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Kotobuki, MacArthur Boulevard - Chef Hisao Abe's Value-Priced Sushi in Palisades

Palisades Japanese Sushi Kamameshi $1.50 Sushi

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#1 hillvalley

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:19 PM

This is a hidden sushi gem in a city crawling with sushi joints. You almost don't want to share it with friends because it could mean that in a restaurant that only seats around 25 you may not be able to get one.

Where else can you find the best scallop around for a dollar a piece and toro for less than $2?

One my first visit I asked if they had natto, fermented soy beans that many Japanese restaurants do not carry. On my third visit the waitress, who remembers me each time I go, mentioned that they had started carrying natto and would I like a roll?

One of the highlights that makes this restaurant so special is the house made soy sauce. This is no Kikoman you are dipping your fish in. Keep in mind though that it is only available if you eat in.

In addition to sushi they also serve eel, chicken and vegetable kamemashi, a Japanese hot pot rice dish served in an iron kettle. One a cold winter day, or cool summer evening, it is perfect. Along with the rice you are served a wonderful assortment of three side dishes, the likes of which you rarely see in a typical Japanese restaurant.

For more information check out their web page.


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#2 DonRocks

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:35 PM

Yeah, I know you all don't want the secret out, but shouldn't the proprietor deserve to make a decent living on his $1 scallop sushi (the best in all of Washington), $1 flounder (the best in all of Washington), ebi, eel, and his $1.75 uni, toro (some of the best in all of Washington), fatty yellowtail (some of the best in all of Washington) and his rolls ranging from $2.55 to $3.00?

How about his cold spilling-over-the-edge sake for $6?

How about why aren't there lines stretching down MacArthur Boulevard at 4:55 PM waiting for this place to open?

Don't let this gem, this charitable endeavor, fall by the wayside from lack of support, my friends. Let Honest Abe get wealthy as he deserves to do. Pump it up. C'mon and chime in.

Kotobuki is the most fairly priced sushi restaurant I've ever seen in my life. It combines the quality of a borderline-upscale sushi-bar with the prices of a dive buffet, and it's empty early in the evenings. Show up early, nod your head in gratitude upon exiting, and tip well.

Don't let this injustice go unattended. Support Kotobuki and spread the word, putting your selfish wants and needs aside while you do so.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#3 mdt

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 08:47 AM

Went for dinner on Friday night after a couple of nice glasses of rose at FF. I wanted to bring this thread to the top and I will sound like a broken record. Wonderfully fresh sushi and great prices. This place will certainly be a recurring theme in my dining out.

#4 Nadya

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 09:21 AM

Kotobuki is a delight, and getting a seat there should be more difficult, especially on a bloomin' Friday night.

(Rocks, the sound you just heard is me pushing my selfish wants and needs aside, and blowing the wee trumpet for the joint.)

The menu is small but well-composed, striking a balance of traditional hot dishes like kamameshi and unadon, and smallish, classical sushi selection that relies on freshness and good cuts of the fish - not silly-daft nonsense of wrapping gorgonzola, Cheetos, bread crumbs and anchovies in seaweed and peddling it to the gullible as, say, a 10.95 "College Park Roll."

My highlights were the scallop and toro nigiri, which shared a fresh, fatty, pure quality that "melting in your mouth" seems too pedestrian to capture. And I applaud casting my favorite eel as a star of the menu - conveniently featured in so many dishes so I can get my fix whatever I order.

This place should be patronized and coddled so it doesn't go away. Please don't give your sushi dollars to a jackass on your block who wants to sell you another crazy concoction that offends the tastebuds and the eye. If you have a car, there really isn't any excuse in not going.

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#5 CrescentFresh

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 09:47 AM

Would Kotobuki work for a $20 Tuesday?
"Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and there's nothing I cannot do." -- Lord Salisbury

#6 Kanishka

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 10:06 AM

Pleasant coincidence -- I went to Kotobuki for the first time Saturday night. I was surprised by how empty the place was, but hey, more for me. Had 2 maki rolls (spicy salmon and tuna/avocado), and the uni, toro, and scallop nigiris. Everything was fresh and delicious. The sea urchin was the highlight -- rich and salty, that "fresh from the ocean" taste you want from a good piece of sushi. The bill? Paltry. Even after a 25% tip I walked out only $20 poorer.

