This Guy Made a Knife Out of The World's Hardest Food
1. Sushi Express1990 K St NW, Washington
2. Kintaro1039 33rd St NW, Washington
3. Sushi Capitol325 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington
4. Zentan1155 14th St NW, Washington
5. Daikaya705 6th St NW, Washington
6. Kaz Sushi Bistro1915 I St NW, Washington
7. Sushiko5455 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase
8. Makoto Restaurant4822 MacArthur Blvd NW, Washington
9. Izakaya Seki1117 V St NW, Washington
10. Sushi Taro1503 17th St NW, Washington
Step into Sushi Express, tucked into a K St office building, and you’re instantly transported to the kind of place where you’d pick up a bento box before boarding a bullet train in Japan. Chef Yoshifumi Yasuoka’s been at this for 30 years, and he’ll remember your order after one visit.
Consider Kintaro you escape from the throngs of tourists that fill Georgetown. Another plus: the prices here are some of the most affordable in town. Cheap eats on this tiny restaurant's simple menu span several tiers of the Japanese food pyramid: sushi, ramen, and donburi. A crowd-pleaser is the Chirashi sushi, a beautifully plated treasure trove of sashimi on a bed of rice, served with a soup and salad.
This tiny D.C. restaurant is serving sushi for purists. Resistant to ingredient-heavy inventive house rolls, or chicken yakatori appetizers, this place is notorious for plating up some remarkably tasty raw seafood, where the chef's minimal (but brilliant) technique is overshadowed only by the exceptional quality of the ingredients themselves. The sleek, waterfront eatery offers a full menu of things like fatty cuts of bluefin belly, or San Diego bay live urchins, and the nigiri-style sushi is largely uncomplicated -- potent fish, brushed with a fine layer of sweet house nikiri sauce. The chef serves tuna and salmon flights, allowing guests a little taste of all the tastiest cuts, and an unrivaled omakase-tasting menu, only available at the bar-- it's just about the closest you can get to a Jiro-like dining experience anywhere for 50$.
From a Hong Kong-raised Iron Chef-contender who's built his rep on a slew of Toronto fooderies, Zentan's a sleek, slate-tiled, cross-Asian dining hall ornamented with finished black tables and hanging, razor-like pallets of faux-candles.
Don’t let the wait for this Chinatown ramen shop deter you: it’s more than worth it for the chewy noodles imported from Japan and the chicken, pork, and beef Chintan stock that’s cooked over 16 hours for extra richness. An unsuspecting standout among the Sapporo-style ramen on offer is the vegan version topped with Brussels sprouts, snow peas, carrots, and braised shiitake mushrooms. As if the ramen didn’t already, Daikaya’s wooden accents, dangling lightbulbs, and blue- and yellow-striped walls will have you feeling warm and cozy.
Downtown's Kaz has been slinging sushi rolls to DC's political elites since 1999 -- no surprise, given its walking distance from The White House. Its minimally decorated space is great for dates because most of its tables seat two directly across from one another, making for top-notch one-on-one time. The food ain't bad either (ok, that's a serious understatement): modern takes on Japanese sushi rolls with snapper, yellowtail, and the like are matched with plates of steaming hot steaks and vegetables.
Sushiko’s been slicing raw fish since the '70s, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant is without new tricks like cherry-wood-smoked Tasmanian ocean trout tartare dotted with goat cheese. And the $90 chef’s tasting menu, served at the sushi bar, alternates between the kitchen and the sushi bar for nine whole courses. The front-and-center seat gives tasters a prime spot to watch chefs envelop tongues of uni with dashi gelée.
Makoto is Serious, tranquil, and bossy in the best possible way. Get past the rules designed to make Americans behave better during the meal (silenced cell phones, slippers, business-casual duds) and put your lunch or dinner in the hands of the chef. An omakase (chef’s choice) tasting menu is the only option. The parade of courses will take you through raw things, grilled things, fried things, and beyond. Expect to be told how to eat each bite and take heed.
Izakaya Seki is authentic Japanese grub that goes way beyond sushi and sashimi. In this two story eatery, you can watch the chef prepare dishes like beef tongue with yuzu miso and serve it right to you at the bar or head to the upstairs and sample all of the 25 sakes.