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Dec 13, 2009 08:12 AM

All you can eat sushi?

Hi, everyone. I was recently in Chicago, where I ate in a terrific sushi place. Besides the quality of their food, the distinguishing feature of this place is that you pay a set price and they bring you all the sushi you can eat (they control this by requiring you to pay extra for anything you order but don't finish). I'm fairly new to sushi and haven't explored much beyond salmon and tuna, but feel that I'm much more likely to experiment in a place where I'm not paying extra for every roll I try. Is anyone aware of any good sushi restaurant in DC that has a similar arrangement, or offers a buffet, or anything similar?

Thank you very much.

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  1. The trouble with that scheme is that "all you can eat" prompts you to try different things, and if you try something that you don't like, you have to pay to not finish it.

    You may have found a rare place there in Chicago. There are (or have been) a couple of all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants around here, but in generaly they're OK but not great, and tend to have the more common offerings. You're going to get kitchen-help sushi, not crafstman sushi. The thing that distinguishes the better ones is that they keep the offerings pretty fresh and don't keep a big "stock" of pre-made pieces.

    This discussion comes up now and then, but it hasn't been around for a while. Maybe there are some new discoveries. Seems like the most successful for quantity and acceptable quality were the buffet places, Todai and, I think, Peter Pan, both in Fairfax. You could probably get an all you can eat dinner arranged at Tako, for about $300. <g>

    1. There are two Korean buffet spots in annandale that do a surprisingly good jon on Sushi. I prefer Hee Bin to IL Mee but the sushi at IL Mee is a little better. Mostly rolls and both are pretty exuberent with the toppings and combinations. In Beltsville, Gahr Am {I think} is good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: deangold

        Gah-Rham Restaurant (5027 Garrett Ave, Beltsville, MD) is fantastic!! They have a moderately sized all you can eat sushi bar everyday for lunch (last time I checked). I think the sushi is higher quality than Todai, and in addition to the sushi they have a buffet of Korean food (Korean BBQ, soups, rice dishes, kim chi, etc.). I think it is about $13 per person--I highly recommend it!

        1. re: jo_mama

          quite good sushi, maybe a little better than Hee Bin but the cooked food falls far short of Hee Bin or IL Mee with no cooked to order meats avaialble. Still it is the best in the area.

      2. Haven't been in a year or so (waistline issues) but a modest selection of adequate sushi could always be found at Bamboo Buffet, 3501 S Jefferson St Falls Church

        1. I've heard great things about Todai (already mentioned) but have never been motivated to try it myself.

          I think that I'm done with AYCE places. Forever.

          1 Reply
          1. re: malveaux

            I have tended to your last statement for about 5 or more years, but to the OP there used to be at least adequate at Worldgate in Herndon, and Sushi Chalet (which should give some indication - even though they used to be decent quality and selection).

            Funny what 10 years can do (or help) to a person. (I thought I found heaven in Sushi Chalet in 1999).

          2. Matsutake (several locations, including Arlington, Reston or Herndon, and Frederick) does an OK job of AYCE sushi for lunch. As others have said, these places are OK, not great.

            Most of the Chinese buffets have a few sushi items on the buffet. They are usually not very good. My experience has been that the rice is not made properly.

            I would include Bamboo Buffet in that judgment. I hadn't been in ages, and went a month or two ago, and was very disappointed (although I think my disappointment was in the Chinese food; not sure I had sushi at that visit).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Lori D

              I think the sushi at Bamboo Buffet, mediocre as it is, is more appealing than the Chinese food. Some of the Korean food is OK, as are the soups. But it's for sure not a place to go for a good dose of sushi.

              1. re: Lori D

                Lori, I agree about Matsutake, it is pretty ok. Not great, but not bad. And sometimes the tempura is good, and they have a few extra dishes most of the time that make it kind of interesting. As AYCE places go, it is fairly good. The only AYCE joints that I really like tend to be Indian, not sushi. Minerva is AYCE heaven.
                I still go to Cafe Asia for the happy hour, but their sushi is only a small step better than Matsutake, tho the prices for both the sushi and the beer are pretty good. I have pretty much given up on Tachibana, Ichiban is friendlier with better service. But neither are AYCE...

                1. re: Ziv

                  I went to Matsutake yesterday andwas really disappointed. It was not nearly as good as previous visits.