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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Pan-Asian, Japanese
Casual restaurant

Mon–Sat 11:30am–11:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


1120 19th St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 293-3138
Unremarkable sushi and bland, passable noodle dishes anchor this

“Pan-Asian” has become a far-too-familiar term when it comes to cuisine, and Nooshi is one of those far-too-familiar places that offer something Asian (or at least Asian-influenced) for everyone, without really shining at any one of those things. Its wide-ranging menu and generic Asian décor deliver exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant offering dishes representing an entire continent: renditions of familiar Asian classics—some solid, and some fairly mediocre.

At lunch on a weekday, the restaurant has the harried feel of many of its peer lunch spots in the Golden Triangle: lines out the door (including a separate crowd waiting for carry-out), a cluster of hostesses near the front who seem unsure about how to expedite seating, and waiters turning sideways to edge past each other in the too-narrow spaces between tables. The red-and-black lacquered décor carries the pan-Asian theme throughout the long and narrow space that amplifies the clatter of chopsticks, bowls, and glasses.

The name of the restaurant is a mash-up of “noodles” and “sushi,” which are, unsurprisingly, the two major menu categories here. The sushi is unremarkable, inoffensive, and relatively inexpensive, with all the familiar players (a passable spicy crunchy tuna roll, yellowtail and scallion, and so on) and one or two more unexpected options (including the always-disastrous smoked salmon with cream cheese). Noodle dishes fare somewhat better than raw fish, with the menu running the gamut from nabeyaki udon to mee goreng. The generous portions don’t skimp on the accompaniments, and you could do worse for a lunch under $10 that will almost certainly provide enough leftovers for a snack later. But seasoning is often insufficient; “Phuket Noodles” billed as “very spicy,” for example, deliver no more than an average hot-and-sour punch.

Then there’s satay chicken, lemon chicken, salmon teriyaki—you know the drill. Nonetheless, ingredients are reasonably fresh, and, to its credit, Nooshi certainly doesn’t overreach. With reasonable prices, a central location, and a well-known happy hour offering half-price drinks from Monday through Saturday, Nooshi serves its purpose. Given the genre, it’s almost part of that purpose, you might say, not to be that great.

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