Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tono Sushi (Washington, DC)

First destination of this blog: Tono Sushi of Washington, DC!

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Ever since arriving in Washington, DC for my Summer in Washington program conducted by Cornell, I've been looking everywhere for places to eat. Since I live in a two-person studio apartment, I have to 1) cook, 2) starve, 3) eat out, or 4) buy delivery. I chose to do (3) today - that is, eat out!

After searching on Yelp for good Japanese places, I stumbled upon Tono Sushi which has a 3.5-star rating on the website. Since it's a short distance away, I chose to go with it and eat there right after work today.

My experience:

After sitting down and looking at the menu for just a few seconds, I can tell you I was disappointed.

Why, you ask? The menu didn't have a single Japanese word on it! Be it hiragana or kanji, the least that a "Japanese" restaurant could offer is some authentic Japanese!

Anyway, after my initial disappointment, I spotted the Salmon Oyakodon, which I have had at this awesome place in New York City (more on that in a future post). I decided to give it a go instead of ordering separate sushi items (Happy Hour apparently had a $1 per piece of sushi deal. I didn't feel like sushi today, though).

This is what the Salmon Oyakodon looked like. I was actually a bit shocked when the waitress was bringing me my food because I had expected it to arrive in a bowl, nicely garnished. I guess I didn't read the menu category heading that said "Sushi-Dinner," which should have provided enough of a hint that it would be raw salmon (the awesome salmon oyakodon I had in NYC had cooked salmon with roe, and it was delicious in a warm bowl of seasoned rice). Sadly, the rice wasn't hot, and it didn't look sparkly white like regular sushi rice. The dish came with wasabi, ginger, rice, sesame and nori pieces over the rice, 10 slices of salmon sashimi, salmon roe sprinkled on either side of the plate, radish shavings for garnish, and lemon and cucumber slices for garnish. The entree came with miso soup and one side dish.

Price Range: $$
Entrees were in the $10-$20 range, mostly. Happy Hour sushi deal. They charged me $2 for green tea, which is ridiculous. Most Asian places I have gone to do not charge for tea!
Environment: 3/5 - average
The decor was pretty average. Still had the Americanized feel to the joint. Waiters/tresses weren't authentic Japanese, either. Served miso soup with a spoon (uggh).
Food: 3.5/5 - above average
Nothing spectacular. For the price, it's nothing spectacular. Fish was fresh, presentation was nice, but that is all. No "wow" factor.
Overall: 3/5 - average
I don't think I'll go to Tono Sushi again. The environment and food aren't so captivating that I'd opt to eat in than to order delivery. If I need a quick meal, I might just order it. I've been to five Washington sushi/Japanese joints so far and this one would rank number two, because the Japanese places in Washington are less than average. The only place worth recommending is Sushi Taro, which had a very reasonably priced yet delicious lunch.

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