Normally I'm no fan of the Palisades, or of driving for that matter. But if Kotobuki were in Dupont, Penn Quarter, or any other more easily accessible neighborhood, the price tags would be triple and the lines would be blocks long. It might even be worth the possible hour and a half long D6 ride from the Hill... well, maybe. In any case, I'll gladly take my little Honda out of the driveway for a trip back to Kotobuki.

Don't have a car? Kotobuki is a great reason to get Zipcar. For real.

#7 mdt

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 11:19 AM

Would Kotobuki work for a $20 Tuesday?

Yes! Tomorrow?

#8 hillvalley

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 11:24 AM

Sounds like an excellent idea. Let's do the planning here and then reoprt back.

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#9 CrescentFresh

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 09:00 AM

A too small of a handful of us (me, MelGold, mdt) went to Kotobuki for $20 Tuesday and, in fact, it is a great spot for $20-ish. Between the three of us we shared a boatload of sushi and rolls that I found to be very fresh, great texture and flavor, and the temperature of everything was just right. (I hate when the fish slice is freezing cold.)

Two of the standouts for me were the lobster sushi, and an eel california roll. And if there ever was any doubt remaining about mdt and scallops, it's gone.

Service was, well, let's just say it was slow and the opposite of doting.

I'd go back for more. Even if it basically requires a car to get there.
"Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and there's nothing I cannot do." -- Lord Salisbury

#10 TinDC

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 10:34 AM

A too small of a handful of us (me, MelGold, mdt) went to Kotobuki for $20 Tuesday and, in fact, it is a great spot for $20-ish.  Between the three of us we shared a boatload of sushi and rolls that I found to be very fresh, great texture and flavor, and the temperature of everything was just right.  (I hate when the fish slice is freezing cold.) 

Two of the standouts for me were the lobster sushi, and an eel california roll.  And if there ever was any doubt remaining about mdt and scallops, it's gone.

Service was, well, let's just say it was slow and the opposite of doting.

I'd go back for more.  Even if it basically requires a car to get there.


Can you elaborate on the lobster sushi? It sounds great and not on the online menu...

#11 mdt

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 12:35 PM

Can you elaborate on the lobster sushi?  It sounds great and not on the online menu...

It is a dollop of lobster salad (with ginger?) on top of the rice, surrounded by nori. Looks like the uni presentation. I personally found this to be one of my least favorite items.

#12 MelGold

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 01:07 PM

It is a dollop of lobster salad (with ginger?) on top of the rice, surrounded by nori.  Looks like the uni presentation.  I personally found this to be one of my least favorite items.

The lobster was okay - wouldn't recommend it but probably wouldn't discourage sushi partners in the future from ordering it either. If you aren't opposed to mayonnaise in your sushi, you should be fine, but I thought it was a rather bland mixture. The large piece of nori holding it together and the chunks of wasabi floating in my soy sauce helped add flavor & dimension. The eel california roll and the scallop were the highlights of the feast for me - that and the extra salty edamame I started on while waiting for the boys to arrive! :lol:

By the way, never drove slower in my life - thought the guy behind me going down MacArthur was going to blow a gasket!

Edited by MelGold, 30 June 2005 - 01:09 PM.


#13 Kanishka

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 06:29 PM

Thanks to all who recommended the Eel California Roll. I'm not normally a big unagi guy, but now I'm reconsidering. That roll is the bomb!

Went Friday night and it was packed... it looks like the word about this place is getting around. Wonder if that's a good or a bad thing...

One small quibble: is it just me, or is drinking sake out of that little square box totally cumbersome? I don't mind traditional when there's a point, but it seems the retro medieval Japanese wood sake boxes are just a pain. Next time I'll just get an Ichiban.

#14 JimRice

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:44 PM

For those who haven't gotten the eel kamameshi, get it. We went there probably a dozen times before I finally said "No, I won't eat sushi! Well, not all sushi, anyway," and got the eel kamameshi. It's good. The little sides, some of which are on the menu, some of which are not, and the stainless steel pot of eel and rice goodness.

