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Found 142 results

  1. I ate here tonight based on Tim Carman's enthusiastic review and was very disappointed (Carman, you've misled for me for the last time...). The Akira Ramen (tonkatsu broth, with a couple thin slices of chasu, veggies, fish cake, and half an egg) was deeply mediocre. The broth, thin and bland, had little discernible pork flavor and mainly served as a carrier for the bitter char of the chasu. The curly noodles were little to write home about (or wax poetic about in the Post). Overall, a nothing bowl of ramen. I ordered the grilled yellowtail collar as an appetizer, was told it'd take 15 to 20 minutes, so asked for it to come out before the ramen. After about 25 minutes, the ramen came out first, and the yellowtail a few minutes later. The fish was moist and nicely grilled, but it won't bring me back on its own. Sitting at the bar, you could see bowls of ramen being plated sluggishly by an inexperienced kitchen staff -- nothing like the well-oiled machine at Daikaya.
  2. While we wait for our moving truck to arrive, we are staying with family in Memorial, in the Western part of Houston. The whole family, 2 small kids in tow, had dinner at Izaykaya Wa on Memorial Dr. last night. I luckily called ahead and made a reservation, as it was packed to the gills with a boisterous group of drinkers/noshers when we arrived. This is a true Izakaya, being a great place to throw down a few beers and munch on yakitori and kushiage. It reminded Cristina and I of our old NYC haunt, Village Yokocho. We shared a number of things, mainly standards (edamame, vegetable tempura, takoyaki, seaweed salad). All were done well, especially the takoyaki, which were thankfully not drowning in Kewpie mayo. The chirashi and special rolls we shared were fine for a place that is not focussed on sushi. Chicken skin and chicken thigh skewers were nicely grilled, the skin deliciously crispy and salty. A whole grilled squid served alongside grilled slices of jalapeño (we are in TX after all) was mildly flavored and a bit too chewy...the only real miss of the night. Everything was washed down with several rounds of Asahi and Sapporo, and thankfully the exuberance of our fellow diners drowned out any squeals of protestation from our smaller dining companions.
  3. "No Peeking!" That's what it says on the bright orange envelope I was handed at Sushi-Zen as I picked up my carryout Vegetarian Sushi ($9.49) lunch special. I've been to Sushi-Zen a couple times in the past, and have never cared for either the fish or the sushi rice. Again, I didn't like the rice, but I was pretty taken by the artful carryout presentation of the (tired-looking but well-cut and colorful) vegetables, about six or seven different types. Visually, it was a really nice effort by the sushi chef. Back to the orange envelope. "Come back to Sushi-Zen November 1st through November 30th, and bring this envelope UNOPENED [in big, bold letters] to receive one of five secret prizes. Envelope needs to be opened in front of your server to be valid." * A $50 Gift Certificate * 25% off your bill * $3.50 off your bill * A free appetizer value up to $7.00 * A free dessert My envelope remains unopened. However, a close scrutiny under bright sunlight reveals that I have a free appetizer (value up to $7.00) coming my way in November, should I wish to go back. Cheers, Rocks.
  4. "The Trump International Hotel's Next Restaurant Will Be Sushi Nakazawa" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com If only this were not in the Trump hotel. They are trying to distance themselves from Trump though.
  5. In case someone's really dying for Ramen in NoVa and can't drive to DC/MD for their fix, Tanpopo is now open. Some photos are on Yelp. A hand written message regarding their hours indicate that they open at 11:30 Tuesday to Sunday. For the avoidance of doubt, they're closed on Monday. The same hand scribbled message states they're only serving ramen and a few appetizers at this point.
