Endo Sushi

Written by on May 12, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: My new friend, Seraj introduced me to Endo when we were looking for a place to dine after attending the commemoration of the Yaran in Capitol Hill. A late night meal, four hungry friends and a beautifully clear evening took us in to Clarendon, where we were forced to decide a dining spot – sushi it was.

Type of cuisine: Japanese. Sushi. A plethora of beautiful and creative sushi options, including their specialty dishes. The traditional miso soup and edamame, as well as more interesting appetizers (including an avocado-asparagus salad) and select Korean dishes grace the menu. Always fresh, the menu offers ume shiso rolls, plenty of nigiri and a good selection of traditional rolls, including spicy tuna, California rolls, Dragon rolls, and the like. Special rolls, such as rainbow and Caterpiller rolls also grace the menu and entice patrons. For those leary about sushi, Endo also offers a nice array of Teriyaki, Tempura, Donburi and Bulgogi, which are served with soup and salad. But it seems, most come for what is claimed to be the best sushi in Arlington, nay, Northern Virginia.

Ambiance: The perfect combination and balance of friendly, attentive and accommodating staff, and excellent food! Endo Sushi welcomes patrons through floor-to-ceiling glass doors and walls. When one enters the space, he is immediately taken to Japan, where Japanese host and servers welcome you with excited greetings and deep head bows. The paper and bamboo sliding screens open and shut to keep the outdoors accessible (through the windows) or maintain diners’ privacy. Beautifully Japanese, with light colored bamboo tables, Japanese Kabuki-inspired banners separating each space from hallway to hallway, as well as bright red flowers on tapestries that are reminiscent of ancient Japanese artwork. The quiet reserve of the establishment matches that of the staff, and all feel welcome, comfortable and truly well-received as guests in the home of an old friend.

What I ordered: In our party of four, we decided to share a large plate, and two small boxes, of sushi. Splitting seven rolls, we selected: Crunchy Roll ($7.95) with shrimp, crab, masago and mayo, tempura-fried; a Spicy Smoked Salmon Tempura Roll ($8.95), with avocado, smoked salmon, lettuce, green onion and a drizzle of spicy sauce, presented in a small box, uncovered at our table; Nemo Roll ($8.95) with shrimp, cream cheese, asparagus, masago, seaweed noodle, avocado, tobiko, jalapeno roe with wasabit sauce; Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll ($7.95), also served in a box, with avocado, spicy tuna, lettuce, green onion, and a spicy sauce atop. Off of the specials menu, we selected the Real Crab Spicy Tuna Roll ($7.95), the Caterpillar Roll ($10.95) with shrimp tempura, cucumber, masago, topped with eel, sliced avocado and wrapped in a ribbon of seaweed, and the Dragon Roll ($13.95), a California Roll topped with a half sheet of eel and sweet sauce.  To begin, however, we each needed a bowl of miso soup ($1.75 each) with tofu and spring onions.

What I loved: My favorite was the Dragon Roll, not only in presentation, but also in taste! Another of my dining companions most enjoy the Crunchy Roll. It was unanimous that one of the two served in a box tasted either of bacon or a Japanese-style cheeseburger, a full-quarter-ouncer, and we decided against ordering it the next time. Eel often makes up my favorite sushi in each sushi-dining experience, so needless to say, the Caterpillar and Dragon rolls stole the show – in presentation and flavor – for me, this evening.

Why I loved it: I love the presentation, a large white plate arrayed with colorful and beautifully laid out sushi, one in the shape of an eel, others with vegetables or tempura shrimp poking out, and sliced carrots interspersed for more viewing pleasure. The brightly colored roe in red, green and orange had us guessing as to whether it was real or dyed, but added vibrant color and texture to the plate and each bite! The food is satisfying and delicious. One could easily order and eat more, or feel content with their order and leave feeling satiated and energized. The sweet and friendly staff make the experience that much more enjoyable and truly like a visit to Japan!

Cost: Average to high ($20 per person for seven beautifully presented rolls shared among four adults)

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