January 15, 2013

Hikari Sushi & Sake Bar

The scrolling neon sign above the door at Hikari Sushi & Sake Bar has read "Coming Soon" for weeks.  So when we finally got word that they had opened, we didn't waste any time finding a seat at the sushi bar.  Plus, Justin had been craving sushi for quite some time, so Hikari's opening couldn't have come at a better time.

We started off with the calamari tempura, which was served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.  The calamari came out a bit cold, but the batter was light and perfectly crispy, while the squid was nice and tender.  I'll attribute the cold dish to it being just their second night open.  I'm sure when we visit again, it won't be cold.

The rest of our meal was garnered from the sushi bar.  The 2 sushi chefs were cranking out rolls left and right, and it didn't take long for ours to be set in front of us.  Justin ordered his favorite, uni with a quail egg on top.  The uni was so rich and creamy, while the egg was the perfect topper.  I ordered my favorite, the salmon skin roll, though it came as a maki roll (I usually prefer a hand roll).  Nonetheless, the salmon skin was nice and crispy, with a salty, charred, umami flavor.  The white tuna sashimi was nice and buttery as well.

Then we dove into some of their specialty rolls.  We had the caterpillar roll, which had eel and cucumber inside, rice on the outside, and it was topped with avocado.  The eel was nice and warm, with the perfect amount of sauce, while the avocado added a nice creamy element to each piece.  We also enjoyed the rainbow caviar roll.  The roll itself was a California roll with tuna, and each piece was topped with a different kind of tobiko.  I think the lemon tobiko was my favorite because it added an unexpected citrus element to the roll.  There was the stop drop roll which consisted of spicy scallop and cucumber.  There was just enough heat with the scallop that they weren't overwhelmed by spice.  You could still taste the fresh, sweet scallops.  The final roll was the shiso tofu maki.  I'm not one to order vegetarian rolls, but Justin suggested it and I went with it.  The tofu stood up to the rice, and the shiso added a nice, herbal-y flavor to the roll.

All in all, it was a delicious meal.  They had a good selection of traditional sushi and maki, in addition to some creative rolls.  They also had several cooked items on the menu, but we didn't try those.  Our server was a bit slow, but considering they've only been open for a handful of days, I'll let that one slide this time.  Following the meal, one of the managers or owners asked us for feedback on our meal and offered us a complimentary dessert, so we opted for the mango sticky rice.  It was the perfect way to end the meal.  The rice wasn't overly sweet, and the mango was perfectly ripe.

We hadn't found a decent sushi joint in DC, but Hikari will certainly fill that role considering how close it is to our apartments, and the quality of the meal we enjoyed.

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