Nigiri Hour

It is a rare confluence, especially in an overpriced urban area, to find high quality sushi, expertly made, that is also a good deal. I would go into the reasons for why, but that would certainly bore you. Besides, I've discovered DC's version of that rare confluence, so it does not matter. Just go to Cafe Asia near 17th and Eye streets NW, between 4 and 7:30 PM for their happy hour sushi and drinks.

It's as simple as you can imagine. During those hours, all Nigiri (pieces) are $1.25. Yes, nigiri. The cleanest and most exquisite form of sushi. The pieces that most places have no problem charging two to three times that price for. And they are delicious at CafĂ© Asia. Not too thickly cut, very flavorful (not fishy) and very visually appealing as well. Simply put, it is highly excellent sushi for an obscenely low price. I got 11 pieces of my favorites (tuna, shrimp, white fish) recently for $14. Most places you'd be lucky to get 5 pieces of their choice and a California roll for $20 in the sushi dinner. Here, you make your own sushi dinner – for less. Any nigiri on their menu – tuna, salmon, white fish, yellow tail, eel, octopus, squid, shrimp, mackerel and more – same price, every day during happy hour. And something tells me they probably do a large portion of their dinner service during happy hour by design. It gets me coming there.

So you're probably thinking by now that Cafe Asia must be some sort of hole in the wall, a little sushi joint that is slightly suspect. Thus the good prices. Well that couldn't be farther from the truth. Hey it's not Morton's, but it is a big, open New York style restaurant, immensely spread across three terrace-like floors. The wait staff is friendly and quick. And the bar and happy hour drink specials ($3 glasses of wine, $2 bottled beers, $2.50 draft Kirin and others) add to its appeal as well.

The bottom line is, Cafe Asia sushi has some of the better sushi I have had in DC. Clean-cut, tasty and fresh. And it’s definitely the cheapest too. So, know when to go – and enjoy exactly how much and what types of sushi you're in the mood for. Go nuts!

Check out my review of this place in even more detail at Menuism.com!

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