Bury yourself in Donburi

Tysons II restaurant features a unique combination of flavors


Ally Liu

A classic karaagedon (soy sauce marinated fried chicken) sits on top and a classic mix katsudon (combination of chicken and shrimp) sits at the bottom. The cup contains barley tea.

Ally Liu, Copy Editor

When thinking of Tysons II (Tysons Galleria), images of glass chandeliers, expensive brands, and snobby rich people may come to mind. While that may or may not be true, I found a unique dining experience there at Donburi, in Urbanspace on the third floor. 

Roughly translated to “large bowl” in Japanese, Donburi features several combinations of rice and toppings. It has only three locations (all near D.C.)—Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, and, of course, Tysons Corner Galleria Mall. In Tysons, Donburi opens from 11 am to 9 pm during the week and 11 am to 6 pm on Sundays. 

At the time I went (Saturday evening), there was virtually no line. Service was also fast. You look at the menu, give your order, and sit down at one of the many tables in Urbanspace while waiting. The pager vibrates when your order is ready. When you’re done with your meal, you can leave it on the table to be cleaned up. 

For drinks, there were two dispensers on the counter: one for water, and one for barley tea. Both have ice. Surprisingly, the barley tea’s bitter flavor was reminiscent of ashes from a fire. 

One shortcoming of Donburi is the menu—there were only 18 dishes and 3 drinks, and some dishes were variations of each other. For example, the Karaagedon, Ebi Katsudon, and Mix Katsudon were repeated in the Classic Donburi and the Japanese curry sections of the menu. The only difference was the flavoring—curry or donburi sauce. I consulted the website, and this appears true for Donburi’s other locations. 

I got the Karaagedon from the Classic Donburi section in the menu. In terms of portion size, the Karaagedon was very manageable. Unlike some other restaurants that I’ve been too, Donburi does not overwhelm you with oversized portions. 

The donburi is served in a dark bowl. The fried chicken pieces are grouped on top of the moist rice, with an artistic drizzle of donburi sauce and thin strips of seaweed to garnish. In addition to looking tasty, Donburi’s presentation is also strategic—the flavors of the savory chicken and sauces drip down into the rice. 

The crunchy outside of the chicken was well-paired with the tender inside. 

By far, the most unique thing about Donburi is the flavor. The creamy orange donburi sauce supplied the expected salty and sweet, which was accentuated by the seaweed garnish, the soy sauce absorbed by the rice, and the egg, which was on the border of fried and scrambled. 

There were also red and yellow root vegetables that were special in both the bitter undertones and the texture, which can be best described as a wet crunch. 

However, if the bitterness makes you hesitant, don’t fret. The flavors I encountered were warm and mild, suitable for any kind of taster. The slightly stronger flavor of the roots can also be paired with the chicken and rice for an interesting combination. 

Although lacking in variety, Donburi redeems itself with unique flavor combinations. Bitterness is a rare flavor to encounter, and this restaurant wielded it well. 

Rating: A-