Dining Out: Konami Restaurant

We went to yet another sushi joint the other night. This one was in Vienna- on a stretch of Route 7 infested with car dealerships and fast food.

It’s a bit industrial and not really pedestrian friendly in feel, it’s in an area I have only been to when shopping (ugh, Tyson’s Corner), and once for a freelance job I picked up the summer after college. In other words, not really my stomping ground. If a friend of mine hadn’t suggested we go I never would have found this place.

Konami (“small wave”) is nice- a place that you’d take a date or a party even though it’s right on the highway. In the 90’s it was a Popeye’s and you can still see that in the layout. The decor is subdued and there are booths along the far wall (ie tables on raised daises for folks who like to do the traditional thing and sit on the floor sans shoes). The walls are a sort of powdered royal blue and there’s a lot of bamboo all the way back to the sushi bar in the back. There’s also a splash of red, kites and out front on the patio, hidden from the highway by some kind of random vegetation, there’s a fountain and a very Zen little garden. We got two tables of 8 next to each other and settled in for chat, nigori sake tasting and good food.

KB and I went for the sushi for 2. For $33 you get a tuna roll a Cali roll and 20 pieces of sushi- 2 each of all the basics. There was tuna, shrimp, 4 salmon, mackerel, squid, octopus and the rest I only know in Japanese. Sorry. (Let’s see, from the top: maguro, ebi, saba, tako, boring you to death aren’t I?) It was good. The mackerel was dressed so thickly with wasabi that you could see it under the fish. We also got salads with ginger dressing, KB got an order of shrimp gyoza (or potstickers) which were not overly fried or greasy and were quite delicious with tender shrimp chunks. Green tea comes with your meal, not unlike water, and really it’s the best thing to be drinking. The slightly bitter taste goes well with the sweetness of the fish.

I went for the lobster miso. I was expecting the thick brown soup to be laced with shreds of lobster meat. For $3.75 it sounded reasonable and I love miso. The fact that I say “I was expecting” tells you right off the bat that it was either not good or extremely good. But which is it? Patience you!

It came in the cute little lacquered bowl I was expecting and it was brown. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the giant whole, cracked lobster claw balanced in the center of the liquid. Wow.

After picking that up and devouring the tasty meat claw meat and discarding the shell, I found that the claw had been held up by the end of a tail with a large chuck of meat inside. Since I wasn’t provided with a cracker I had to bite down on the shell to free the tasty morsel. I think my eyes rolled back in my head at that point- both at the taste of the meat and the realization that I was walking away from the table with my credit intact. A mere $3.75 for a claw and a third of a tail is an amazing deal. And it was delicious to boot- the meat tender and fresh from the pot and the miso dashi tasted like it had been made, not from a powder, but from freshly cooked wet miso dashi (the paste that, when added to water, becomes miso soup.)

The sushi was tasty. Folks at the other table ordered all sorts of fancy rolls and such, one of whic was softshell crab and another which was made of the darkest maguro (tuna) I have ever seen in my life. I would definitely go back- they have donburis on the menu and a good rice bowl, despite what you may have heard, is hard to find.

Konami Sushi Restaurant and Bar
8221 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182 -2613
PH: (703)821-3400

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