After viewing Yo! Sushi’s television debut on Travel Channel’s Fast Foods Gone Global and discovering the chains first restaurant was coming to DC, I knew I had to try this place out upon its arrival. I recently visited the first Yo! Sushi in America located in none other than Union Station in the Nations Capital where I was greeted by a very modern decor and tapas like fare. So many things caught my eye I almost don’t know where to begin. I guess the first thing I noticed was…everything. It was almost like a sensory overload. There were brightly colored seats and wall panels, neon lights, a food conveyor belt (we’ll go into detail on that one later), wait staff dressed in Japanese-style garbs, and a color coded plate system like none other. The music was upbeat, the atmosphere was casual and the clientele was as diverse as the city of DC itself. This was an entirely new experience for me and I must admit I highly enjoyed it. I sat on a bar stool near the entrance of the restaurant. (Something I don’t normally do, but it wasn’t bad.) Although the restaurant was open and colorful, there was still a sense of privacy when speaking with my guest. I also noticed the manager attempted to optimize privacy by sporadically seating parties of two or more so no one would feel too crammed or uncomfortable. Bonus points for that one!
An added bonus to the bar seating areas is that they each have a personal water faucet, bottle of soy sauce and wasabi. The individual faucets definitely come in handy when you’ve realized you were overambitious with the spicy wasabi. My guest and I were greeted by our server for the evening. She explained the color coded plate system. (There is a varying cost associated with different colored plates.) Watching the food revolve around the food conveyor belt – a sort of automatic mini airport walkway for Japanese treats – in front of us only made us more hungry so after we placed an order for a couple of hot dishes we began grabbing the tastiest looking few off the belt and started to go to town on a variety of sushi and sashimi. Although the sushi was good. The most memorable dishes were the fried calamari and the chicken teriyaki. Pardon my American palette. The calamari was lightly battered and yet still crunchy. While the chicken teriyaki was hot and flavorful. (I am a sucker for anything teriyaki by the way, so my tastebuds may be a little bias.) They both went well with my Yuengling, which only costs $3.50 during their 4pm-7pm Happy Hour. (What a steal?!) The cordial wait staff combined with the delectable dishes, the vast variety of hot and cold food options, the inviting atmosphere and the great happy hour prices are what make the Yo! Sushi experience memorable and it is definitely an experience I shall have again. So if you’re ever in DC, go to Union Station and experience it for yourself. Check out this YouTube photo sequence below for a better look at the first Yo! Sushi in the United States.