My nephew "Eel Boy" (long story) loves sushi, but given the choice he gets less sushi and the kamameshi rather than all sushi. The only problem is finding enough space on the table for the kamameshi and additional sushi for a 19 year old :P

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#15 CrescentFresh

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:38 PM

One small quibble: is it just me, or is drinking sake out of that little square box totally cumbersome? I don't mind traditional when there's a point, but it seems the retro medieval Japanese wood sake boxes are just a pain. Next time I'll just get an Ichiban.

C'mon. You know you wanna lick the plate! :P
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#16 Kanishka

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:32 PM

C'mon. You know you wanna lick the plate!

Lick, maybe not. But if they gave me a straw...

#17 goldenticket

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:26 AM

I finally made it there on Friday (what time were you there Kanishka?) after reading all of your raves - it WAS packed, but the wait for a table wasn't too long, maybe 10 - 15 minutes. What a great value- the sushi was excellent for a buck a piece, the seaweed salad was really tasty and the service was very good, especially considering the crowd and the small space they have to work in.

The one (and only) disappointment was that they don't have the house-made soy sauce anymore. Does anyone know when/why they stopped making their own? I was hoping it maybe was just a Friday crowd thing, but that didn't appear to be the case when I asked the waitress about it.

Can't wait to try the kamameshi - if I can bear to pass up the sushi...

Followed this up with a delicious stop at the bar at Restaurant Eve on Sat. nite. All in all I'd say it was a pretty good weekend as far as food goes!

Jackie B.

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#18 alan7147

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:29 AM

Stopped by last week and sampled a variety of sushi. Scallop and toro were the highlights. The best part was before tip dinner for two was just under $30.00, talk about a steal.

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#19 Kanishka

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 10:30 AM

I finally made it there on Friday (what time were you there Kanishka?)

I was there around 7:30 ish, corner table, South Asian guy facing outward with a ladyfriend.

Don: should start a DR.com "Missed Dining Connections"

#20 goldenticket

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 10:36 AM

We must have been there at the same time - it was around 8:00 for me, also a corner table (kind of wedged in next to a table of 6 student types), I think you may have been across the room from us (white gal w/guyfriend). Scallops were great - I accidently checked spicy scallop roll instead of spicy tuna, but was glad I made the mistake!

Jackie B.

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Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#21 Joe Riley

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 10:10 PM

So, it's basically right next to Makoto? What an odd contrast.

Makoto, for those who haven't been there, is much more traditional than a lot of Japanese restaurants here. It is very small, and you must remove your shoes before entering. The food is excellent, and some professionals I've spoken about it with have declared Makoto the best Japanese restaurant in D.C. It was certainly good. I'm not a fan of the saké boxes, though.

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#22 hillvalley

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 02:10 PM

Actually it is above Makoto. You have to follow a little winding walkway and then go up a narrow flight of stairs.

It is absolutely criminal that at 7pm last night my friend and I walked in to a completely empty restaurant!!!! There was another 20 minutes before anyone else joined us.

As usual, our meal was wonderful. The white tuna wasn't quite as good as I remember, but hey, everyone has an off day. The uni and ikura, on the other hand, were some of the best I have had in a long time. My love affair with the scallop continued to blossom and grow.

We had 30 piece of sushi including 4 pieces each of toro, ikura and tobiko and 2 of uni. Our bill, including 2 beers and a 20% tip was $65. You cannot find a better deal in the city.

How do you know you're a well-adjusted foodie?-babka
Will schmooz for schmaltz-qwertyy
 
Just keep on smiling-Mrs. Brown

She never promised that life would be easy, but she did promise that if I hung with her the food would be good. -Joan Bauer


...the craving of a Jew for pork, in particular when it has been deep-fried, is a force greater than night or distance or a cold blast off the Gulf of Alaska.
-Michael Chabon


#23 goldenticket

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 08:17 AM

My Kotobuki addiction continues (thanks you to DR'ers!) - went for my (almost) weekly fix on Friday night. It was a little later (maybe 9:30) and it was pretty empty but the sushi was excellent as always. The white tuna is definitely my favorite, with the spicy tuna and avocado roll a close second. The seaweed salad is a nice way to start the meal - tasty and crunchy!

It IS the best deal in the city - we regularly eat far more than should be allowed and our bill is never more than $40 for 2 (w/beers included). Now I'm sitting here wondering when I can make my next trek up there (and I haven't even had my first cup of coffee!)

