<bt>Konami Sushi recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with a private party for its regular patrons. Given its many loyal clients, the restaurant, with its vibrant colors and modern decor, was packed for the event. Konami translates into “small wave,” which is appropriate given the crest of excitement that draws sushi and Japanese fare lovers to its doors every day.
"Mainly, our customers, 75 percent are regulars," said manager Sam Lekhawiwat. “They come back because of the freshness of our sushi. We do a very good lunch crowd, so we turn over fish quickly. It’s delivered every day.”
Patron Robin Meyers attended the party with friends. “This is my favorite sushi restaurant," said Meyers. "I’m here all the time because it’s so good. The atmosphere is great, the food’s terrific and it's consistent. It’s the best uni around." “Uni” is fresh sea urchin that has a very short window for use, so the regular turn-around at Konami permits the delicacy to be served at its peak.
The sushi and sushi rolls are the most popular items offered at Konami. In addition to the traditional a la carte sushi items, Konami offers several house rolls and daily specials. Special sushi items can range from fresh scallop to fresh lobster sushi and tend to sell out quickly.
“Everything here is good, which is probably why it's been around so long," said patron Colleen Sanders. "You can sit outside in the garden and enjoy it casually with friends, and they always have different specials on the menu, things you aren’t going to find anywhere else.”
The sushi chefs at Konami have a variety of cultural influence they bring to their preparations. One is Japanese, one Korean, and another sushi chef is from Thailand. “They bring their own influence and try to come up with more style and decoration,” said Lekhawiwat.
KONAMI OFTEN expands its menu to entice and please its patrons. New additions to the menu include two types of tempura — katsu, the traditional battered variety, and grilled. The menu offers 13 types of tempura in each of the varieties that include everything from quail egg, shitake mushroom, garlic and bacon and asparagus.
Traditional Japanese fare, such as Onigiri, rice with green tea, and Ochazuke, rice with crispy salmon skin and vegetables, is available. The menu at Konami is several pages long and includes everything from teriyaki to lunch and dinner boxes for one or two persons.
Traditional and modern appetizers are available at Konami. The soft-shelled crab tempura is popular during the summertime. The more adventurous diner might like Hamachi Kama, grilled yellowtail collar bone served Shioyaki or teriyaki style.
“This is a good place to try things. You don’t worry about it so much here because, well, you trust them,” said Sanders.
Konami was started by Tony Hia, the man behind the trendy Thai Busara restaurants in Virginia and Washington, D.C. His style and flair for decorating are carried over into Konami with its contemporary blues and purples, curved bench dissecting the restaurant, and soothing waterfall.
Konami also has a traditional Japanese garden patio in the front of the restaurant that does an adequate job of screening patrons from the traffic on Route 7 and the gas station next door.
“The patio will be open until fall, when we start to get really cold days. They all love the garden. We always get compliments on that,” said Lekhawiwat.
Once again this year Konami has received a Zagat rating. “We have received it almost every year we have been open. This year we are very happy to have it again,” Lekhawiwat said.
Just in time for the holiday season, Konami is offering catering and party platters. The platters, said Lekhawiwat, are in response to regular customers ordering large quantities of sushi for private parties and functions. “We just started that this year. It’s good to have a platter. That’s cheaper than a la carte. It’s more reasonable,” he said.
Lekhawiwat added: “The restaurant is cozy, our sushi is very fresh and our location good. And we have our own parking lot. Especially in the winter, we are very busy because people do not have to fight over parking.”
Konami offers a Happy Hour during the week from 5-7 p.m., that has $1 sushi items, drink specials and reduced prices on hot food items.
Konami Sushi is located at 8221 Leesburg Pike in Tysons Corner. Lunch is offered on Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 12-3 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday-Thursday, 5-10:30 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.