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The Washington Post reports that a DC-area Whole Foods neat Logan Circle has replaced its coffee bar with an “Asian Diner” that almost looks like a freestanding restaurant.

“There are no official waiters at Izakaya,” the Post writes. “Customers place their order with one of the solicitous cooks, take a number and pay a cashier before seating themselves. Voyeurs gravitate to the narrow counter overlooking the front sidewalk, while those who want in on the (cooking) action head for the sushi bar that frames a tidy grill. A cook or other staff member delivers the customer's food.”

However, the Post gives the food only mixed grades: “The menu runs to tempura, rice bowls and cooked meats -- a welcome mix, but the execution is mixed. One day's tuna sushi is a blank on the tongue, while salmon is served so cold it can't be tasted. (Another day, another story: salmon sushi that you'd be happy to find at your neighborhood Japanese joint.) Vegetable tempura emphasizes a heavy batter over its crisp red peppers, zucchini and broccoli. I'm more impressed with the fried food's dipping ‘flakes’ -- accents that include green-tea salt and minced orange peel with red onion -- and the soothing, bite-size shrimp dumplings.”
KC's View:
Mixed grades or not, Whole Foods gets points for trying something new and for integrating the eating experience into the shopping experience…something that is becoming more common at first-class, progressive food retailers.