I tried the kamameshi a few visits ago. I think I'll give it another shot in the winter - it seems like it would be nice and filling on a cold evening. The eel was delicious, but it just seemed a bit dry and not all that interesting - at least with all the great sushi available at the same time.

I noticed the DCist writeup posted on the wall - Kanishka, is that your work? :P

Jackie B.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#24 Kanishka

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 01:57 PM

I noticed the DCist writeup posted on the wall - Kanishka, is that your work?

Yep that was me. I'm very flattered that we actually made a restaurant wall -- that's very cool. What a fantastic place -- I can't wait to get back there some time soon. The prices are practically criminal.

#25 goldenticket

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 03:36 PM

Now I'm sitting here wondering when I can make my next trek up there

Um, that would have been last night...on the way to Constitution Hall - you know, Palisades is RIGHT on the way from Alexandria :wub:
Can you say 'sushi junkie'? I just can't get enough of that white tuna! Tried the yellowfin and avocado roll last night and it was great too.

I kind of like that every time I'm in there the same Beatles album is playing - good music to eat sushi by. (or maybe I should be starting to feel like I'm in a version of the movie "Groundhog Day")

I could have done without the annoying people at the table next to us who kept asking for sparkling water and lime...I don't mind the proximity of my fellow diners except when they're obnoxious :P

The place was packed at 6:45 with people waiting for tables - maybe the secret is spreading!

Jackie B.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#26 Capital Icebox

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 01:32 PM

I lost my Kotobuki virginity today and am now ready to become a full-time sushi harlot. Toro, scallop, hamachi, flounder, lobster and more washed down with a box of cold, smooth sake with its own little bucket of salt for you to shovel onto the rim.

But even after all this and a maki roll, I felt I had missed something, so I asked what that might have been, and was promptly told to get the sea urchin. Seconds later, two small rolls appeared with an orange "tongue" of urchin atop them. The urchin was covered in goo and looked ready to jump out of the roll, so in they went. The flavor was creamy, slightly sweet and had a nice salty ocean taste without being briny. I can't wait to go back and try these again.

Besides the food, I really liked the music -- as it usually is, apparently Beatles were on the box, with a seeming preponderance of Lennon over McCartney, just my style.


Edited for clarity and drama

Edited by Capital Icebox, 01 September 2005 - 01:35 PM.

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#27 johnb

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 08:29 PM

But even after all this and a maki roll, I felt I had missed something, so I asked what that might have been, and was promptly told to get the sea urchin.  Seconds later, two small rolls appeared with an orange "tongue" of urchin atop them.  The urchin was covered in goo and looked ready to jump out of the roll, so in they went.  The flavor was creamy, slightly sweet and had a nice salty ocean taste without being briny.  I can't wait to go back and try these again. 

Sea urchin is just wonderful stuff. I used to go to Chile a lot, and down there you can get a bowlful of them, just them and their juice, for about $5 (probably more now, but c'est la vie). Mix in some chopped onion and greens, and eat them like cereal. Talk about wretched excess! The memory makes me want to get on the next plane.

#28 goldenticket

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:55 PM

I'm almost embarassed to be posting about Kotobuki AGAIN, but just wanted to share some info on a couple of short-term seasonal specials to check out:

Matsutake mushroom kamameshi - wild mushrooms that they'll probably only have for a week or so.

Abalone (at $17 a piece it was a little too rich for my blood tonight)

Ankimo - monkfish liver, steamed and served with very thinly sliced cucumber, a little seaweed and a very delicate sauce (no idea what it was). The waitress encouraged us to get this and we were really glad we did - it was AMAZING! :lol:

Jackie B.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#29 The Doctor

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 09:25 AM

Well, paid my first visit to Kotobuki last night. Since I was the person who made the recommendation to the group, I was charged with discovering the hidden entrance and being the first to wade my way through the sets of red curtains. The Beatles' album "Help!" played in the background. We ended up eating so quickly that I didn't find out whether they'd put another CD on afterwards or just repeat the first one.

The reason for the speedy service was that my party of three was the only one in there the entire time. It was a little early, like 5:45, but by the time we left around 6:30, only one other person came in -- and that was to pick up a carryout order.

