About Jasmine Asian Bistro
Saimi Rote Bergmann writes:
"The chefs at Jasmine understand the axiom that we eat first with our eyes. So much here is visually pleasing, starting with the understated elegance of the decor, primarily in shades of beige, gold, and black. Then, each dish, from soup to sushi is carefully composed to please the eye before the pleasing of the palate.
Jasmine opened quietly in November in a small plaza on 30th Street NW, but it didn't take long for word to spread. Nothing of the previous Asian restaurant, Pataya, remains. From carpeting to color, everything is new.
Of note are the comfortable booths covered in luxurious fabric with ancient Chinese symbols. Tables are covered in cloth, then topped with paper. Even at lunch, cloth napkins are used.
Serving dishes are striking, most in eye-catching shapes. The menu is hard to define because it includes a variety of Asian delicacies from Thai to Japanese and Chinese to Mongolian.
Meals are accompanied by miso soup or salad. The soup has a delicate broth that does not fall victim to the saltiness or sourness that plague many miso soups.
Along with the miso, a pork dumpling and seafood soup always are on the menu, and an additional soup or two appear on the weekly specials menu.
The seafood soup is served in an enormous fancifully shaped bowl. It easily could be a meal in itself. It also has crisp pea pods, broccoli, and mushrooms folded into the egg-drop-style broth.
Dinner selections include hibachi-style combinations such as chicken and sirloin, bacon-wrapped scallops, and a smoky, peanut infused pad Thai serviced with a wedge of lime. There are dozens and dozens of colorful sushi, sashimi, and rolls.
Co-owner Henry Lim recommends the Tsunami Roll, calling the filling of crab, scallop, avocado and spicy mayonnaise "unbelievable."
Lim also reassures customers that if they fall in love with a weekly special, they don't have to wait for it to reappear.
"If a customer likes something, we can always have it cooked again for them, "Lim says.
Nowhere is the artistry of presentation more striking than in the Business Box, a lunch special. A meal becomes an event when served in a Bento box, a black lacquered cube with four compartments.
The Mango Chicken Business Box features chicken, sliced mango, snow peas, mushrooms, and bell peppers in a sweet hot sauce.
In separate compartments are jasmine rice, a meltingly crisp egg roll, and four slices of California Roll. In the center is a flower-shaped dab of wasabi and artfully arranged slivers of pickled ginger.
The Business Box menu includes General Tso's Chicken. Chicken Katsu (fried, sliced chicken breast) and chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon teriyaki."