Yuraku, Germantown, MD

Sun “Sonny” Lee opened Yuraku in 1997, and believe it or not, it’s a sibling of a restaurant in Flushing, Queens (we have a bizarro connection here with MoCA Asian Bistro in South Riding, VA).

I’m generally not keen on all-you-can-eat sushi buffets at Korean-owned Japanese restaurants, but Yuraku’s ($12.95) tempted me in a big way. There’s not only sushi, but plenty of hot steam-table items as well. It was packed yesterday (remember, yesterday was the first snow of the winter), and it’s easy to understand why.

Nevertheless, I just wasn’t hungry enough for a buffet, so I ordered some Yasai Maki to go: two orders of Kappa Maki ($2.75) and one order of Oshinko Maki ($2.75). There was something of a communication gap, because I’d actually ordered one each of the Oshinko and the Kanpp[sic?]yo (not two Kappa), and got more than I bargained for.

The cucumber and gourd themselves were expertly sliced (not always the case) and plentiful; the sushi rice, however, left a lot to be desired – it was too pasty, too sweet, and too pungent all at the same time. Sometimes places get the rice right, and sometimes they don’t – next time, I come hungry and get the buffet.

There is indeed something of a Korean influence here, but not much: on the menu, they had bulgogigalbi, and hwe dup bap, but everything is done with a Japanese prep.

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