Sala Thai rebrands as Toku Japanese and Asian Cuisine on U Street

1301 U Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I called Sala Thai on U Street to place a pickup order of my favorite dish but the answered the phone with a different business name, not Sala Thai! They explained that they changed their name and only have a limited number of their Thai plates available. Luckily they said that they can still make my favorite chicken with pineapple dish but why the change?!”

Toku’s website says:

“We are serving traditional sushi, Japanese food, also some asian foods and beyond. We never stop developing for the better food solution for our customer. Try our signature sushi, special dishes from kitchen, or some fantastic asian foods. What do we have?

+ Happy Hours everyday from 4:00pm until 7:30pm


+ $1 per piece nigiri sushi from 12:00pm until 7:00pm

(Saturday and Sunday)

+ Signature Rolls and Monthly specials Only at TOKU

+ Delivery available lunch and dinner every day!!

+ Mothly special premium sake

+ Variety of sake that perfect for you

+ Japanese and domestic beer ready to serve every night”

Check out the menu after the jump.


Check out pictures and all their menus here as well.


18 Comment

  • Interesting. I hope this doesn’t mean that their other D.C. branches are going to follow suit.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    The menu looks great – especially the roll specials. If we had a happy hour here, I would come!

  • So–will it be mediocre Japanese instead of mediocre Thai.

  • The U Street location is no longer listed on the Sala Thai website, so perhaps it was sold off to a new owner.

    • I asked the guys at Sala Thai in Petworth, and that’s what happened. Not a rebrand — the new folks just kept the Sala Thai name and menu after they took over — probably back in June. They’ve also kept the phone number, just in case you’ve got them on speed dial.

      Too bad that folks think Sala Thai is mediocre. Have loved them since they opened on U Street. Try talking to your waiter — if you want something “Thailand hot,” they’ll gladly do it for you.

  • I’ve never been a fan of the Sala Thai in Park Place above the Petworth Metro. It’s mediocre that… at best. I also hope they change. I live within a few blocks. Went one time and I’ll neve go back. A good truly restaurant there would kill it — especially with all the commuter foot traffic.

    • Agree. Live in Park Place and have had it delivered a couple of times. Mediocre at best.

    • I’ve never understood the pooh-poohing of Sala Thai; I’ve always thought the one at Park Place was reasonably good. Initially, this was a pleasant surprise, because the one time I’d tried the U Street location I’d been unimpressed.

      • The problem is that DC has some of the best Thai options in the nation… Sala Thai doesn’t hold a candle to any of them… Beau Thai (they deliver too!), Thip Khao (more Northern Thai/Laotian), Baan Thai or Thai X-ing. Certainly not even close to Nava Thai or Ruan Thai in Wheaton.

        • Beau Thai, Thip Khao, and Thai X-ing (I’m less knowledgeable about the others) are comparatively new and more upscale. I think Sala Thai does a good job in its price bracket.

    • I went to the Sala Thai in Petworth when it was brand new, and it was the worst dining experience I’ve had in DC. To say that the staff was rude would be an understatement. It was my birthday, we were super tired, and there weren’t many other options in the hood. It was 90% empty, but I’d been to the U street location and though the food was nothing special, it was fine. After we were seated, the waiter straight up just ignored us. She walked by us several times, bussed some tables, folded napkins, etc. We waived her down (with the help of another table) and she seemed annoyed. The whole meal was like that. Took forever to get food, it was cold, etc. The icing on the cake was they forgot the appetizer and we had to argue w/ her to get them take it off of the bill. We asked for the manager and they said he wasn’t there. It was so bad that a group of guys at another table admonished my boyfriend for letting them treat us so terribly (which is absurd, but at the time, I at least found it reassuring that we weren’t imagining it). Looking back, I know that we should’ve left, but i think we were just confused, hungry and tired. To this day, I still don’t know why they treated us with such hostility, and I don’t really care. I just know I’ll never go back.

    • I just want to echo that Sala Thai in Petworth/Park View is horrible. Zabver, Beau Thai, Teak Wood, Regent Thai all deliver and are significantly better.

  • I will miss Sala Thai U St. We learned of the forthcoming change back in August when our charge receipts had the Toku name printed on them.

    No, the food was not spectacular, and it certainly did not compare favorably with the more interesting and vigorously seasoned Thai fare available a few blocks away at Baan Thai or downtown at Soi 38. And I found the lukewarm and unseasoned broccoli that accompanied most main dishes annoying. But Thai dishes were respectable (particularly after Sala Thai reversed its trend towards excessive sweetness that characterized the first few years of the U St. location) and the Penang curry was very good. (The less said about the sushi selections the better).

    But it was good to have a restaurant that was a 5 minute walk from our house where we could be seated reasonably comfortably and served courteously (by an ever-changing array of servers who never seemed to remember who we were, although we visited about once a month) in a room that was not overly noisy (in recent visits, probably too quiet given the lack of customers) at a moderate price and be out within an hour. Which all explains why Sala Thai U St., if hardly our favorite restaurant, was the one we patronized most frequently.

    • I suspect one would have to visit a restaurant more than once a month to be remembered in a bustling central neighborhood like U Street.

  • The Sala Thai by the Rhode Island Ave Metro is fantastic. I agree the other locations were nothing special but you guys should really check out the RI Ave one. Really interesting dishes with fresh ingredients. We’re there a few times a month (which is frequent for us).

    • Definitely true about the RI Ave location. Their catfish pad phed is incredible, and not a dish that shows up all that often on menus.

      • I couldn’t agree more regarding the Rhode Island Row/Brentwood location. Everything I’ve gotten has always been delicious!