Metro Sushi Answers

In the mood for a light sushi lunch? Well often times I am. And it can be very tricky finding good sushi anywhere in the DC Metro area, let alone affordable, high quality, interesting, (in walking distance from work) and delicious sushi. Most people don't often want to spend any more than $10 for lunch, and usually the cheaper the better. That's tough at nearly any sit-down sushi restaurant and unfortunately knocks out even pre-made/pick-up sushi places, which are either still quite expensive or just not tasty enough.

So lost cause? Not quite. There is one place that does lunchtime sushi right – Met Cafe in the inner courtyard area off G street between 17th and 18th NW. I've been aware of it for a while but only have tried it a couple times recently. The place has a hot buffet for Asian-inspired lunches but the real gem is the sushi buffet. It is manned by an authentic sushi chef who really seems to care about the bar being clean, fresh, beautiful and stocked throughout the lunch service.

So how does it work? You go through the bar and get as much or as little as you want for $10.99 per pound. You're given your own personal pair of tongs – that are cleaned between usages – to take the sushi that are laid on beautiful, wooden sushi boards behind some half-glass. The rolls are big, vibrant and deluxe. Plus, the sushi chef is replenishing constantly, so the sushi is always extremely fresh.

So what was on the bar? You name it. Big pieces of tuna, salmon, shrimp and whitefish nigiri, along with countless large rolls. Not just basic tuna or California rolls, but spicy rolls, avocado rolls and even rolls topped with raw tuna or salmon as an added, luxe sushi garnish. These are rolls that would cost $7-$13+ each at any restaurant are sold here at weight. You can take one piece of each, or 10 pieces of one, and it's all the same. It's great!

And how IS this dream sushi? Superb. As good as any restaurant sushi I've had lately in this area. The fish was fresh and cut very well. The rice was flavorful, and each roll piece was loaded with flavor, and no sushi filler (i.e. cucumber) could be found. It was almost addictingly good. Just couldn't wait to go back. I was thrilled!

So how much did I pay for this? I was so excited that I loaded up and got certainly enough to be a dinner portion. And yet – it was still under a pound and cost under $10 for the sushi. On a normal day (like my second visit), a lunch portion for me only cost $6 or $7. Now THAT is a place to know. Great taste, great quality, great variety, great price. Great sushi! Met cafe: go there, but leave a little sushi for me.

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