OK, I promised to post more so I'm trying to make good.
Uni and both Cafe Asias are now offering "sushi happy hour" featuring sushi for $1 and maki for a reduced price as well ($3-4) from about 5:00 - 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. This is a fairly good value for sushi (about half price).
I've gone to both Cafe' Asias numerous times and generally find that the sushi is fresh and I particularly like their spicy tuna roll and the eel. Incidentally, can anyone actually tell the difference b/t fresh water and sea eel. I can't.
A lot of times I'll order a small amount of sushi and then order a bowl of Rendang - which is a (Malaysian?)beef curry. The schtick at Cafe' Asia is that they offer a smattering of food from throughout SE Asia. In general their fair is pretty tasty and affordable. The atmosphere at the Rosslyn Cafe Asia is very sleek with lots of clean lines and blond wood. The older Cafe Asia on 19th is 3 floors, more cluttered and somewhat less fancy, but also busier. Service can vary, particularly in Rosslyn. Still for the price, it's a good deal. Both places are fun to see and be seen.
Uni is a new place which opened up about 6 months ago on P Street - somewhere close to 20th/21st. I don't think anyone has mentioned it on here. I ate there two days ago and I was very surprised (on this one occasion) to find that the sushi was extremely fresh - almost as good a quality as Sushi Taro and places like that. Actually slightly fresher than Cafe Asia. FYI - The reason I was surprised is that a friend in the area has been dissing uni for months so you'll have to judge. The tuna and salmon were particularly good, the tako (octopus) was a bit chewy, but that's more or less expected. That said, the happy hour at uni is limited to about 15 or so kinds of sushi - most of the basics and only 4 kinds of Maki. They also seem to be a big advocate of the Saketini judging from a recent article in the Post but I refuse to try em, so ...
Service was very friendly. I have not tried any of the entrees but they do seem to have attracted a neighborhood following - including a guy with his 8 year old niece who was just loving eating tako (octopus). Uni was extremely uncrowded at 6:30 this Thursday night. I was sitting at the sushi bar and so I got to watch the preparations which may have been a mistake. There was one chef who clearly was accomplished, the others seemed to be learning the trade though they ultimately were competent. The chefs were fun to talk to. Atmosphere was dark, with vaguely Japanese decor and a horrendous soundtrack - it veered from new-age Japanese noodlings to a peculiar lite version of some country tune. I suppose that might be a plus for some conoisseurs of the muzak format. Fortunately it was only occasionally distracting. There's a bar in the back. All in all, I liked Uni and recommend it for the happy hour.
I happen to be a big fan of Sakana which is on P (a block closer to Dupont than Uni). They have extremely fresh sushi and I really like the decor. They do not offer the $1 deal tho and so will be more $$ though you can still get away for under $20 a plate through judicious ordering of Maki.
So, does anyone know of any other $1 sushi happy hours that are worth trying?
OK, that's it for now. I'll try to get a bit farther away from the tried and true next time (well, as far off the beaten track as a person without a car can go).