Sushi Yoshi, Vienna, VA

Vienna has a big, big sushi identity crisis. In particular, there are three sushi restaurants within a 1-2 mile strip that begin with a “Y” – Sushi Yama, Yoki Sushi, and Sushi Yoshi.

Forget about Sushi Yama – it’s just not that good (spending my own money so you don’t have to).

Yoki Sushi I still haven’t tried – it’s in Oakton, and I’ve only seen it driving by.

Sushi Yoshi is the place you definitely want to know about. Forget all about the similarity in names, and just remember “the place next to Bazin’s on Church and Alegria.”

I called last night to see if we could get a table at 6:15, and a very pleasant receptionist told me she could seat us, but that they have a 7:30 reservation at our table, and asked if we would mind finishing by 7:30. Isn’t this the type of situation that people complain about on Yelp? Well, I thought it was a perfectly polite exchange, and I appreciated knowing about it. “Sure,” I said. “No problem!” We arrived just after 6 PM.

Go before 6:30 if you can – not only because it gets very crowded, but because there’s a discounted menu. Granted, it’s only about a 10% discount, but there’s enough on it worth ordering, and we made an entire meal out of it last night (note that all prices listed are from the pre-6:30 menu, and are about 10% higher on the regular menu – this isn’t enough of a discount to get excited about, but it’s a nice bonus if you can get it). 

There were two slight misses in the meal, and one was the Edamame ($3.25), and that’s only because they were a little too old and had started to grow fur. Don’t laugh – the first time I ever saw this was many years ago at Sushi Taro. They needed seasoning, and the salt shaker turned out to contain a mixture of crystals, some light, some dark, one of which may have been MSG, so just be aware before you shake that it isn’t straight salt.

I drowned my fear downed my fur with a Sapporo ($7.95 for a large, $4.95 for a small).

We each got a Salmon and Avocado Roll ($4.10) and they were pleasant – the salmon here looks good in general – the rice being a touch on the dry side, but not enough to kill the rolls, and the orb of wasabi being the most perfectly round thing I’ve seen in a long time that wasn’t human. Soy sauce time.

The Vegetable Tempura ($4.50) gets my vote as Dish Of the Night (DON). Six-or-so pieces, each different, and as good as any tempura I can recall having in the DC area. There was green bean, squash, broccoli, taro, etc. This dish was so well-done that I *had* to get a second order. If you come to Sushi Yoshi, please remember to order the vegetable tempura – it’s a great dish. And it came with its own sauce.

Gyoza ($4.00) was a plate of five little pork dumplings, delicious on the inside, well-fried on the outside. We’ve all had wonderful gyoza, and this was certainly one of them. And, of course, it came with its own sauce (which made three different sauces on the table, all soy-based, all slightly different).

There’s quite a bit of yellowtail jaw in the area, but not as much Salmon Jaw ($4.30). This was a good, hand-sized chunk that contained some white meat on one end, and some of the fattiest salmon I’ve ever eaten on a different part of the bone. This dish was served with enough “normal” (albeit overcooked) salmon to satisfy an unadventurous eater for a few bites, while leaving the more intrepid diners to essentially suck on salmon fat – but man was the meat in there tasty.

I was nearly certain that the Chicken Wing Karaage ($4.50) was going to be great when I saw it: five really nice-looking pieces, seemingly perfectly fried and attractively plated. As it turns out, they weren’t quite as good as they looked, being a bit bland and a touch, but only a touch, overdone. Still, if you like chicken wings that aren’t tiny little throwaway frozen things, you might very well enjoy these.

Total bill before tax and tip: $46.15. Can’t beat this! Sushi Yoshi is maintained in Italic in the Dining Guide, and is the best Japanese restaurant that I know of in the Virginia suburbs (which really isn’t saying much of anything). I haven’t plumbed the depths of Tachibana’s menu in awhile now, but I’d be surprised if I like it any more than I do Sushi Yoshi.

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