FOOD: Sushi Nami
By KATHLEEN NIXON
February 24, 2012
Sometimes you never know where or when you will find next favorite eating venue. My new favorite spot is in one of the most unlikely places: the lobby of the Westin Tysons Corner on Leesburg Pike at the intersection of Route 7 and the Beltway. Thankfully it is before the Beltway for those of us in the City of Falls Church.
A few years ago, the Westin General Manager wanted to find a way to multi-purpose a high trafficked area in their lobby that wasn’t being used at night: the Starbucks stand. Many other restaurants in our area have found ways to create different revenue streams in the same space, such as Willow’s Nosh Bistro, but the Westin was way ahead of the curve on this one. The Westin felt that sushi would be a good offering for its many frequent hotel guests and the space was perfect to showcase sushi. At the same time, a young sushi chef named Sung Shin had just finished an apprenticeship in Baltimore learning both traditional and fusion sushi. Sushi Nami was born.
Sushi Nami made an appearance at the Falls Church Farmers Market Chef demonstration in the fall of 2010 just after they opened. Nothing like trial by fire for Sung, who was told shortly after he started that “he would be going out into the community to do sushi”. Sung delighted the farmers market chef participants with multiple vegetarian options including a yam and cream cheese, spicy basil cucumber roll and an avocado roll.
Sung says he feels very fortunate that his teachers were not only very forthcoming with sharing with him traditional sushi but also very inspirational in being innovative and creative. Traditionally sushi chefs keep their trade secrets very close to their chests and do not share their knowledge with young chefs. Sung not only learned traditional sushi, but how to experiment and be creative. I see this each time I happen by Sushi Nami. Like many great chefs, Sung knows his audience and remembers his customers’ tastes. It is wonderful to have a quick conversation with Sung as I am ordering and deciding the key ingredients that will be the mainstay of my meal. From there, Sung’s creativity and imaginations take over and I salivate with anticipation of what he will produce. Each time I am astounded at the manipulation of standard sushi ingredients under the influence of such creative and innovative mind to showcase delicacies I would have never dreamed of.
The creations for my most recent visit included: Salmon, spicy tuna with Japanese radish, marinated squash and sweet tofu; shrimp, cream cheese, cucumber topped with smoked salmon drizzled with eel sauce and spicy mayo sauce. My husband’s selections included spicy tuna with Japanese radish and spicy mayo topped with salmon; spicy yellow tuna chopped and combined with roe, sesame oil and hot oil topped with avocado; spicy tuna pocket with wasabi, rice, eel sauce, pickled radish. The spicy tuna pocket was a delightful treat taking a twist on the traditional maki roll.
Most times I will stop off on my way back from Tysons Corner to pick up an order to go. Other times I will order a Sapporo and sit in the Bluefire Lounge which is the hotel’s lobby bar and restaurant. While the ambiance is nothing special at the Bluefire Lounge but the sushi more than makes up for it.
Monday – Friday 4pm to 10pm
Westin Tysons Corner
7801 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22043
By Kathleen Nixon
February 24, 2012