As most veteran brunchers know, brunch is more than just eggs, French toast, sandwiches, and salads. It's also all-you-can-eat Japanese buffets. I recently made the trip out to Bethesda to visit Hinode Japanese Restaurant at the suggestion of Washington City Paper's consistently excellent young and hungry feature. Hinode offers an expansive buffet of both sushi and hot food for an astonishingly cheap $12 (lunch/brunch only). While I think you can rightly be skeptical of eating that kind of volume of raw fish for that cheap, Hinode's buffet was actually fairly fresh.
The hot food area consisted of tempura, various vegetable dishes, a few chicken dishes, rice, and dessert. The tempura was the highlight, especially if you get to it right as they're putting it out. The steamed dumplings were also good and came with a nice salty dipping sauce. But the real reason you'd go here is for the sushi. Overall, the maki was more impressive than the nigiri. The nigiri is mostly rice with a small amount of fish. That was not unexpected since all-you-can eat joints generally try to overload on the rice to fill you up. However, many of the rolls were good. The highlights were the spicy tuna roll, which was surrounded by salty tobiko; the crab stick, which is not usually my favorite but it was topped with tangy spicy sauce; and the tempura rolls, which were crunchy and good. The tuna and salmon rolls were competent but not outstanding. They also have some more obscure items like mussel nigiri. Overall a solid bang for the buck and is worth the trip out to Bethesda.
N.B. They have locations in Rockville and Frederick in addition to Bethesda.
Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.
Hinode Japanese Restaurant
4914 Hampden Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
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