The Mountain has come to McLean, and he intends to satisfy the area’s craving for sushi. Jeung Kwon was nicknamed “Fuji,” which means “mountain” in Japanese, by his sushi sensei, who told him he was going to be big in the business. Kwon has spent the last 30 years working to live up to his name. Just weeks after opening Hanabi Sushi, Kwon is doing a swift business.
“Hanabi” means “fire spark,” as in fireworks, according to Fugi. He prides himself on creating sushi that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.
“Everything is quality in McLean. The class is higher, so the quality is higher,” said Kwon, of his decision to open a sushi restaurant here. Fresh seafood is brought in to the restaurant several times a week to meet Kwon’s standards.
“Just food right,” is his philosophy, said restaurant manager and Kwon’s wife, Hui Kwon. “He’s very difficult to work with because he wants everything right away to the customer. Make now, serve now,” said Hui Kwon.
The restaurant offers several sushi rolls that set it apart from offerings at other local restaurants. These include 12 chef’s special rolls, such as the McLean roll with fried scallop, masago, avocado, cucumber and mayonnaise sauce. “The scallop is special. He wanted to introduce it to McLean,” said Hui Kwon.
“McLean is people who love sushi, more than any other place in Northern Virginia,” said Jeung Kwon. Fuji has worked locally as well as in Chicago. He recently sold one of his sushi restaurants in Annapolis, Md.
A problem some sushi eaters have registered about McLean is that the existing restaurants are small and therefore often overcrowded. “This is nice and big. The sushi I had was really good, really good. But not having to wait was great. I’ve been here twice — once for lunch and once for dinner, and I was able to eat right away,” said diner Jonathan Freeman.
“People are bringing people. We’re already getting regular customers,” said Hui Kwon.
In addition to the large sushi selection, Hanabi offers traditional Japanese fare. It has an extensive selection of appetizers and entrees that are special to the restaurant. “We have a bigger restaurant and a bigger hot kitchen, too,” said Jeung Kwon, of his ability to offer an array of choices.
“He love[s] to cook. He cooks at home, too,” said Hui Kwon. Fuji has created a variety of sauces to accompany his sushi that enhance the flavors. “All my sauces are homemade. Fresh, everything must be fresh,” said Jeung Kwon.
Though Hanabi will never offer a sushi buffet — “No, no never would he do that,” said Hui Kwon — it is doing a lot of platters for events. It offers 13 different platters so far. “We have been doing a lot of special-occasion party platters. And we have carry-out service,” said Hui Kwon.
Hanabi is located at the Market Place shopping center at 6828-D Old Dominion Drive. The restaurant is closed on Monday but is open for lunch on Tuesday-Friday from 11:30-2:30 p.m. and on Saturday from noon-3 p.m.. Hanabi is open for dinner on Tuesday through Saturday from 5-10 p.m. and on Sunday from 3-9:30 p.m.