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Izakaya Seki, U Street Corridor - Chef Hiroshi Seki and GM Cizuka Seki on 11th and V Streets

U Street Corridor Shaw Japanese Izakaya Sashimi Sake

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#101 Marty L.

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:55 AM

Head's up -- Seki is serving a 21-item osechi box for New Year's Eve (until midnight, I believe), that is said to be enough for two people, perhaps even more if slightly supplemented by regular menu items.  $110, which is approximately one-third of the price of the osechi box at Taro (http://www.sushitaro...poster_2014.pdf) (which I'm sure will also be great, but way out of my price range).

 

If I didn't have longstanding dinner plans, I'd definitely be there!  If you go, please report back here.

 

Happy New Year, Cizuka and Hiroshi!

 

Bumping up, for those of you who still don't have plans for this evening . . . and to welcome Seki to its well-deserved third page!   B)


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#102 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:43 PM

What a pleasant little gem of a place to just go and take a meal.  Especially the sashimi.  I don't know where the shellfish came from, but the cuttlefish was almost obscenely creamy, and you needed to make yourself slow down to enjoy the tender slices of octopus - it was full of flavor that just kept giving and giving.

 

Bonus points for the background music, an eclectic mix of mostly '70s and '80s that included Beatles, Zep, Talking Heads.


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#103 Cizuka Seki

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 05:15 PM

Bonus points for the background music, an eclectic mix of mostly '70s and '80s that included Beatles, Zep, Talking Heads.

 

Its about time someone appreciated my taste in music. Haha!


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#104 turbogrrl

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 08:23 PM

Its about time someone appreciated my taste in music. Haha!


I have been appreciating your taste in music every time I go!! But invariably I get distracted by the food...
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i don't cook. why should i?
(the stove is broken; the city is at my doorstep)


#105 Cizuka Seki

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:30 PM

WE ARE OPEN TONIGHT FROM 5-9PM.  IF YOU ARE HUNGRY, WE WILL FEED YOU.

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#106 jasonc

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

deft photoshop work.


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#107 turbogrrl

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:37 AM

The little fried baby Cthulhu on the specials menu, sprinkled with cracked pepper, are magical. I've never found an Elder God so delicious and adorable. eldergods.jpg

 

I'm also enjoying the eel and cucumber, even more so because Nick and I carefully split the eel evenly between us but he only takes one or two of the cucumber. Mine. All mine!

 

Last night we were seated at the bar next to a couple (and their adorable daughter!) who first started going to Mr. Seki's restaurant in St. Louis when they were dating in the early 90s. They had been heartbroken when he vanished, and very very happy to find him again.


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#108 eatruneat

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 05:03 PM

When people ask me what my favorite restaurant in DC is, I usually reply, "There are so many good places, I can't pick a favorite. It really depends on my mood." But if you looked at my dining calendar, you would probably think my favorite restaurant is Izakaya Seki. And I think it is too.

 

My boyfriend and I went to Izakaya Seki on Friday evening to celebrate one year of dating. The wait was only 20 minutes before we were seated on the lower level. We ordered a plate of sashimi with an additional order of toro because we can't get enough raw fish at this place. I really want to do one dinner here with just sashimi and cured fish but I can't help but ordering the cooked food as well. We added to our order with my boyfriend's favorite item, the taka wasa, a trio of vegetables (how is the spinach so much better than all other spinaches?), and the fried baby octopus above. We have ordered the octopus many times before but this time, Chef Seki garnished it with a baby crab (not alive) which was very cute and playful. We thought it was so great we took the crab home with us to have around until it starts deteriorating. Since we were sitting right in front of Chef Seki, we asked for his a recommendation and he enthusiastically told us to order the aji tataki (Spanish Mackerel served raw and then deep fried) and we are so glad we did. The fish comes out whole with cuts in the belly and served with herbs and ginger. We ate as much raw fish as we could pick with our chopsticks. Then the fish was taken away, deep fried, and brought back to us, at which point we ate the rest of the fish except for the head (though we tried to get as much flesh as possible from the cheeks) and the tail. It was excellent. Finally, we also ordered the chicken meatball, another favorite. I just wish there was still the option of the egg yolk to dip it in.

