Yosaku Japanese Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue is all about their fresh fish. The top-grade sushi and sashimi joint in the Tenleytown neighborhood offers happy hour specials, lunch deals and casual dinner options for anyone seeking recently caught fish, be it in sushi roll form or as part of the restaurant’s expanded dinner menu. Inside the smallish space, eaters will find tight seating and a few token Japanese touches, like a stand of fake bamboo or the rock-filled straw basket that rests near the front door. Little else gets in the way at Yosaku, which offers teriyaki bowls, noodles and soups in addition to the rolls from the sushi bar in back. Despite the no-frills décor, this spot has been a popular local option for inexpensive sushi and cheap bento boxes since the 1980s.
Filling a need in the District for appealing pan-Asian eats, the Satay Club has obviously struck a pleasing note with a broad spectrum of locals. Slipping in at lunchtime, patrons will find tables filled with students from nearby American University, business folks out for an inexpensive bite and neighborhood pals chatting over a plate of sushi or pad Thai. For the serious eater, the menu offers such offbeat dishes as Malaysian rendang, a spicy beef stew, and gado gado, a fan-favorite Indonesian salad with lots of steamed vegetables. More familiar dishes include bowls of ramen, Chinese lo mein noodles, and roasted Peking duck. For anyone who doesn’t have time to relax inside the long red-walled and wood-heavy eatery, online ordering and quick pick-up options are available.
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.
Saigon Saigon's immersive Vietnamese menu features pho noodle soups, spicy curries, and entrees of lemongrass chicken or roast pork. Diners sip wine while nibbling small plates of shrimp-topped baguettes, mushroom-stuffed spring rolls, or skewers of marinated chicken satay. Main courses appease appetites with stir-fried noodle dishes, or Chef Vu's specialties of rice topped with Saigon sausage and lemongrass pork, flank steak in sizzling hot pots, and filets of ginger-infused salmon. Chefs garnish dishes with colorful fresh veggies and fragrant herbs, and diners enjoy their feasts amid the warm-colored walls and sprigs of bamboo of the interior or in the open air of the patio.
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.
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.