A Call For Better Sushi Joints

I've said it before and I've heard it from others. So it's not just me. The sushi scene is weak in this area. The Washington DC metro area, complete with northern Virginia and a large chunk of Maryland enjoys a surprising dearth of high quality, affordable sushi, a combination in a sushi joint that I've found many times over in Ann Arbor and Manhattan alike. I'm looking for a neighborhood place that's not necessarily cheap, just not inflated. The fish needs to be high quality and consistent and the work not sloppy. That is all I ask for – a place I can go and grab sushi without even thinking about it. I've been to at least a dozen different local susheries since moving to the DC area and have yet to come close. The relatively inexpensive sushi I've found has been being bland and junky and anything nicer I've found has been so incredibly overpriced that it puts even most NYC joints easily to shame. I don't need frou-frou, I need neighborhood. DC doesn't always do neighborhood so well.

I recently found a strong contender – Bonsai Sushi on 23rd St near Fern in Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. About as hole-in-the-wall as I've seen around here, which gave me fond memories of a couple of my favorite Ann Arbor and New York sushi joints. Small, unpretentious, fast, efficient, high quality, simple, well priced, tasty. All the things I need and nothing more. Not so cheap that I'm getting ungainly cucumber (my sushi pet peeve) in rolls as filler for fish or avocado, but not so overdone and overpriced that I'm pressured into ordering the Barak Obama Roll and the Super Man Verses Godzilla Roll for $17 each that make their $12 spicy tuna roll look like a real bargain. Perfectly in the middle and great sushi. The tuna was cut perfectly and tasted perfectly lovely. I stayed simple and just ordered the tuna sampler, so that's all I can say for now. But perfect tuna for a good price is a perfect start for me to a beautiful little relationship. It's only been once and consistency is the last and most crucial trait (see CafĂ© Asia). I will be trying Bonsai again and giving it that chance to become one of my “destinations” like my sushi places always becomes. And I will try other potential great sushi places – like the new Current (in Dupont Circle) tomorrow for my sister's birthday.

But seriously, DC area, you can do better! Crystal City is not the only place I should be resorting to for good sushi around here. I'm looking for better than that and hope to be further impressed shortly. You’re on notice, and I’ll be keeping my eyes open.

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