They are practically giving the stuff away up there, people! I was amused to see they even advertise "$1 sushi" on the front of the building.

The biggest hits were the lobster sushi and the eel roll. I was also very pleased with the fresh scallop, something I'd never tried in sushi restaurant before. I couldn't remember it was the flounder Don had recommended in an earlier post so I'll have to try that next time. The table even ordered a second round of choices since we were still a little hungry and "it's only a $1!!," as we reasoned.

That same excuse, and the tasty fish, we keep me coming back.

#30 ustreetguy

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 08:53 PM

The reason for the speedy service was that my party of three was the only one in there the entire time. It was a little early, like 5:45, but by the time we left around 6:30, only one other person came in -- and that was to pick up a carryout order.

It really amazes me that this place isn't busier. I decided to stop by on my drive home from work and found myself the only person in there at 6:45. Only one other person came in to pick up a carryout order as I was there. I have to admit it was a little unnerving being stared at while I ate (the staff didn't really have anything to do, and I guess they were just trying to gauge my reactions), but it in no way detracted from the food.

I had the eel kamameshi which was warm and comforting as people have noted earlier and a few extra pieces of nigiri sushi. How can anyone pass up these prices? $1.75 for uni is just a complete steal. The mackerel had a nice texture with just the right amount of oiliness that you come to expect from that fish, and the hamachi glistened and tasted fresh and clean.

There may be places that actually have better pieces of fish, but for the value, this places rises above the rest.
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#31 CrescentFresh

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 09:20 PM

Kotobuki. Lunch. Saturday. It's been a while.

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#32 mdt

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 06:21 AM

It really amazes me that this place isn't busier.  I decided to stop by on my drive home from work and found myself the only person in there at 6:45.  Only one other person came in to pick up a carryout order as I was there.  I have to admit it was a little unnerving being stared at while I ate (the staff didn't really have anything to do, and I guess they were just trying to gauge my reactions), but it in no way detracted from the food.

I had the eel kamameshi which was warm and comforting as people have noted earlier and a few extra pieces of nigiri sushi.  How can anyone pass up these prices?  $1.75 for uni is just a complete steal.  The mackerel had a nice texture with just the right amount of oiliness that you come to expect from that fish, and the hamachi glistened and tasted fresh and clean. 

There may be places that actually have better pieces of fish, but for the value, this places rises above the rest.

I was in last night at about 7:30p and there were 5 others in the place. During dinner there were several take out pick-ups and others coming in to dine. That said, I also cannot believe that there are not more people in this place.

Sushi was just what I wanted last night, some scallop, white tune, and toro, with some other items.

P.S. -- The Beatles are still going, and going, and going...

#33 CrescentFresh

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 05:41 PM

Kotobuki was moderately busy when I had lunch there on Saturday at about 1:30. Four of us, all opting for sushi. Opened, though, with edamame and miso soup. Salty beans. Very nice. Tried the uni again for the first time in years. Now I remember why I don't like uni. Bleah. Nothing wrong with the preparation. I just think it tastes like crap.

Sushi came with Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, etc.
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#34 jjshyne

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 01:10 PM

i absolutely love kotobuki! i went there a couple of weekends ago right after a not so pleasant sushi experience at cafe asia. this is my second time doing this, guilty as charged. but come on i'm sure any kotobuki lover will do the same thing if their friends drag you to cafe asia when your palette has been set to the standard of kotobuki's sushi.

:lol: my favorites:

sushi:
toro
eel
lobster

roll:
rainbow

i usually start with the seaweed salad and of course got to have my miso soup with my sushi!

have you guys tried the green tea mochi? it is one of the best green tea mochi i have ever had. if you are patient enough to let it sit for a bit for the ice cream to thaw, it's just perfect!
--jen

#35 brr

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 08:49 AM

we finally made it here on saturday night - they were busy, but not packed - 4 of us got a table after about a 5 minute wait at 8pm

not much to add, the sushi is really good, we had tuna, faty tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp and a couple of rolls including a humungous rainbow roll

total for 4 people including several beers, several sodas, a couple of small apps and the afoementioned sushi $80 - bargain....

#36 deangold

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:49 AM

OK, so is Kotobuki going to be a mob-scene now?  I'm thinking about going tonight, solo-- I've been before, but can't remember if there's a bar?  Do they do take-out?

