Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wasabi: Conveyor Belt Sushi in the Beltway

I was roaming around Tyson's 1 yesterday afternoon, and I happened upon Wasabi. Truthfully, it was hard not to! This kaiten-concept sushi restaurant was located smack dab in the middle of the mall's ground level, between the escalators. Having gone on an insane shopping spree at the area's biggest shopping centre, I was famished! True, I just had sushi a couple days earlier, but one can never eat enough raw seafood, right?

I am pretty familiar with the sushi-on-conveyor-belt idea; I used to frequent Asahi Kaiten in Ballston Commons Mall on a weekly basis. The idea is simple:  the sushi are on different-coloured plates, with each colour being a particular price point. If you can do simple arithmetic, you can easily figure out what your bill will be at the end of the meal.

I walked right up to the counter and was seated pretty quickly. The crowd at Wasabi was a big mix; two Latino business men in suits to my right, a sharply-dressed couple in their 40s diagonal from me, three guys who could pass for Napoleon Dynamite's best buds right across. My server Trident got me my tea, my wasabi & ginger, and the little dish for the soy sauce, and I was good to go!

What I loved about Wasabi is that it provides a safe and easy environment for anyone who wants to try sushi. It's in the middle of the mall, for crying out loud! You cannot get any more accessible than that! People who would not dare step inside a Japanese restaurant were stopping by for a quick meal. Also, despite the popularity of this cuisine, not everyone knows what's in this roll or what kind of fish that is. This place bypasses that issue by labeling each plate. Tune & Salmon Sashimi. Salmon & Avocado Roll with Caviar. Seaweed Salad. Smart move, Wasabi.

I had the basics (tuna and salmon sashimi, hamachi nigiri, salmon nigiri, salmon & avocado roll), and for "mall sushi", everything was pretty good! The big determining factor for me is always the fish-to-rice ratio, and at Wasabi, it was to my liking. Portions were plentiful, the prices were comparable to regular sushi joints, and the service was eager and fast. In fact, there were so many servers and bussers swarming, any request made was quickly met. I soon found out what the downside was to having all these workers; I got my bill and they actually charged me $2 for tea! But to pay a piddly $2 for efficient service and convenience of grabbing a quick sushi bite was a non-issue for me. So Wasabi, thanks. I managed to combine two of my dearest loves in one afternoon:  shopping and sushi!
Tyson's Corner Center (near Lord & Taylor entrance)
1961 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, VA   22101
Wasabi To Go on Urbanspoon


Cari said...

Okay I saw that place from upstairs a few months ago and even though I would NEVER try sushi I was fascinated by watching the conveyer belt go round and round from a safe distance. Now if they could use that concept for doughnuts I'd be sold!

ChubberBaby said...

Now that you have *all* the time in the world (not working and all, hah!), maybe you should look into the Doughnut-Kaiten concept! ;)

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