A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mainly About Japanese Food

This is my second try attempting to post this. Stupid Blogger.

Last night for an evening repast I stopped in at Spices in Cleveland Park. It was chilly and I was tired -- a good time for miso. I walked into a large and well lit space, painted bright yellow and humming with a nice ambient noise level. As usual, I took a spot at the bar, ordered a bowl of miso and pondered my dinner choices. The miso was good, and had the large pieces of seaweed some restaurants neglect to include.

Spices offers one of those "pan-Asian" menus that lumps the foods of East Asia (no obvious India or Burma here) together in one menu. Unlike many pan-Asian spots, the menu is not an exhausting read. After a few minutes of thinking, I decided to go the completely Japanese route, ordering two of the chef's specials and a maki roll. The specials were listed as seared toro and spicy crunchy toro, and I was told both were nigiri sushi. The maki I ordered was the crispy shrimp roll.

When the sushi chef offered up my plate I was surprised. Instead of the two nigiri pieces I was expecting, I had a six piece maki, a four piece maki (the latter the shrimp) and one piece of nigiri. A bite into six piece maki revealed it to be the spicy crunchy tuna, light on the spicy. It was very tasty; I'm still trying to figure out what the crunchy element was, but I think it was crushed fried tempura batter. The shrimp roll was better, four massive pieces each containing two bits of shrimp, a slice of avocado, a slice of cucumber, and some mayo. These were wrapped in seaweed and roe-encrusted rice. To give you a sense of the size: I could barely handle them with my chopsticks, and they didn't fit completely in the soy sauce dipping bowl. But they were delicious. In comparison, the seared toro was a disappointment. I normally enjoy the flavor of toro, but the searing took flavor away without adding in the smokiness I was hoping for. It was good, but not as good as the other two.

After my meal I realized I was ten pages from finishing my book. Not wanting to pause just to wait for the Metro, I did an atypical thing and ordered a pot of tea (great idea when you're suffering from insomnia and it's 9:15 PM). Luckily, the oolong I ordered was not overly strong and the mile walk home from Union Station drained me a bit.

Soup, a moderately sized sushi dinner, and tea cost me $25 at Spices with tax and tip. Not a bad price. At some point I'll return to try their non-Sushi dishes, which I've heard are also good (particularly the duck).

The weekly dining trips to Cleveland Park continue. Where to next? Yanni's, the mediocre Greek place? Alero, which I've heard no good things about? Bricks, which apparently is worse? Not sure. Odds are I'll go back to Indique and try my hand at writing a review for DCist. Unless others have Cleveland Park tips I'm missing. Have suggestions?