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Veg-friendly japanese?

Can anyone recommend an especially vegetarian-friendly Japanese restaurant?

In other cities, I've frequently seen Japanese restaurants offer items like tofu teryaki and sweet potato tempura sushi. Items like these seem to be completely lacking from every Japanese restaurant in the DC area. Why Richmond restaurants, for example, would be more progressive than DC in this way is beyond me.

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  1. Could be because those dishes are near non-existent in Japan, as is strict vegetarianism, and Richmond restaurants get far less actual Japanese clientele than DC ones and are more willing to bend/pander/adapt to Western tastes and norms?

    Just a thought.

    PS - every japanese place makes vegetable tempura. Nearly every japanese place makes agedashi tofu, which is pretty much tofu tempura, though only eaten as an appetizer. Nearly ever japanese place will offer cold soba - also vegetarian. If you try at all, you can eat vegetarian. Go to sushi taro.

    1. Point taken, and of course those items are on offer, but I find the offerings I mentioned from other cities tastier, more filling and more in making of a meal.

      I still find it hard to believe that no restaurant in the entire metro area can serve me tofu teriyaki when I've got a teriyaki craving...who'd of thought I'd need to go to more rural areas to get better veg offerings! This has got to be a first.

      2 Replies
      1. re: westofrome

        It's not a Japanese restaurant, but if you're looking for tofu teriyaki, you can go to Mr. Hibachi in Arlington in the Courthouse area. It's more of a fast food type place. They call it the YooBoo bowl (I'd recommend the rice bowl. I don't know if the noodle bowls are vegetarian, they come with a broth). Website: www.mrhibachi.com

        1. re: westofrome

          The Yu-Tofu dish at Sushi Kappo Kawasaki on 19th St between L and M is outstanding. Best tofu I have had in the DC area.

        2. I agree with the above - strict vegetarianism isn't traditionally big in Japan and you'd be much harder pressed to find vegetarian items on a Japanese menu than, say, an Indian restaurant.

          Tempura batter contains eggs, and dashi (fish stock) is an essential ingredient in many things such as miso soup, soba broth or dipping sauce, tempura dipping sauce and as a garnish. You could get by with vegetable sushi such as kappa (cucumber) roll, plain soba or somen topped with nori flakes and soy sauce, or plain grilled tofu or vegetables. But be sure to tell them you're vegetarian, otherwise eggs or dairy or fish might sneak in there somewhere.

          1. It seems like you might be able to find some in Takoma Park. They seem to have a lot of great vegetarian options. Also, try


            They have a few on their list. I like Sunflower in Vienna which vecdc says has some Japanese food. I haven't noticed it but I didn't look for specifically japanese food.

            1. While not Japanese, there has been discussion on this board of Korean tofu restaurants in Annandale and Centreville. That could be a better bet for vegetarian tofu dishes.

              1. I hate to say it, because I really don't like the place, but Spices is also a Japanese place that has a few veg. offerings. It's in Cleveland park. Their tofu dishes are pretty chinese-y, though... which is probably why I don't like the place. Chinese/Japanese restaurants, on the whole, tend to have pretty bad Japanese food. Actually, I feel that way about Japanese/Korean places usually, too...

                1 Reply
                1. re: EricDC

                  If you want vegetarian sushi, Uni in Dupont circle has a HUGE selection. They make their own soy sauce (which has fish in it) but will happily bring you a vegetarian version. The waiter brought it over and made a point of making sure I knew the rest had fish in it (I am not a vegetarian but I dont like fish so I ordered veggie selections.) They also have nice happy hour prices on sushi (both vegetarian and non). They may have nice vegetarian non-sushi as well but im not sure.

                2. I know that Akasaka in Alexandria has tofu teriyaki. Their miso soup has fish stock. We have found that Pauli Moto's out in Tyson's Corner (in the mall) has alot of veggie stuff. Their agedashi tofu is safe, as is their miso. They also have several interesting grilled veggies, like Japanese potato and asparagus, that you don't see anywhere else. Of course there is all the veggie sushi you can get. I, too, am constantly on the lookout for different Japanese veggie food, so Pauli Moto's was a nice surprise. You can google them and get the menu.