We got there about 8pm or maybe a little later. Beatles still on the radio, and no mob scene. Maybe 1/2 full at the most. Had lots of sushi, a few rolls and a kinpira. None of it outstanding (ie up to Kaz or Tako Grill quality) but all of it better than most sushi in town. Got out for $60 for 2 with lots of hot sake. The rice was a little undercooked and under vinagered. But it hit the spot. We needed it and didnt want to shell out the at least twice as much we would spend to go to either of our two favorites!

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#37 TedE

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 11:09 AM

We got there about 8pm or maybe a little later.  Beatles still on the radio, and no mob scene.  Maybe 1/2 full at the most.  Had lots of sushi, a few rolls and a kinpira.  None of it outstanding (ie up to Kaz or Tako Grill quality) but all of it better than most sushi in town.  Got out for $60 for 2 with lots of hot sake.  The rice was a little undercooked and under vinagered.  But it hit the spot.  We needed it and didnt want to shell out the at least twice as much we would spend to go to either of our two favorites!

We were there about the same time. Were you the couple sitting at the bar?

I'm almost glad I don't live within walking distance of this place. Despite the rock bottom prices it would empty my wallet through sheer frequency of visits. The quality of the product was very high considering the price. Everything was ultra fresh and very simply done, not fussed over. I won't even compare this to Kaz because I think they are completely different creatures with divergent goals. Kotobuki does what it does VERY well. We will certainly be back.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#38 deangold

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 03:27 PM

We were there about the same time.  Were you the couple sitting at the bar?

I'm almost glad I don't live within walking distance of this place.  Despite the rock bottom prices it would empty my wallet through sheer frequency of visits.  The quality of the product was very high considering the price.  Everything was ultra fresh and very simply done, not fussed over.  I won't even compare this to Kaz because I think they are completely different creatures with divergent goals.  Kotobuki does what it does VERY well.  We will certainly be back.

That was us.

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1914 Ninth Street NW

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Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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#39 tenunda

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 03:21 PM

That was us.

Was this Thursday night you were there? I was there, too! I was in the the man half of the two people in the NE corner. I was drinking the green tea and finishing my anti-social (ie, she doesn't want to sit next to anyone) roommate's sushi. We had a bunch: tuna roll, spicy tuna roll, and crab stick roll. Nigiri: scallop (unbelievably good), yellowtail, mackerel (the best mackerel I've ever had, usually I don't like it), lobster (more like lobster salad, skip it), sea urchin (echoing Rocks, it's fantastic), and eel (it was good, but i don't like the unagi as a rule). I was disappointed not to see surf clam (hokkigai?) on the menu, as it's my favorite. I wonder if the place will be swamped after the mention in the dining guide. There were only two tables left and the two seats next to deangold and wife (apparently) when I was there.
I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer.

#40 deangold

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 04:24 PM

A DR.Com get together and we didn't know it. We say you shiftig the tables as you sat down!

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

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#41 TedE

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 07:19 PM

A DR.Com get together and we didn't know it.  We say you shiftig the tables as you sat down!

Heh, get together indeed! Dean, we were the couple sitting directly behind you, got there probably a few minutes after you did.

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#42 silentbob

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 03:32 PM

Took my grandmother, aunt, and sister to a late lunch here on Saturday. Finally got to have some of the excellent toro (it was unavailable my first time), which was as good as advertised. I agree that the lobster was blah, but the scallop, mackerel, and spicy tuna roll were as good as always.

Final bill including tax/tip was $76. The room was about half-full. I really hope this place lasts for years and years.

#43 CrescentFresh

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 06:30 PM

Um, hello. My name is CrescentFresh. And I like Kotobuki's lobster.
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#44 V.H.

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:03 PM

We had relatives in town and got takeout from Kotobuki because they love sushi and we wanted to share the wondrous experience that is Kotobuki with them. We ask them what their likes and dislikes are. We get the response, "Nothing raw, only cooked shrimp or crab, and preferably with a hot creamy sauce." Ummm, don't tell people that you LOVE sushi if all you eat is something resembling a tuna melt on vinegared rice. :lol:

#45 V.H.

