My first ever sushi experience is memorable not because of the quality of the sushi, but of the location itself. I was in college and we had just finished exams and were headed home of winter recess, and a good buddy of mine (someone who I'm friends with still all these years later) suggested we visit Tysons Corner to get a jump start on some of our holiday shopping. So we did. And like most every mall 10 days out from Christmas, it was packed. We eventually grew tired of being bumped around in crowded stores and decided to grab a quick bite.
A new "sushi" experience has just arrived in the food court and he insisted we try it. I wasn't too keen on the idea of raw fish, and definitely thought that it was peculiar that it was raw fish being served from a miniaturized conveyor belt.
"This is how all of the cool places in Japan do it," my buddy insisted.
"Sure, except that we're not in Japan. This is the food court in Tysons" I tried to counter.
He won and next thing I knew we were drinking green tea waiting for our pieces to swing around. They had it all. Unagi, Ebi, Tako, Amaro, and a whole host of other things that I couldn't pronounce, or really fathom eating raw. But that 1 single meal in a most unconventional place sparked not only a culinary interest, but a deep passion for prized sushi.
And I've been really fortunate to have eaten at some of the best eateries around. Yasuda in New York. Sensi at the Bellagio in Vegas. Dinings in London. Sushia Izakaya in Syndey. And nearly everything of quality here in the DC area (Taro and Makoto among my favorites.)
When I learned that one of the Kentlands own sushi hot spots wasn't just a place for a quick bite, but something that is actually quite prized, I was very excited. It took me a few months to actually check it out as I tried really hard to be supportive and not have any sushi while my wife was still pregnant with our second little one. In the close to 9 years we've been together she's grown to enjoy great sushi too, and since her doctor recommended cutting it out completely during the pregnancy, I've only had it on a few really rare instances -- and while not in her presence.
So here I am, sitting here about to feast. From what I've gathered across the past few months, Yoyogi really is a local staple, and seems to have been for quite some time. I won't dive too much into the restaurant's history (well, for one, I really don't know too much about it just yet, and two, who really cares about the history of a restaurant unless it was the first of its kind anyways.) I will try to get some additional intel on subsequent visits.
But, I will will tell you a bit about their food. They don't advertise, as far as I know, or even have a website which is kind of a big deal in my book in today's digital age - and outside of a few GroupOn postings, there isn't really anything there about them online (except for a phenomenal collection of overwhelmingly positive Yelp reviews.) It seems like most fantastic restaurants they do what they are supposed to: make really good and memorable food.
Let's start with my favorites: The Sweet potato roll is divine. It was really something special. Not overwhelming sweet and with a very fine texture. I also tried the Tempura Asparagus and Tempura String Bean rolls, which I'm told are very popular items. The Maki was very good and traditionally prepared, and the wasabi seems to have a stronger than normal potency. (Which is fine a I like spicy anyways.) I finished my order with the Spicy Crunchy Tuna and a Miso soup. And to counter act the spiciness I am always keen for an Inari roll (sweet tofu and rice.) Theirs wasn't only sweet, but is the size of a mini burrito, so I was excited.
Overall, like most sushi restaurants you really need to order a sizable portion to get full, but I felt that their portions were on par with most "local" sushi spots. And while the overall quality of their fish probably doesn't really compare with award winning establishments, the entire experience was very pleasant and didn't feel "cheap." In fact, when the final bill came I was very pleasantly surprised.
Definitely intend to come back and try the restaurant for dinner one evening again soon, and very pleased that they have a take-away option where you can simply call ahead. They don't deliver, but given that it's just a few minute walk from our place, that isn't going to be a problem.
No matter what you do though, if you want to be a true Kentlands local, never suggest hitting it up on a Tuesday! (The only day they're closed, which I found out the hard way last week.)
328 Main Street - Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Phone: (301) 963-0001