 

My boyfriend and I have eaten at either Daikaya Izakaya or Izakaya Seki three out of the last five weekends. There is something to be said that neither of us have thought twice about going to either of the places on such a regular basis. Either the restaurants are darn delicious and fun or we are izakaya fiends.


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#109 turbogrrl

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:53 PM

Nothing drives home the fact that I want to eat here once a week like looking at a calendar and remembering that Seki is closed through the 8th. To make up for that I went twice last week, but still.

 

They've made a change to the chicken kara-age: it's now served with a dashi rather than the garlic puree. I can understand wanting to make it lighter for summer but I miss the delicious garlic. I can make up for this slightly by ordering the tuna tataki, which for the last couple of months has been served with fried garlic chips, which are addictive. And in this hot weather I'm loving the cold soba; it's great to share, as everyone gets their own little dipping sauce.

 

Right. I can hold out a week.


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i don't cook. why should i?
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#110 Cizuka Seki

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 03:16 PM

Nothing drives home the fact that I want to eat here once a week like looking at a calendar and remembering that Seki is closed through the 8th. To make up for that I went twice last week, but still.
 
They've made a change to the chicken kara-age: it's now served with a dashi rather than the garlic puree. I can understand wanting to make it lighter for summer but I miss the delicious garlic. I can make up for this slightly by ordering the tuna tataki, which for the last couple of months has been served with fried garlic chips, which are addictive. And in this hot weather I'm loving the cold soba; it's great to share, as everyone gets their own little dipping sauce.
 
Right. I can hold out a week.


Jen, thank you for the kind words and your patience! We're back tomorrow from a much needed rest....although my version of "rest" was working as a stage in Tokyo :-)
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#111 mdt

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 08:13 AM

Went on Sunday at sat at the bar downstairs. While watching the food being prepared and going out we decided on the large sashimi plate from the specials menu and were not disappointed. That along with the mushroom plate and some sake made for a terrific dinner. Every time we go we wonder why we wait so long between visits.


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#112 dinoue

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 11:06 AM

Went without the kids for the first time last week Friday close to 11:00 at night after a friend's birthday party. Unfortunately for us, restaurant was packed so we still had to sit at a table. Great sashimi platter with generous slices of toro and what  I assume was buri (fatty hamachi). Also had a a wonderful aji tataki with both green onion and shiso. Rouget karaage was also great where the whole fish is eaten. Waiting for them to start serving whole sparrow on a stick like I ate in Japan when my classmates thought it would be fun to get the exchange student drunk and start feeding him all the weirdest things on the menu. Seriously, where Seki continues to shine is doing a "simple" seasonal menu and doing everything very well.


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#113 turbogrrl

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:53 PM

Braved the cold tonight for some fantastic dishes at Seki: fried baby octopus, an amazing made-to-order omelet, aji tataki, ara yaki, a salmon roe rice ball, and a glass of the Nikka Coffey Grain whiskey.

 

Also, the soundtrack tonight was kickin. <3


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i don't cook. why should i?
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#114 dinoue

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 10:48 PM

I think it's worth mentioning that Seki is now serving a different draft from the traditional Sapporo which is much better. I forget exactly what the name of it was, reserve? Perhaps Cizuka-san can chime in?

 

Food was fantastic as always, now two years in a row that our daughter has chosen Seki for her birthday dinner. 


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#115 Tweaked

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 10:51 PM

I guess its tough to call Seki my new favorite restaurant in DC. After all they have been open for a couple of years now. But damn this place is good. Like, close your eyes, point at something random and it will be good, good.

Breaded pork belly on skewers, grilled mackerel, spinach in a miso dressing, fried chicken, rice balls, fried sardines, soba noodles. All damn tasty.
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#116 darkstar965

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 11:24 PM

I guess its tough to call Seki my new favorite restaurant in DC. After all they have been open for over a year and more. But damn this place is good. Like, close your eyes, point at something random and it will be good, good.
Breaded pork belly on skewers, grilled mackerel, spinach in a miso dressing, fried chicken, rice balls, fried sardines, soba noodles. All damn tasty.

For those out at restaurants even semi-regularly, it's hard (and unnecessary) to post here about all meals out. Don't want to repeat something already posted, etc. But, those issues aside, there sometimes are posts I do intend to make but then can't or don't get to it soon enough. With too much time lag, the specific dish recollections fade.