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:02 AM

We were at Kotobuki this past Friday around 7pm and the place was packed. Orders came out slower than usual due to the sheer number of folks there. When we left, there were about 8 or 9 people standing at the top of the stairs waiting for a table.

Sushi was amazing as usual and we were glad to see that business is picking up.

#46 JLK

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:52 PM

Can anyone confirm that Kotobuki offers gift certificates? I have tried calling and e-mailing them (via the numbers and e-mail addresses posted at the restaurant's site), but haven't been able to get a response.

I will keep calling.

Jennifer


#47 crackers

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 12:26 AM

Another Kotobuki $20 Tuesday under our ever-expanding belts. We were six at the table, with one of us ordering independently. And while we didn’t make it under $20, we certainly could have without the specials, sake, extra toro, and desserts.

This evening was the first raw sushi and sashimi I have eaten in many years so I am no expert. What I can say is that ingredients were absolutely fresh from start to finish. Those of us who arrived first each began with the very traditional sake toast “To Rocks!” plus edamame, seaweed salad, a bowl of beautiful miso soup with clams, and the two special offerings of the evening: shrimp shumai and Ankimo, which is just as Goldenticket described it: steamed monkfish liver pate with a soy vinegar sauce, served in a soup bowl with seaweed and thinly sliced cucumber. The shumai was absolutely the best I’ve had anywhere, including my favorite SF Chinatown dim sum haunts. Large translucent steamed dough cups surrounding the freshest little shrimp in a light shrimp paste, piping hot (as DanielK can attest). We ordered another round, and I would have gone home content after that. But then came the unagi – warm eel sushi, fried bean curd, and the first of two rounds of toro (fatty tuna). I was expecting very thin slices of toro, but these were thicker and I enjoyed how the color faded from deep red to almost white from bottom to top. I wish I had brought the camera out. After some more hot tea and sake, we dove into the next round: lobster sushi, spicy salmon roll and spicy scallop roll. The lobster was rich and creamy, full of large pieces of the meat, and we all especially enjoyed the spicy scallop roll. I was the only one who ordered uni – sea urchin sashimi. I can understand why some would love it, but it didn't make my top ten list. Another order of the lobster was sent for by a couple of us, and we continued with octopus sushi, white tuna sushi, salmon skin roll and eel and avocado roll. Another pause, and we finished up with desserts of green tea ice cream, red bean ice cream and a red bean jelly.

When we arrived around 6:15pm there was one two-top occupied, and when we left two+ hours later, Kotobuki was full. No Beatles music. It was nice meeting new-to-me members, one of whom is about to become a not-so-new ventworm!
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#48 DanielK

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 09:50 AM

Actually, while the volume was pretty low, the Beatles CDs were running the entire evening.

There's nothing really inventive about the menu. Compared to sitting at the bar at Kaz, this simply isn't the same experience. There weren't any rolls beyond the basics - no Baltimore rolls or Everything in the Kitchen but the Sink rolls. There weren't 15 kinds of sake. Other than a few items like miso soup and seaweed salad, there isn't much on the menu other than sushi. No tempura, teriyaki, tonkatsu, etc. The waitress and chef even declined our request for omakase.

But if you want generous portions of well cut fish, pristinely fresh, perfectly seasoned rice, dirt cheap, there is no better place in the DC area.


edited to add: VENTWORM, baby!

Edited by DanielK, 09 November 2005 - 09:51 AM.


#49 goldenticket

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 11:02 AM

there isn't much on the menu other than sushi. No tempura, teriyaki, tonkatsu, etc.

Don't forget about kamameshi! I'm thinking the unagi version is going to be just right as we move into some cooler fall weather.

Sorry I couldn't be there, but it sounds like you tried all [or most :lol: ] of my favorites - including those shumai, which as Crackers said, are fantastic!

Jackie B.

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#50 Lydia R

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 04:08 PM

But if you want generous portions of well cut fish, pristinely fresh, perfectly seasoned rice, dirt cheap, there is no better place in the DC area.

I agree with the other Tuesday diners. Of note, their hot tea was very smooth - the waitress said that it was green tea with roasted rice.

New place to escape traffic and refresh the soul - just watch out for the missing mortar in the poorly-lit flagstone patio on the way in (entryway is nowhere near ADA compliant), but one you reach the top of the narrow stairs - heaven.

"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 






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