
Wasabi cycles through a seasonally fresh assortment of bold ingredients, which come in plenty of forms beyond the roll variety. Most plates are moderately priced and portioned with the intention of pairing. Start out raw with fresh sashimi, such as salmon ($4) or yellow tail ($5), or snag a more complicated arrangement of wasabi and pork shumai dumplings in a vinegar chili soy sauce ($4). Give any plate wings by pairing it with a four-glass sake flight ($7–$20).
When it first opened in March of 2001, Tsunami Sushi & Lounge was on the vanguard of local businesses and shops to settle and thrive in the 14th street corridor near Thomas Circle. Today, the ultramodern lounge relishes in its place as a nerve center for nightlife, treating guests to fresh maki and nigiri, as well as lip-smacking udon, steak, and tempura dishes. Strings of sparkling crystal globes form huge overhanging chandeliers that cast twinkling light upon brick walls, eggshell-white armchairs, and black leather benches. Guests follow a glass-lined staircase up to the restaurant's second story, gazing out upon the bustling streetscapes and poorly hidden bald spots on the sidewalk below.
Rice Bar's trained chefs transform fresh, authentic ingredients into artfully crafted Korean delicacies. Creatively plated meals, such as shin ramen noodle soup ($8.95), launch eyes into frantic semaphore, preparing the tongue for imminent food landings. The talented chefs whip up a variety of authentic Korean and pan-Asian fare, though they specialize in the blending techniques of bibimbap bowls constructed from white rice, protein, veggies, and gochujang, a fermented red-pepper paste that ties all the flavors together. Diners can introduce taste buds to a signature bibimbap such as spicy chicken ($9.95) or kalbi ($11.49) or send chopsticks bobbing for personally chosen comestibles in a design-your-own bibimbap ($6.49).
An evening at Tokyo Japanese Steak House generally includes dinner and a show, but it’s not live music or dancing, and each group of diners gets their own performance. Guests sit down at U-shaped tables built around grills, where chefs theatrically slice, toss, and sizzle teppanyaki dishes. Guests can choose a single protein or a combination—including filet mignon and shrimp—which are seared amid plumes of steam and fire before their very eyes. More mellow meals take place at the sushi and noodle bar, where patrons look on as chefs meticulously build smoked salmon nigiri and Japanese lasagna, a baked California roll with secret sauce. The dishes pair perfectly with their slew of Asian-inspired drinks. In addition to pouring sake and Sapporo, the bartenders mix specialty cocktails, such as the Tokyo sunrise with tequila, plum wine, and pineapple juice.
Uni serves fresh sushi rolls and classic Japanese cuisine in a welcoming, lively atmosphere. Nudge napping taste buds with a starter such as black pepper calamari, crisply deep-fried and served with a spicy wasabi cocktail sauce ($5.95) before moving on to a cooked or uncooked entree. Sushi neophytes can opt for a teriyaki or tempura plate, or dip their toes into the seafood pool with a nibble of namesake sea urchin (uni) nigiri ($6.50). Snack on signature sushi offerings including the mango salmon roll filled with refreshing mint, mango, and cucumber ($6), or boldly joust the fiery red dragon roll sporting tasty twin flames of lobster and tuna ($12). Finish with a delectable dessert such as ice cream tempura, ice cream coated in a fried shell, and coated again in a tasty oxymoron.