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Sushi on the conveyor belt

Does anyone know the names of the 2 DC place that have this method of serving, and what is your opinion? Thinking these are more lunch oriented.

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  1. 1) Asahi Kaiten in the Ballston Mall (Arlington)

    2) Wasabi
    908 17th St. NW Washington, DC

    1. Sushi Go Round & Tapas, 705 7th St Nw, Washington, DC, 202.393.2825 this is at the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop.

      1. DCFUD (Zoe, the editor) wrote an article about Wasabi: http://dcfud.smorgasblog.com/archives...

        I have heard taht Asahi Kaiten isn't very good, but haven't been there. They have a $1 a piece lunch special on Mondays.

        1. I thought Sushi-go-Round in Chinatown was pretty decent. Not Sushi Ko class, but it isn't trying to be. The tuna, salmon, and avocado rolls were good, and prices were reasonable. Since the plates are pattern-coded, you know how much everything is up front. Get a seat near where the belt comes out of the kitchen so you get first dibs. A nice alternative to the overpriced boutique bowling alley upstairs and a good place for a quick meal before or after a movie.

          1. I found Wasabi very average. Seemed overpriced to me - we did not see anything come around for the lowest price. Even plain cucumber rolls were the next step up. The best deal was the salmon and tuna sashimi, which came around fairly often. The biggest disappointment were the rolls, which were square and heavy on rice. I could see into the (closed) kitchen, and the cooks were making the rolls with a machine, so I should not have been surprised.

            1. It looks like Wasabi is expanding into Adams Morgan, F Street NW, and Arlington. Ultimately, the owner wants to expand nationwide. I'm sure that will do wonders for quality.


              11 Replies
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                Did you read that article? The Arlington location will be in the Lyon Village shopping center, and the owner thinks he'll get spillover business from the Italian Store.

                It isn't that often that I go to the Italian Store and get fed up with waiting in line, as I know to expect it. However, if that does happen, I don't think of sushi as an alternative.

                1. re: Lori D

                  I am surprised that the Italian Store would share their numbers with this guy. Why would they do that. I suppose he could just be speculating based upon the mob scene that you can usually expect to find in there during prime hours.

                  I am in Lyon Village a lot, and regularly shop at nearly every store in there, but I guess I never noticed any open commercial space. Did the photo place close?

                  1. re: dcs

                    My guess is that he's speculating. Still, I know that, if I'm in the mood for an Italian sub, I'm not likely to change my mind to get sushi because of long lines (and I do like sushi).

                    I think I remember the photo place being closed the last time I was in Lyon Village (to go to the Italian Store).

                  2. re: Lori D

                    Maybe this explains why when we went to the Italian Store the other night, there were three new people (two behind the counter, one at the cash register) who were probably japanese, and seemed to barely speak a word of english. My wife and I were contemplating whether the ownership of the Italian Store had changed, and whether the place would have any credibility as an italian deli with japanese owners.

                    (I'm not one of those people who thinks that if you come to live in America, you need to know the language, but I am one of those people who think that if your job is to deal with customers who all speak english, it's probably a good idea to speak english yourself).

                    I do know that there is a small empty space available on the other side of the Starbucks from the Italian Store. Maybe they'll move in there? On the other hand, maybe the Italian Store is moving? I know several months ago, they were trying to have a place inside to let their customers eat, but were forced to shut it down because they didn't have any washroom facilities.

                    1. re: davefaris

                      Maybe this Lyon Village sushi place talk is not speculation at all...maybe you accidentally happened into the sushi place? Did your Milano happen to have the distinct taste and mouth-feel of a salmon skin hand roll?

                      There are plenty of very credible Italian restaurants which don't have Italian owners. And very credible sushi restaurants with non-Japanese owners.

                      1. re: Lowbar

                        Now that you mention it, the prosciutto did taste a little like tuna. But the wasabi did provide the right amount of zing, even with the hot peppers.

                        1. re: Lowbar

                          It's possible for a non-Japanese owner of a sushi restaurant to be good; however, many of them don't make the rice properly. According to the linked article, the owner and chef of Wasabi are not Japanese (or Asian).

                          I haven't been to Wasabi, so I'm not making any judgements on its quality. However, kaitenzushi restaurants in Japan are known as cheap, unambitious places. You can't expect the best quality sushi from a place where it is left out (either on a buffet or spinning around a conveyor belt).

                          There is one other place in the area with kaitenzushi - Matsuba in Bethesda. They have a different concept; the kaitenzushi bar is AYCE. I thought the sushi was fine; however, they were not busy, so I had to be careful about what I ate to avoid the sushi that had been sitting (the way to do that is to see if the sushi looks dried out, or, even simpler, watch the sushi chef place the sushi on the belt and take what is freshly made).

                          1. re: Lori D

                            Frankly, I cannot think of any type of food that I would want to eat off of a conveyor belt. It sounds barely one step up from an automat.


                              1. re: dcs

                                God, I miss the automat! Nothing like a "tomato soup" made at the condiment bar out of catsup, pepper, and hot water! Mmmmmm!

                                1. re: dcs

                                  Lori D mentioned Matsuba in Bethesda... It's actually called Matuba. Eating food off a conveyor belt isn't so horrible if there is sushi chef standing in the middle of the circle and making sushi with customers watching. I used to be a frequent customer at Matuba, but paying for parking turned me away.

                                  Since then, I have a found a place in Germantown called YurakuI think. It's an $11 sushi buffet (that's not on a conveyor belt) and free parking. They've got good eel (once in a blue moon, the rice will be overcooked) and salmon's pretty fresh. I like their squid too. They've got an assortment of rolls I haven't bothered to try yet though...

                      2. Asahi Kaiten is pretty mediocre sushi, but with the Capitals now practicing in the mall you can sometimes see some pretty entertaining bar scenes with hockey groupies and player pick-ups.

                        I think Wasabi is well above average sushi, but very expensive (once spent $70 for two at lunch before we realized it). They have Peruvian salmon and chicken anticucho available on the merry go round and for takeout, and this is an outstanding dish (if you're getting it for takeout, ask for extra pepper sauce).

                        1. Authentic Japanese Sushi in D.C. metro area Matsutake in Chantilly/Herndon Va area and Arlington Va. Most other are "korean" or "chinese" imitation.

                          1. In San Francisco, they do kaiten-sushi off of - not conveyor belts, check this out - FLOATING SUSHI BOATS. There is a flowing river of water, and flat-top boats with 2-4 plats of sushi on them go floating by. Otherwise it's the same deal - color coded for price, take what you want, etc. - but it's SO COOL.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: EricDC

                              Perry's in Adams Morgan also has the floating boats. Good sushi too.