Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jan 13, 2008 01:35 AM

"California" style sushi in DC area?

Hi all,

My wife and I moved to the area recently from California and have been trying to find a new go-to sushi place (we used to go probably once a week). All of the recommended restaurants though seem to be much more traditional than what we like - I know, we're certainly not purists.

For an idea, here is the menu at our old favorite in Santa Cruz: This is our favorite when we're visiting family in Las Vegas: We're really just looking for a place that serves more than just one type of fish + rice. We like all those non-traditional ingredients: cream cheese, macadamia nuts, tempura'd rolls, yum-yum scallop...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. =


Anyone know a place like that? If it makes a difference, we're in Arlington, but we'll drive pretty far to get some sushi.

Thanks in advance for the help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well thanks ... now you've made ME hungry!

    There's a buncha stuck-up sushi snobs around here, and as far as I know there's nothing quite in the league you've linked to. But I do have a few ideas for you:

    The selections at a good (a REALLY good) buffet might be a bit more venturesome, and the selections at a good Korean buffet might be even more so.

    At Il Mee (I'd better put in in caps for readability: "IL MEE") in Annandale, you can have sushi in the Korean style, or as I posted here long ago "The dinner sushi is, in my view, extraordinary. Of course, it must be judged against the standards of Korean sushi, not against "Japanese tradition." That doesn't mean any lessening of quality, it means a riot of flavors (some strong) and colors, with a liberal dash of creativity. Moreover, the variety and supply is generous." Sushi with sauces, sushi with ingredients I don't recognize ... you will at least be intrigued.

    Plus, I would add for my California friend here, I suspect that the other Korean items might fit very well into that niche you're looking to fill: grill-at-the-table thinsliced meats and shrimp, a profusion of sauces and rice cakes and all sorts of things. Well worth a try and, I promise you, you will be in the heart of "Little Korea" so there's no foolin' about the quality (no 'dumbing down.'

    Very near to IL MEE is "Well Being," another buffet with a slightly different (but equally varied) take on sushi, and it's one I like a lot. I regularly see tempura-fried sushi here (though it's not my favorite).

    For the really wild stuff set forth in your link ... convince that place to open a branch here, I'll be first in line!

    1. You might really like a new place in Falls Church called Koi Koi. They definitely offer the biggest variety of non-traditional sushi I've ever seen. Cream cheese? Yes. Tempura'd rolls? Yes. I don't remember the deal on the other two ingredients you mentioned. I know none of our rolls included those two ingredients.

      Other details: The menu is huge with permutations and combinations of ingredients and appealing photographs of each type of roll. Except for the standard Japanese-modern, non-ergonomically-friendly chairs, the dining room is very appealing. Frosted glass panels with Japanese images decorate the walls.

      The servers were all friendly and responsive to questions or requests.

      At the moment, the biggest problem will be finding Koi Koi. The place is located off Rte. 7, in the retail space back from Panera. They're almost hidden from view as the result of construction on surrounding buildings. The courtyard parking lot that will eventually give passers-by visual access and parking is now a jungle of construction fence and equipment. (I drive along Rte 7 regularly and I've been looking for Koi Koi sporadically. I only located it within the past week.)

      Heading west on Rte 7, if you turn right when you pass Panera, you'll probably be able to find street parking for now. You won't even have to go to the front of the building and loop around to access Koi Koi. There's well-lit walkway access around the back of the building.

      The restaurant doesn't have its own website, but here's more information:

      1 Reply
      1. Cream cheese and tempura aren't uncommon at most sushi places in the area; I can't remember the last time I saw a sushi place that didn't have a "Philly roll" with salmon and cream cheese, for example. Akasaka in Alexandria or Maneki Neko in Falls Church are good choices for those sorts of rolls.

        Flying Fish in Old Town Alexandria uses some of the other less-common ingredients that I see on the Mobo menu, like gobo/burdock, although I doubt they have things like spinach and macadamia.

        And if you just want unconventional and have some $ to drop, check out Kaz Sushi Bistro, where you'll get more off-the-wall dishes like sake-poached scallops and trout napoleons. And now that I think about it, I've seen sushi there with ingredients like truffles, almonds, mango, and even foie gras. So that may be the closest to what you're looking for.

        Manekineko Japanese Restaurant
        238 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046

        Akasaka Japanese Restaurant
        514 S Van Dorn St, Alexandria, VA 22304

        Kaz-Sushi Bistro
        1915 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

        Flying Fish
        815 King St Ste A, Alexandria, VA 22314

        1. Thanks everyone. We'll probably end up trying Koi Koi first, as its closest. I can promise you we'll end up trying every restaurant listed here. I'll make sure to post our experiences in case anyone else is looking for non-traditional sushi. =)

          1. Spices in cleveland park does this kind of fusion sushi.