20 June 2008
Yesterday my friend S-- and I went for lunch at Sushi Taro, a Japanese restaurant on 17th Street that I had been hearing about for years but had never actually managed to get to. It's claim to fame is the $9.95 bento box lunch (which you see above). Maybe some of you are questioning the $9.95 part, but in DC where a plain turkey and cheese sandwich that has been sitting in a refrigerated case for what seems like days since can cost upwards of $7, a real sit down lunch that covers all the food groups for under $10 is sort of amazing.
I went into Sushi Taro thinking of the bento box lunches I had enjoyed with my friend I-- when I went to visit her in Japan a few years ago. There the bento boxes impressed me with their artful presentation and variety, keeping with the Japanese tradition of eating 5 colors and something sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami with each meal. I ordered the sushi bento box and it came with everything you see above, plus a salad and bowl of miso soup to start.
The tempura was the best that I have had in the States- the delicate coating wasn't greasy at all, and the warm dipping sauce enhanced the flavor of the shrimp and zucchini rather than masking it. The dumplings were crisp and perfectly seasoned (I could have eaten a whole plate). The pickles made for a good palate cleanser and the sushi was good, although the chef did put a lot of wasabi on the pieces of nigri and I did for a second think that my nose was going to explode with the spice. I only wish I worked in the neighborhood so I could go for lunch more often.
1503 17th St. NW (17th and P)
Washington DC, 20036