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Sushi Taro

1503 17th Street Northwest , Washington, 20036, United States

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In residential Dupont Circle, Sushi Taro has been serving its customers for over 25 years, so they must be doing something right. The entrance is just a doorway next to a pharmacy, the long dining room being up a flight of stairs. Once past the bar area the room opens out, and 65 diners can be seated at any one time. The atmosphere was quite informal, with sushi available a la carte, with several set menu options as well, the latter veering off into other cooking styles such as tempura and also grilled foods and even noodles (in Japan restaurants usually specialise in one style, and sometime even in one ingredient).

Grilled eel sushi was pleasant, though nigiri tuna was tasteless; after eating in Japan sushi is often a disappointment, but the tuna here was quite lacking in flavour, and the sushi rice, while not cold, was barely at room temperature, when it should be warmer, nearer body temperature (12/20). What was a nice surprise that, for a supplement ($7.95) you could have freshly grated wasabi root rather than the coloured horseradish from a tube that masquerades as wasabi the world over. There is wasabi and wasabi in terms of quality, and I have certainly eaten better versions in Japan, but still this had the creamy texture and subtler heat of real wasabi.

Mackerel was grilled and was capably cooked, the mackerel tasting quite fresh and there being a little seasoning, the fish offered just with a wedge of lemon (14/20). The bill came to $39 before tip, with just water to drink. Service was pleasant. Overall this was a nice enough restaurant, with a few touches lifting it above the norm. However Japanese food lives or dies by its ingredients, and the quality here was rather mixed.

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