Such is my lot with a meal we had at Seki maybe three months ago. We took some friends not very familiar with Japanese cuisine to thank them for help they'd given us.

The pork belly skewers and spinach dishes Tweaked had, we had also. Beyond that and a few sushi courses that were absolutely fantastic, I can't remember the specifics.

That said, I'll sleep better now having made this post just to share that:

- Cizuka took care of us so hospitably and expertly, the memory of that remains vivid
- The food was outstanding; virtually every course of the tasting menu Cizuka suggested
- The value was eyebrow raising. Can't remember what we paid but, for what we had, it seemed unfair to the restaurant.

We don't get here often enough. It's a truly wonderful and incredibly special place. Our friends, not at all prone to hyperbole, raved about it and that's no exaggeration. We've been maybe 10-12 times over the few (or several?) years they've been open but that December dinner was the most recent.

If you've never been, go. If it's been a long time, go back. If you get lucky enough to have Cizuka as your server, trust in her fully and let her guide you. Be forewarned if you don't know her and don't ask, she probably won't even tell you she is an owner just taking care of your table.

That is all. And, thank you Cizuka! You, your father and your Izakaya are awesome!
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#117 Marty L.

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 11:02 AM

Concur with every word Darkstar (and tweaked) have written, except one:  Chef Seki doesn't serve sushi!  (He once explained to me that although he served it at his St. Louis restaurant, he thinks it should be reserved for those, unlike himself, who have put in the many years necessary to learn the skill; and so, at a place like Seki, where the market does not demand sushi, he doesn't serve it.)  Sashimi, on the other hand, well . . . it's hard to find better in town than Chef Seki's.

 

For those out at restaurants even semi-regularly, it's hard (and unnecessary) to post here about all meals out. Don't want to repeat something already posted, etc. But, those issues aside, there sometimes are posts I do intend to make but then can't or don't get to it soon enough. With too much time lag, the specific dish recollections fade.

Such is my lot with a meal we had at Seki maybe three months ago. We took some friends not very familiar with Japanese cuisine to thank them for help they'd given us.

The pork belly skewers and spinach dishes Tweaked had, we had also. Beyond that and a few sushi courses that were absolutely fantastic, I can't remember the specifics.

That said, I'll sleep better now having made this post just to share that:

- Cizuka took care of us so hospitably and expertly, the memory of that remains vivid
- The food was outstanding; virtually every course of the tasting menu Cizuka suggested
- The value was eyebrow raising. Can't remember what we paid but, for what we had, it seemed unfair to the restaurant.

We don't get here often enough. It's a truly wonderful and incredibly special place. Our friends, not at all prone to hyperbole, raved about it and that's no exaggeration. We've been maybe 10-12 times over the few (or several?) years they've been open but that December dinner was the most recent.

If you've never been, go. If it's been a long time, go back. If you get lucky enough to have Cizuka as your server, trust in her fully and let her guide you. Be forewarned if you don't know her and don't ask, she probably won't even tell you she is an owner just taking care of your table.

That is all. And, thank you Cizuka! You, your father and your Izakaya are awesome!


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#118 darkstar965

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 01:14 PM

Concur with every word Darkstar (and tweaked) have written, except one:  Chef Seki doesn't serve sushi!  (He once explained to me that although he served it at his St. Louis restaurant, he thinks it should be reserved for those, unlike himself, who have put in the many years necessary to learn the skill; and so, at a place like Seki, where the market does not demand sushi, he doesn't serve it.)  Sashimi, on the other hand, well . . . it's hard to find better in town than Chef Seki's.

 

Indeed!  My mistake, Marty.  And, I know better.  Thanks for the correction. 



#119 RWBooneJr.

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 08:43 AM

"Every Last Bit" by Mark Bittman on nytimes.com



#120 Marty L.

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 09:56 AM

"Every Last Bit" by Mark Bittman on nytimes.com

 

Crap.  Now the ara will run out much earlier.  Damn you, Bittman!


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#121 Cizuka Seki

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:16 AM

Crap.  Now the ara will run out much earlier.  Damn you, Bittman!


haha. i was just going to send this to you. you're not the only one to recognize the awesomeness of this dish!
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#122 Tweaked

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:30 AM

“What’s this?” I asked on my first visit to Seki, an unassuming izakaya — a Japanese bar with food — in a quiet corner of Washington."

