I love any sushi place that will sell me a roll for less than how much it costs at J Street, GW’s dining hall ($12 is easy to beat). When the prices are even lower and the quality is good, I’m an even bigger fan. Sakana is a well kept secret, but I’m letting it out. The restaurant doesn’t even have a website, and the no frills exterior doesn’t give away what’s waiting inside.
I ordered the Crunchy Shrimp Roll, Crunchy California Roll and Japanese Pickles. The Crunchy Shrimp Roll ($4.50) was filled with shrimp, cucumbers, carrots and crunchy bread crumbs. I could really taste the freshness of the ingredients. The roll was a nice, slightly warm temperature. The cucumber was refreshing and crunchy.
The Crunchy California Roll ($4.50) was my favorite of the two. It had the typical California Roll ingredients in it (crab stick, avocado, cucumbers) as well as shrimp tempura. The roll had a nice crunch to it and a mayo-like sauce that the other roll could have benefited from.
I ordered the Japanese Pickles ($2.95) because the people sitting next to me had a pickled cucumber salad on their table and I thought that’s what I would get when I ordered the pickles. I was wrong. I had no idea what vegetables I was eating while taking notes for this review, so I just called them by their colors. I have now found out what the purple, green and yellow were with the help of this handy Japanese pickle guide. The “purple” (shibazuke, a cucumber and eggplant mix) and “green” (kyurizuke, traditional cucumber pickles) were too salty and gave me no need to dip my sushi in soy sauce. The “yellow” (takuan, daikon pickle) was my favorite and had a mellow flavor. The dish also came with pickled garlic, which surprisingly did not have the harsh flavor you would expect to encounter when eating a whole clove of garlic. I ordered the pickles because I thought two sushi rolls would not suffice for a meal. They ended up being plenty.
Sakana’s interior looked like what I imagine a traditional sushi restaurant would look like in Japan. Wood was used as the focus of the simple decor.
I really liked Sakana’s beautifully-designed place mats and dishware. I couldn’t resist taking a place mat as a souvenir.
At Sakana, the sushi is wholesome and the price is right. I will be back!
THE BOTTOM LINE:
2026 P St NW (Dupont Circle)
Washington, DC 20036