  6. My uncle's wife and her friend were in town for a visit and wanted to meet up with @MichaelBDC and me for dinner. They requested sushi but our #1 place, Sushi Ogawa, was booked and not knowing their budget, we decided not to push our luck with Sushi Taro. I ended up booking Sushi Gakyu after reading Tim Carman's review in the Washington Post. I used to walk by there everyday when I worked in the area, almost willing it to open, so I was very excited to finally be able to check the place out. When I made our reservations, I indicated that the four of us would like to sit at the counter and order omakase. The day of, the restaurant called to confirm our reservation and asked if we would like the $100 omakase option or $150 omakase option. As one could guess, the higher price meant more and higher quality fish. I selected the $100 omakase option but mentioned that we may order more if we were still hungry. We arrived right at 7:30pm to a mostly empty restaurant and our dining partners already seated at the counter. We would be the only ones at the counter the entire evening though there were 3-4 other tables seated and we did overhear one of the servers mention something about a party upstairs (perhaps Sushi Gakyu was catering it). Within five minutes of sitting down, we realized we were in for a treat. One of our dining partners was speaking in Japanese to Chef Ota and she insisted on ordering a bottle of sake from the "featured sake" list rather than the regular one. We started off with a bottle of Kotsuzumi "bloom on the Path" Junmai Daiginjo. It was so smooth and clear. We started with a refreshing salad of tomato, cucumber, seaweed, and dashi jelly. We also ordered edamame. That was followed by fried salmon cheek which was very good. Sashimi of sea bass with ponzu came next. Then came a taste of fugu/puffer fish (though I forget what part of the fish we got). A second bottle of sake. Four different slices of salmon nigiri. Three different pieces of tuna nigiri. Nigiri of seared prawn, raw scallop, and raw prawn was next. Finally, eel and a sweetened omelet. That was supposed to be the end, but we added small bites of uni from Maine and California as well as a little marinated squid. It was all fantastic. My only quibble with the meal is that the rice seemed a bit dry or undercooked, but the variety of the fish really made up for that. Our dining companions picked up the bill so the real price of dinner is unknown. Sushi Gakyu is certainly another option for sushi lovers out there and I definitely see us going back for another round of omakase.
  7. Takohachi opened on December 11 in the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. My wife and I decided to eat lunch there today to test this new dining option after reading several positive comments from our neighbors on the Douglas Park community bulletin board. Owned and run by a Japanese chef, the space is simple and open (in the good Japanese way), with plenty of space between the tables and contemporary Japanese music playing softly in the room. We ordered from the lunch menu, which offered everything from Nigiri Shushi (at $1 per piece), to a number of Udons, Donburis and a large selection of Bento Boxes. We each ordered a Bento - Marianne had the California Roll and Spiced Tuna, I ordered the Sukiyaki. Both came with Tea, Miso Soup, Salad and a Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura portion in addition to the aforementioned Mains. All I can say is that if the quality of our lunch is the baseline for the other items on their menu, this is now our go-to spot for Japanese in South Arlington. They don't have an active social media profile, or a website yet. Here's hoping they can grow thru word of mouth - I want to be able to come back often. TSchaad
  8. I saw "Onibaba" a couple of days after I saw the Oscar-winning "Best Picture" of 2017, "The Shape of Water." While the latter disappointed me, the former was a delightful surprise--a gripping tale of human survival. The film is set in the 14th Century, during a Civil War In Japan. Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it tells the harrowing story of a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law who must resort to drastic measures to survive in their war-ravaged world. Basic human needs--food, water and sex--are the things the pair desire, and they do what they must to acquire them. Although it is set in Medieval times, "Onibaba" has a timeless quality, and could take place in any war, at any time. The women's hut is surrounded by fields of tall grass. Much of the film is shot low in this grass, creating a claustrophobic mood. The viewer feels anxious and trapped, just as the women surely felt hiding there. The acting is wonderful. The story is gritty, intense, erotic, and full of suspense. I highly recommend this film. I saw "Onibaba" for free at the Freer Gallery of Art as a part of their Japanese Film Classics, offered at 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the Month. The next screening scheduled is "Drunken Angel," a 1948 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, on June 6.
  9. Have not yet seen anything reported here on an exciting new restaurant from Chef Daisuke Itagawa of Sushi Ko and restaurateur Yama Jewayni (Marvin, Local 16, etc.). The project just got a whole lot more interesting with the announcement that Chef Katsuya Fukushima of Minibar fame will head the kitchen. The space is being built in the empty lot next door to Graffiato and reportedly will be offering ramen on the ground level and izakaya on the second floor. Sounds awesome - anticipated opening early 2012. http://www.washingto...going-out-gurus
  10. Washington City Paper with the news. and this nugget: "I want to be the type of place where the residents of that area and people who are nearby can come once a week, twice a week... and it won't hurt their wallet," says Can Yurdagul, who's joined in the venture by his future father-in-law/chef Minoru Ogawa. The owners are also giving equity in the business to three of their longtime sushi chefs. Congrats Can!
