Review: Teaism and a Crazy Blind Date
Two, two posts in one. Actually three. Last night, I had my third Crazy Blind Date. The first I described a few weeks ago, the second was nothing to write home about. Yesterday was something to write about. Again, nothing crazy, but this is the first one that I think I might try a follow up date with. I won't get into too many details to jinx it, so I'll review Teaism now.
My date was scheduled for at Teaism in Penn Quarter at 7 PM. Already in the neighborhood at 6, I decided to visit my favorite bartender, Mo at the 701 Restaurant. Always good to see Mo and I haven't been there in months. Despite my long drought, he remembered me and who I usually come in with. 701 is one of those places one might hear about when a foreign leader or prominent member of our government holds a party or fundraiser. But on a daily basis, it is a great place to meet up with friends for drinks, although a bit pricey.
As to Teaism, after my date left, I decided to try out the menu. I had been there only once before and only to grab a cup of tea and run. Teaism runs essentially a tea house, but also has an expansive, mostly Asian food menu. It is fine dining in a casual atmosphere. You order at the counter and pick up your own food and tea. A nice thing is that you use actual plates and silverware when dining in. I love Japanese food, in particular simple things like sushi and bento boxes. When I saw bento boxes were on the menu, I had to try. I opted for the handroll box. I did not read into the details, but wanted to try something new, and this sounded interesting.
The handroll bento box has cured salmon, nori, pickled daikon, and rice. I have to say, the cured salmon was excellent. Thinly sliced in bite size portions, the fish was perfectly seasoned but left alone enough that you knew it was a quality piece of fish. Rice is rice, but Teaism's version was good as part of a roll, or as a complimentary side dish to the entree. Pickled daikon is not a favorite of mine, but it had the right mixture of sweetness and a hint of spice. The nori was paper thin, so it did not hold up great as a wrap. I ate a couple of wraps before deciding to eat the rest of the meal as individual parts. The accompanying wasabi and miso mayo were nice condiments, but not particularly necessary to the meals.
As I said, the salmon was so good, I didn't even realize they provided a small cup of soy sauce with the bento box. It was not needed and I only used it once to see if it improved the flavor, which it didn't. The salmon was that good. It was really a great meal at a great price. Without the tea, the bento boxes all run about $10 or less. Tea is a personal preference, but at Teaism they have a large selection, so I found a good green to drink.
The shop/restaurant at Penn Quarter is small storefront adjacent to the Navy Memorial. I sat on the ground floor and it only had seats for about 20. There is a downstairs area, which I did not see. Overall Teaism is a great little place to meet people. If looking for a good low cost dining option, I would recommend this as well. I definitely need to visit again soon.
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