SUSHI IN REEL TIME
Remember when Chinese restaurants and pizzerias were the only places that delivered? These days, a growing number of Japanese eateries are delivering dinner to your door, reflecting a surge in the popularity of sushi. The places that follow also sell sushi, sashimi and roll assortments on party platters, an easy and attractive option for an impromptu dinner gathering. All you need to do is place them on the table—there’s no worrying about keeping the food hot.
Chef Billy Ye at En bistro & Sushi creates sushi and Chinese dishes. Photo by Michael Ventura.
EN BISTRO & SUSHI
Opened in February 2014 by Billy Ye, a Shanghai-born chef who also has worked at Japanese restaurants in Toyko and Washington, D.C., En Bistro & Sushi offers sushi and Chinese dishes. More than half of the tiny restaurant’s business is carryout and delivery, and Ye also does lots of catering, often for golf tournaments, conventions and bar and bat mitzvahs. Delivery is available within 3 miles of the restaurant, with a $20 minimum order. Party trays range from $55 to $80.
9945 Falls Road, Potomac, 301-983-8600, www.enbistro.com
“Keep calm and enjoy,” says the message on the website of this Bethesda standby, which is made possible by the restaurant’s easygoing service. True to its name, the menu offers more than 50 types of maki. Delivery is available within 3 miles of the restaurant, with a $20 minimum order. Party trays range from $65 to $95.
8023 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 301-913-9888, www.makimakisushi.com
This neighborhood spot offers a lengthy and inventive array of rolls, and Yelpers gush about Ricky Weng, the sushi chef. Online ordering is easy and efficient. For some quirky entertainment, check out the website’s magic popcorn video. Delivery is available within 5 miles of the restaurant, with a $25 minimum order. Party trays range from $49.80 to $79.80.
9706 Traville Gateway Drive, Rockville, 301-251-1177, www.sushioishii.com
Should You Tip?
Most people know they should tip for home delivery, but should you tip when picking up carryout? It depends on who you ask.
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema “My gut instinct is 15 percent or more for carryout, depending on the complexity of the order. This might sound like a lot; I err on the side of overtipping, partly because I used to be a server, but also because I know what often goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant when carryout orders are placed: Someone is taking the order, someone is passing it along, someone is making sure it’s packaged correctly with napkins and utensils and such. I want to acknowledge the effort, even though I might not see who’s responsible for all of it—and even though I’m not getting the kind of service (drink refills, etc.) I might if I were seated at a table. In general, I think a few bucks is fine for an order of $10 or less, $5 is appropriate for an order of $30 or less.”
Alisia Kleinmann, founder and CEO of industree, a Bethesda-based restaurant industry group “I do it on a case-by-case basis. I’m more likely to at mom-and-pop shops, where they’ll really appreciate it.”
Frank Shull, chief operating officer and partner, RW Restaurant Group “If I pick it up, no. What bothers me is how a lot of carryout places now have a tip line on the credit card bill. Even at Chipotle, if you charge your burritos and water, there’s space for a tip. I tip high on delivery—20 percent. Drivers don’t make much.”
Chevy Chase resident Georgia Guhin, who often orders carryout food “Every Sunday night we get carryout from Raku. On a $35 bill, we give them $5. My husband goes to Starbucks every morning, and he tips 50 cents on his $3.35 coffee. If I get a takeout sandwich someplace and I see there’s a tip jar, I’ll put in a dollar or two. The staffs put out a lot of effort. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be compensated, especially since their hourly wages are so low.”
TOP HITS AT WHOLE FOODS
Who knew? General Tso’s vegan “chicken” sells like gangbusters at Whole Foods Markets in lower Montgomery County. Here’s what else customers are gobbling up from among the 150 prepared foods at each local store, where choices can differ depending on the demographics. Aside from the most popular picks among shoppers, we also asked store staffers for their favorites.
Photo from Whole Foods Market
Kenwood Station, 5269 River Road, 301-984-4860
Macaroni and cheese
General Tso’s vegan “chicken”
Asian peanut noodle salad
Staff favorite: Breakfast (cinnamon French toast, cage-free scrambled eggs, huevos rancheros, plus other items)
4420 Willard Ave., 301-657-1520
General Tso’s vegan “chicken”
Staff favorites: Charcuterie meats such as mortadella, soppressata and Milano salami from artisan salami producer Creminelli
11355 Woodglen Drive, 301-984-4880
General Tso’s vegan “chicken”Rustico Romano chicken
Staff favorite: Niman Ranch applewood smoked ham
833 Wayne Ave., 301-608-9373
Rustico Romano chicken
General Tso’s vegan “chicken”
Staff favorite: Vegan chocolate mousse
316 Kentlands Blvd., 301-258-9500
Staff favorite: Pulled chicken chipotle salad (offered as a special)
DO THIS, NOT THAT
»DO review the menu and decide what to order to avoid dithering on the phone when calling ahead for carryout. If you’re indecisive, online ordering (if it’s available) may be a better bet because you can take as long as you want.
»DO order items that reheat well if you like food piping hot, since most dishes will have cooled by the time you eat them. That means sticking with foods with a high moisture content, such as soups, sauced items, braised meats and many Chinese, Thai and Indian dishes. And, of course, you’ll always be safe with salad and sushi.
»DO be very clear about any special instructions when ordering either carryout or delivery.
»DO keep your device handy after ordering so the restaurant or delivery service can reach you if there are updates, changes or questions about your order.
»DON'T expect great results when ordering items such as fried appetizers, tempura or french fries for carryout or delivery. Fried foods don’t travel well.
»DON'T expect a fast turnaround time when ordering carryout pizza on a Friday night. Popular places are crazy busy between 5 and 8 p.m. Think about having a pizza night earlier in the week, or order before or after those hectic hours.
»DON'T be surprised if you have a long wait when requesting delivery during rush hour. We had swifter service when ordering for delivery after 7 p.m.