 

A quiet corner of Washington?  Ok, V street itself isn't exactly hopping, but you are like one block away from a, if not the, center of DC nightlife.  It's not like you are eating in Van Ness...now that neighborhood is quiet (other than construction noise and traffic). 

 

Otherwise it's a good article...congrats Cizuka!


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#123 eatruneat

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:16 PM

It's not just the ara yaki on the menu, the last time I went to Izakaya Seki, I ate the body of a large prawn from a plate of sashimi, sucked out the brains, and left the crunchy head on my plate. Our waitress noticed and asked if I'd like the kitchen to deep fry the head. Of course! So the shrimp head was taken away and brought back to me perfectly deep fried, crispy, and crunchy like a potato chip. A revelation! 


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#124 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:07 PM

It's not just the ara yaki on the menu, the last time I went to Izakaya Seki, I ate the body of a large prawn from a plate of sashimi, sucked out the brains, and left the crunchy head on my plate. Our waitress noticed and asked if I'd like the kitchen to deep fry the head. Of course! So the shrimp head was taken away and brought back to me perfectly deep fried, crispy, and crunchy like a potato chip. A revelation!

 

I'm glad you like the tomalley.



#125 Tweaked

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 10:34 AM

Another tasty meal at Seki, on what appeared to be a quiet Thursday night at the izakaya.

 

Highlights included:

Pork belly on a stick (we ordered it twice)

Saba (Spanish mackerel)

Fried smelt

Fried sardines (whoever is frying the tasty little fishes is doing a great job)

Mushrooms in a buttery sauce (can't remember what else was in the sauce)

Spinach with miso

The three different rice balls we ordered (salmon, cod roe, salmon roe)

Their various pickled vegetable are also very good.

 

Love this place! 


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#126 Bart

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:03 AM

I've been meaning to ask this for a couple of weeks and I've been meaning to eat here for a couple of years(!)

Is the ara yaki on the menu all the time (or ever)? Or is it the second half of another dish you order? I haven't seen it listed on the menu and when I go there (in the next couple of weeks....fingers crossed!) I definitely want to get it.

#127 Tweaked

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:16 AM

Last night it was listed on the separate "today's specials" menu.  Although they were out of it (or didn't have it) when we arrived at 7pm.  Probably best to PM Cizuka to figure out when is the best time to go in order to get it.     


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#128 Cizuka Seki

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:39 AM

sorry i wasn't there to say hi! i'm in japan for a month doing a stage.

the ara yaki dish is not a regular item because it's dependent on the sashimi we get in. you're always welcome to shoot us an email or call if you want to come in
specifically to try it.
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#129 dinoue

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 02:50 PM

Must have been Don Rockwell night at Seki. We were there as well, and apparently at the same table one after the other.

 

Arrived pretty early in the evening and there was just one person at the counter, one of those times I wish we didn't have the kids with us. 

 

Arrived during happy hour so enjoyed the beer with tuna tataki and cauliflower to start. This has got to be one of the best happy hour deals in the city.

 

Then came the continuous parade of food.

 

Started with one of the specials, a cold squid salad which was really nice. Kids insisted it was too spicy which I could not detect at all. I think they call anything they don't like spicy because they know it will get them out of having to eat it.

 

Next out was the fried baby octopus which they inhaled as did we so we ordered another one right away. Got an assortment of vegetable dishes, the spinach, beets, and cucumbers. Seasoning was a little light on the cucumbers. 

 

Matsu sashimi assortment included chu toro, hamachi, some sort of snapper I think, octopus, salmon, one amaebi and one oyster. All of it was fresh and delicious. Toro was perfect.

 

Agedashi tofu was eaten by others at the table, mostly the kids.

 

Finished off with the grilled fish, hamachi kama and saba. Daughter pretty much ate one of the two hamachi kama herself. Both were very good.

 

Finished with dessert of mochi and yuzu sorbet. 



#130 Bart

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 07:53 AM

sorry i wasn't there to say hi! i'm in japan for a month doing a stage.

the ara yaki dish is not a regular item because it's dependent on the sashimi we get in. you're always welcome to shoot us an email or call if you want to come in
specifically to try it.

 

Thanks for the info.  When will you be back in DC?  I feel like I shouldn't go until my Don-Rockwell-friend-I've-never-met is back in the house!!  







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