YAMAZATO

Address: 6303 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA 22312

Ever since moving down here to D.C., I’ve been keeping an eye out to try to find a good sushi place. I’ve tried a few places already, but wasn’t very impressed with the quality. I did a little more research online and upon reading some reviews, stumbled across Yamazato, a place relatively close to me. I headed over today for lunch, in the hopes that I’ve found a potential “go-to” sushi place.

Walking up to the door, I immediately noticed the column of Zagat Rated stickers that lined one of the windows. Yamazato has been in the Zagat dining guide since 2005, which potentially indicated to me that the quality of the food has remained constant over the years to merit its place in the guide.

The inside of the restaurant feels has an elegant feel to it, with a green color scheme and finished wooden tables. You can opt to sit at the sushi bar or at their smaller wine bar immediately next to it. Open displays in the back showed an assortment of wines available for diners to purchase along with their meals.

In addition to sushi rolls, Yamazato also offers the traditional Japanese teriyaki and tempura dishes. It also features a number of Thai dishes too, for those that might not be as into Japanese food. However, Yamazato really dials in on the sushi roll offerings with almost 40 chef’s special rolls and 20 regular rolls. With such a wide variety, it made it really tough to choose what to get, since everything sounded really delicious. In the end, I chose the Potomac Roll and the Hole-In-One Roll off the chef’s special menu and I was certainly very happy with my decision.

The Hole-In-One Roll featured three different types of fish on the inside (salmon, yellowtail, and tuna) wrapped up with avocado and then rolled on the outside with tobiko (flying fish roe). You could make out the individual flavors of the three fish that went into the roll, and everything tasted very fresh. The fish roe gave each piece a subtle sweet note.

As for the Potomac Roll, there’s really only one word I could use to describe it: wow. The presentation is absolutely fantastic and really pops when the plate gets put in front of you. I could equate it to being a fancily-dressed shrimp tempura roll. On the inside, you had your shrimp tempura and avocado, with crab stick layered on top, a dab of Japanese mayo, finished off with tobiko, scallions, and eel sauce. Each piece that you eat gives you such intricate levels of flavor: saltiness from the shrimp tempura, tartness from the Japanese mayo, and sweetness from the tobiko and eel sauce. The crunchy texture from the tempura is also balanced out by the smooth texture provided by the avocado and Japanese mayo. This is certainly a roll that I would recommend to others and has made it onto my list of top five favorite sushi rolls.

At last I’ve found it, my “go-to” place for sushi in the area. It took about 7 months of living here, but I’m very glad that I’ve been able to find this place. I’m excited to return next time to sample more of their rolls and other items on the menu.

Here are my rankings for Yamazato:

Food: 5 / 5
Great variety and quality of food. Fish was fresh and presentation was awesome.

Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
A nicely decorated dining room with the “elegant feel” and some light music playing in the background. Even if it got a little busy, it seemed like it would still be a relatively comfortable noise level.

Service: 4.5 / 5
The waitress was very prompt in coming around to take my order and refill my drink. The sushi was also prepared expeditiously.

Price: 4.5 / 5
If I’m going out to eat sushi, I’m expecting to be paying on the higher end. In this case, I think that the cost was well worth it, especially for that Potomac Roll.

Overall: 18.5 / 20 (93%)

Yamazato on Urbanspoon

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