Spices has clean, modern lines and an open sushi bar where diners can enjoy a visual feast while feasting. Chef Jessie Yan's menu features contemporary and home-style Asian recipes. Start with Sichuan Dragon Dumplings (chicken, watercress, and shiitake mushrooms, $6) before launching an all-out consumption attack on an unsuspecting specialty maki Dancing Eel roll (barbecue eel, crabstick, masago, avocado, and cucumber, $11) or the green curry (chicken, beef, or pork swimming in rich, creamy coconut curry with eggplant and basil, served in a brass wok; lunch $11, dinner $13). For large appetites, the big duck roasted and served with pancakes, cucumbers, scallions, and plum sauce (half duck $15, whole $30) is capable of occupying most unused stomach storage, while a zesty grilled dish such as the Vietnamese grilled shrimp, served with a Vietnamese spring roll, lettuce, cucumber, mint, and roasted peanuts over vermicelli (lunch $12, dinner $14) gently tucks hunger under a culinary blanket.
Located on the second floor of a Woodley Park building overlooking Connecticut Avenue, Umi Japanese Cuisine is a chic and cozy spot that happily serves up some of the best-tasting and reasonably-priced sushi in Northwest DC. All of the experienced chefs come from the uber-competitive New York City Japanese restaurant scene, so they know their way around a roll. The sushi bar is fully stocked, with a so-called bartender who can whip up funky goodies like the Superman Roll, which combines shrimp tempura, cream cheese and spicy crab meat. Umi offers an extensive selection of bento boxes, Japanese entrées, hot and cold appetizers and noodle specialties as well, and at lunch, it’s possible to get a plateful of sushi or sashimi for less than $10.
Maté specializes in creating original sushi rolls with a Latin twist ($8–$15). The restaurant's novel nibbles include the Buenos Aires roll, a combination of jumbo lump crab, torched salmon, and tempura crunch; the Tamalito roll, a sweet and spicy mélange of yellowtail jalapeno, avocado, plantain, and corn masa wrapped in daikon skin; and the Mar del Plata roll, a cornucopia of lobster, cucumber, soy nori, chives, and avocado. Maté boasts a selection of seven ceviches, cooked with citric acid to heat-free perfection ($10–$17). For Asian-influenced Asian fare, select one of the restaurant's traditional sashimi, maki, or nigiri options. While relishing rolls or sipping sake from the sleek aluminum bar, diners can luxuriate in Maté's elegant atmosphere or try to blend in with the crimson décor by sharing embarrassing stories about email typos.
TAAN Noodles is a modern homage to traditional izakayas (sake bars) and ramen shops. The Adams-Morgan spot has found ways to present unexpected ingredients into the classic Japanese soup.
Hunting for the Perfect Ramen
Ramen is served at tens of thousands of eateries throughout the world, but there's something special about the version at TAAN Noodles. Part of the secret lies in chef Michael Than's signature spice blend. Aficionados are also drawn by Than's use of unique ingredients?garlic chips show up in a vegan ramen with soy-milk broth, for instance, and pickled cucumbers add an acidic tang to the duck-confit ramen with scallions.
Japan's Rice Wines & Aged Spirits
TAAN Noodles' sake list hits a range of flavor profiles, with bottles that range from dry to semi-sweet. There are a few specialty cocktails as well, such as the old-fashioned-like Dr. Sun Yat-sen, made from 12-year-aged Japanese whiskey, simple syrup, and aromatic bitters.
This campy and trendy Adams Morgan spot gives off a period-piece vibe, with its burgundy and red dÌ©cor accented by a funky chandelier. The long bar and rooftop dining annex are hot spots within the restaurant, serving up its Japanese-inspired menu of unusual sushi rolls and some Korean- and Chinese-style dishes such as bulgogi and kung pao chicken with walnuts. Cocktails, cuisine and queens reign supreme at Perrys Sunday morning buffet brunch. Unlike other venues, Perrys Sunday Drag Brunch features live drag entertainment. Perrys does not take reservations for the brunch, though, so arrive early as a line forms before the restaurant opens.