Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Review: Genji Japanese Restaurant

I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge fan of Japanese food, especially sushi. I’ve never been too thrilled at the idea of eating raw fish. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, at Genji Japanese Restaurant. Specializing in sushi and other Eastern fares, Genji Japanese Restaurant is an excellent source for affordable, delicious Japanese food in a dressy-casual environment. Recently under new ownership, the restaurant will celebrate its grand opening on Friday, July 28, and it is not to be missed.

Tucked away in a strip mall just off Lee Highway in Falls Church, Genji’s exterior blends in with the other restaurants and shops in the strip. It distinguishes itself with a warm interior and an inviting host, eager to help customers pick out selections and make recommendations for which sushi to order. The décor is simplistic – dark beige walls and dark wood, creating a calming atmosphere. Its ceilings are high, making the space feel bigger and more roomy than it is in actuality. Lite-FM music plays over the loudspeaker system and hushed conversation is the norm here. The restaurant has two main seating areas. The first area, located at the front of the restaurant, has large tables with stoves built into them. Customers watch and are dazzled as the restaurant’s cooks prepare their meal right in front of them, creating a unique and enjoyable experience. The back seating area is more low-key, with private tables and booths for patrons preferring a quieter, less hectic dining experience.

The customer service is impeccable, as food is brought promptly and quickly. The host and waiters will patiently wait with first-time patrons to help them pick out what to order, recommending various types of sushi over others and making friendly conversation.

The real attraction is, of course, the food. The sushi a la carte menu is extensive, with exotic offerings like the Boston roll (shrimp, crab stick and cucumber), the Maryland roll (crab, mayonnaise and old bay seasoning) and the Atlantic roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, crab, masago and spicy tuna). A cross-section of orders represents most of the restaurants offerings. The traditional California roll, perhaps the type of sushi most familiar to casual American diners, left no odd aftertaste. Made up of avocado, crab stick and masago, the ingredients blended well with the rice and tasted fresh. The rest of the sampled fish offerings – tuna, salmon and yellow tail – were fresh as well. The sushi was served in large portions, proving filling and satisfying. The soy sauce and wasabi that accompanied the sushi gave it the perfect kick, adding a bit of spice and saltiness to the meal. All of the sushi a la carte items are reasonably priced as well – most offerings range from $3.95 to $5.25, and portions come in two, six or seven-piece options, depending on what type of sushi it is.

The presentation of the sushi was also superb. The fish were arranged neatly in black trays, flanked by leaves and rice. The chopsticks, well-made unlike most made of balsa wood, came in silk cloth packs of various bright colors, with a small butterfly patch cleanly placed at the bottom of the pouch. The extra presentation showed careful dedication to the craft of not only presentation, but the food itself; it helped to complete an already excellent package.

Already a standout among area Japanese offerings, Genji’s Japanese Restaurant creates a complete dining experience with its delicious food and visually stimulating presentation. As it continues to add more menu options, the restaurant should continue to grow in popularity and reputation. The offerings will convert even the biggest skeptic of Japanese food into a sushi aficionado, a testament to the restaurant’s dedication and precision in Japanese cuisine.