Sakana: A Good Alternative to Sushi Taro?
Since Sushi Taro did not open in time for my birthday, we went instead to Sakana.
Their appetizers are what really get me. I like the spinach dish at any time of year, but I like their tofu dish in the summer. I've also had their nabeyaki udon (noodles in a clear broth with seafood etc) and it's really nice on cold days.
Today we had sushi, and it seemed better than normal today. The spicy tuna was better than usual. The yellowtail with scallions roll was subpar somehow, like there wasn't enough fish or flavor, or both. The green caterpillar roll was overpriced for what you got; a $10.95 roll is supposed to be a huge maki, but instead they just loaded a regular-sized roll with too much avocado. The unagi was great, though, and the nigiri tuna and salmon were good for the price.
I really like Sakana's take on tempura sushi: rectangular-pressed blocks with crunch on top and in the middle. We had both the veggie tempura roll and the sakana sushi tempura roll (which I think was shrimp). Really good texture, no oiliness, and just enough shrimp to the rice to make it feel worth it.
It's too bad about Sakana's service. Although today there was a dude with a teapot and water pitcher going around, on other days (when it's just the middle-aged woman) our drinks haven't usually stayed full. Also, better order everything you want right away. It'll take a while for your (sushi) order to come, but once it does, the waitstaff doesn't look out for a second round of orders.
So, while Sushi Taro's rebuilding, I suggest Sakana for a cheapish alternative where you can also partake in other Japanese items. This is only if you're committed to dining in Dupont Circle, though; there are better places, but they're more expensive.
(By all means, don't go to Uni for sushi! It's just down the road on P Street, but it's terrible!)