- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sushi is on the move in the District. A restaurant that serves plates of sushi on conveyor belts that move past customers’ tables is expected to open in Washington this spring.

Diners at Wasabi Sushi will be charged based on how many plates they take off the conveyor belt. Plates will be color-coded based on price, said Bo Davis, president of Wasabi Sushi.

Wasabi’s first location is scheduled to open in May at 908 17th St. NW. The company plans to open an additional location in the fall and three in 2007, all in the Washington area.

The idea came from London, where the Kaiten style, or the “sushi on conveyor belts” concept, is popular, Mr. Davis said. Restaurants in some U.S. cities serve sushi in traditional Kaiten style, in which sushi is placed in wooden boats that float in canals of water.

“It’s loved by those in the know in London,” Mr. Davis said. “We wanted to bring it here to D.C.”

Chef Miguel Choy, who co-founded the Kaiten-style Yuzu Restaurants in London, plans to serve an “Asian fusion” cuisine of sushi dishes with a Latin flavor at Wasabi Sushi. One of the items on the menu is tiratido, a fish such as sea bass served with a slice of jalapeno and a cilantro leaf.

“It’s not just tuna rolls,” Mr. Davis said.

Plates will cost $2 to $5 each, and the average price for a meal will be $10 to $12, Mr. Davis said.

Plates will be covered as they sail around the restaurant and will be marked discretely with the time so the kitchen crew can toss dishes that are on the belt too long.

The restaurant also will have takeout service.

Mr. Davis is hoping the D.C. area’s demographics will work in the restaurant’s favor.

“The concept is very international, and there’s a strong international demographic in D.C.,” he said.

Circulator expands

The D.C. Circulator added a route around the Mall this month. The third route will take buses clockwise from 17th Street to Constitution Avenue to Third Street to Independence Avenue.

Public transportation has not immediately surrounded the Mall since at least the 1970s,the D.C. Department of Transportation said.

“It’s been a long time since there was public transportation around the National Mall and the city thinks it’s important to link the downtown to the federal interest as part of our larger transit network,” said Karen Meacham, project manager of the D.C. Circulator.

The buses will run every five to 10 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The Circulator’s other routes, from Union Station to Georgetown and the Convention Center to the Waterfront, run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The Circulator began operating in June to cover areas not conveniently served by Metrorail.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is touting the Mall route as the easiest way to take public transportation to see the cherry trees in bloom along the Tidal Basin. The bus stops at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue.

• Moe’s Southwest Grill, a Mexican cuisine fast-food chain, plans to open a Chantilly store on Westone Plaza Thursday. Owners Frank and Carol Maresca plan to donate a percentage of sales Thursday and Friday to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

• Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at 202/636-4836 or [email protected]

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