DC Restaurant Week comes around twice a year, and both my metabolism and my wallet suffer greatly as a result each time. This year, summer Restaurant Week fell the week before my friend’s law school graduation pool party. Normally I would just say, whatever, throw on a bikini and just try to remember to suck it in when standing around a cute guy. However, my friend Shay happens to have 1.3% body fat, the world’s most defined 16 pack, and probably a smaller waist than me (his thights are definitely more slender). So I would like to appear as slim and trim as possible around him. Bad timing for Restaurant Week meals, but I figured throwing in a couple of long runs, spin classes, and prayers might balance some things out.
A (fake roomie) and I decided to make reservations at Sushi Taro and Nonna’s Kitchen this time around. I tried Sushi Taro during a previous RW, and thought that it was a great deal. The morning of our roommate date, I woke up at the crack of dawn to head to the gym for a spin class. After a crazy day at work, I was exhausted by the time I got home so I passed out for a quick power nap, but woke up completely disoriented and out of it. By the time I got to Sushi Taro, I felt like I was nursing a hangover, without having any alcohol in my system for at least 48 hours (yo, is that a record?). Luckily the RW menu did not have too many choices to pick from:
We both decided to skip any alcoholic beverages, and focus on the food. The first course was a mini bento box, consisting of cold soda noodles, tuna and salmon sashimi (4 pieces) and edamame.
The cold soba noodles were fine, but very mild and unmemorable. The sashimi was incredible, and a good indicator of the quality of the sushi served here. The yellowtail tuna was slightly fatty, just a little chewy and so fresh. The silky salmon just melted into my mouth, and I tried to make each slice last as long as possible before swallowing (weird, normally I totally avoid swallowing… KIDDINGBUTNOTREALLY). The edamame was also fine, but of course paled in comparison to the sashami.
Next up, I ordered the panko fried soft shell crab with vegetables, while A ordered the 10h braised black pork belly in sweetened soy.
The panko fried soft shell crab was THE BOMB. It was insanely good. The crab and the vegetables were perfectly crispy, with light breading that did not overwhelm the crab at all. The incredible breading, bear with me here, reminded me of what a McDonald’s chicken nugget should be covered in if the world was fair and just. And I am still thinking about how mouth-wateringly sweet the large chunks of crab meat were. The tiny little crab at the top was also edible, and crunched in my mouth like a giant potato chip.
Next up was the nigiri. We both went with the regular 7, and picked the salmon avocado option for our half roll. In addition, we decided to order the spicy spider roll (for $9) to make sure we would not still be hungry at the end of the meal. Yes, you might think that should be plenty of food for two small Asian females, but we are also the same two girls who ravage Falls Church sushi buffets until our dining companions are lying horizontal in the adjacent booth after trying to keep up with us.
From left to right (in the bottom box), the top row consists of tuna, yellow tail, salmon, whitefish. The bottom row is shrimp, omelet, and eel. As expected, these pieces of nigiri tasted like bites of heaven. The omelet, which I typically don’t care about, was creamy, fluffy and light. My absolute favorite piece though was the eel which was carefully caramelized and burst into a sweet, rich, salty flavor explosion, combined with perfectly cooked rice. The soft shell crab in the spicy spider roll unfortunately did not have the amazing panko coating, but the breading was still light and crispy and the generous chunks of crab definitely filled us up.
Our final dessert course was black sesame mochi, which was excellent. The sweet sticky rice flour and the slightly salty filling was the fantastic way to end our meal. With the additional roll, tax and tip, our bill was around $50 per person, which I consider a great deal for Sushi Taro. Usually, the pork dish goes for $15, while their nigiri ranges from $5-$8 per piece. So I highly recommend this spot for an amazing meal at a very reasonable price, especially when you are trying to budget your life after you realize that being single also means you’re paying for all your meals and drinks now.