  11. Having gone to Kaz Sushi Bistro countless times over the years, I was interested in seeing what Sushi Chef Jay Yu, who spend 13 years working alongside Kaz at the sushi bar, would be up to in his brand new restaurant in Falls Church, which opened just last Thursday, Dec 10th. It's located right in-between Smashburger and the under-appreciated Meat in a Box. An important note to diners: Takumi will not have a beer and wine license "for about a month," so do not go there expecting to have a Sapporo with your sushi just yet. Another thing: they are currently using a temporary menu which they stress will be changing in about a week. "It's full of typos, and it's embarrassing," a server told me. So please keep those two things in mind if you go anytime soon. I took a seat at the sushi bar Tuesday evening, and ended up feeling like I was at a Kaz Sushi Bistro family reunion: My server works at Kaz, the girl who told me about the menu worked for Kaz, Chef Yu worked next to Kaz (on the diner's right), and - this is possibly the most important thing I'm going to tell you - the Kitchen Chef at Takumi was the *other* sushi chef who worked next to Kaz on the diner's left (I've never known his name, but he's an older gentleman called Taka-san - he has chosen to switch over to being a full-time kitchen chef due to the rigors of endless standing). I was told that for now, Kaz is sending out one different employee a day to help them get started, and Kaz himself stopped in to wish them well on opening day. Isn't it heartwarming to see such a display of generosity and gratitude? And for those worried about the future of Kaz Sushi Bistro, have no fear: he will soon be signing another long-term lease, and is training some younger sushi chefs, as well as working on bringing over some people from Japan - although we've only written each other, I could "feel" an obvious energy and enthusiasm in his notes to me that I haven't felt from him in quite awhile. His biggest concern seems to be the impending arrival of Nobu, which will be located somewhere around 25th and M in quite a large space. Have no worries, Kaz-san - you're a DC institution. I started my meal with a pot of Caffeine-Free, Yellow and Blue, Herbal Tea ($4.50), a chamomile and lavender tisane by Harney and Sons, a very reputable producer of upscale teas, and this carried me through the meal. Browsing through the menu, I noticed some definitely influences and a few very similar dishes than what I've seen at Kaz Sushi Bistro in the past - I was determined to try some of these to compare them, and to see what Chef Yu could do untethered from the mother ship. Sitting next to a woman I correctly guessed was a Yelper, she had ordered the Flounder Carpaccio with Wakame and Yuzu Sauce ($12), and when asked how she felt about it, she came right out and said it wasn't to her liking. This was one of the things I was thinking of ordering, so I told them (nobody else was within earshot) that I'd be glad to take it, and for them to just put it on my bill. This was five fairly thin slices of flounder sashimi, topped with a thick, almost nutty, paste of wakame and yuzu. I thought there were a couple things about this dish that could have been improved upon, and when Chef Yu asked me, I answered him politely, but candidly - this was probably the one dish I had that needs a mild tweaking, but it doesn't need much: The issues I pointed out could be fixed in five minutes. My first dish was a Consommé of Asari ($6), asari being baby clam, sitting on the bottom of the bowl of clear broth, in-shell. This was a delicious consommé, and one that I would happily get again. It was just the right thing to start off a meal with. In something of a contrast to the consommé, I also ordered the Agedashi Tofu with Mushroom ($5), the definition of comfort food: soft, silky cubes of tofu, barely dusted, and wok-fried with plenty of enoki-like mushrooms, and a hot, thickened brown sauce on top. I loved this dish, and highly recommend it to anyone trying Takumi - the only thing I can think of that might improve the dish is if the amount of sauce was dialed down just ten percent; other than that, it was a gift at five dollars. This is one dish that I would strongly urge people to order. Having had the bird's nest at Kaz several times, I had to get the Bird's Nest ($14) here, and it did not disappoint while at the same time being noticeably different than the one at Kaz. Made with sea urchin, calamari, a very light application of truffle soy sauce, and topped with a quail egg, this dish is made to be mixed together before attacking it, and no soy sauce is needed, although this particular rendition was intentionally light on the soy, so I can easily see diners sneaking a few additional drops into the mix. Although there was nothing fattening in here, it came across as almost decadently rich, and despite its moderate size, was quite filling - sea urchin and egg yolk as thickeners in sauces have a tendency to do that. I was pretty full at this point, but I hadn't had a bite of sushi rice, and wanted to end my meal with a maki, so I ordered the Negitoro Roll ($8), made with fatty tuna and scallion, and I'm delighted to report that the sushi rice here is outstanding. I've always thought that Kaz consistently had the best sushi rice in the city, and this rice is a worthy contender. Sushi rice is such an important component of great sushi, yet it often goes unnoticed or unappreciated; not with me - this was first-rate sushi rice, and those many, many years of experience certainly showed up here. Highly recommended. Stuffed, I asked for the check, but Chef Yu offered me a dessert (I think he was pleased that I didn't waste the carpaccio, and that I seemed to have some degree of appreciation for what he has done). I had mentioned before that I liked yuzu, so he sent out a tulip glass of Yuzu Sorbet ($4) which I didn't think I wanted, but right after the first bite of that ice-cold, citrus-flavored sorbet, I knew it was the perfect digestif for this ample-but-healthy meal. When the check arrived, neither the sorbet nor the carpaccio were on it - I protested, saying I wanted to pay for the carpaccio, but they insisted that it was on the house, so I tried to make up for it with a generous tip. Although you can tell that this is a brand-new restaurant, only a few days old, Takumi also shows great promise, and is already one of the best sushi houses in Virginia (if not the best). It will improve a lot as the next few weeks pass, but I also fear that in the long run, Chef Yu may grow frustrated at serving nothing but California Rolls (I mentioned this to him, and he just laughed it off). Takumi is absolutely influenced by Kaz Sushi Bistro, and I believe that, with time, this restaurant will make the master proud.
  12. Just wanted to bump this thread and let people know that Himitsu had its official opening last night. I was lucky enough to attend a preview dinner on Wednesday; raw fish preps and the entire beverage program are absolutely going to be highlights. Not really fair to "review" or critique, as they weren't even really open yet, but multiple plates are priced substantially lower than they should be. Happy to post photos of the menus and / or food if helpful. A super talented young duo, and one that should do quite well in the space. Cheers!
  13. Had dinner last night at Samurai teppanyaki grill in the GMU shopping center. I had the chicken and shrimp combo, dining companion had the lobster-filet-shrimp, plus the typical miso soup, salad, fried rice, grilled veggies and noodles. It was clean, everything was cooked properly, not the best show by the chef but certainly adequate, and thankfully not oversalted (which is something that I find happens at a teppanyaki with chefs using the salt shakers in their show). A lot of food -- I took fully half of mine home even after eating until I was stuffed, so I think a fair value for the price, which I believe was about $24 for my choice, maybe about $31-$32 for my companion? Plus a sake appletini for me that balanced on the line between sweet and sour. I would have been happy with a tad more sour but was relieved that it wasn't too sweet. Not fine dining by any stretch, but I think a better choice than Kilroy's (which was the other option I was offered).
  14. We've been going to Rintaro for a while now and are considered regulars. They've been serving lunch for several months. B and I had put that on our list but for some reason, plans kept going awry....that is, until today. Japanese fried chicken wings with smokey tare, sansho pepper and wasabi arugula. There is some really stellar, excellent frying in the kitchen. The chicken was marinated and coated in a crispy, flavorful shell that literally melted in our mouths. Berkshire pork gyoza, chicken foot jelly. The "lace" shows you how light the batter is. Hand-rolled udon, with two fishes broth, tenkasu (deep-fried flour batter) and hot spring egg. The covered pot contains togarashi pepper and gomashio (sesame salt). Kaisen mori-don. Clockwise from center: chopped California big eye tuna, wild striped bass and kombu-cured halibut over Japanese rice with nori, tamago (egg omelette) and shiso; soy sauce; wasabi leaf pickle, narazuke (traditional pickles from the Nara region of Japan) and senmaizuke (a traditional pickle originally from Kyoto, made from turnips); carrot and daikon radish pickle; Tokyo turnips and scallions in mustard-miso; marinated cucumbers in rice vinegar with black cod; miso soup with shimeji and maitake mushrooms. Total bill came out to $95 (with 20% tax and tip). Rintaro82 14th Street (Folsom Street)South of Market http://izakayarintaro.com/ Medium article from April 2015 SF Chronicle reviews (for those of you who like Michael Bauer; personally I detest him, but variety is what makes the world go round): Original Review and Follow-Up Review from Last Year
  15. One of the more pleasant dining experiences, I've had in a long time. The space is simple, clean and serene which is a great reflection of the food. I went early so it wasn't so crowded but I'm guessing that this place will be consistently packed. If you had to try one dish, get the grilled Mero with miso. It's sea bass that has a nice char on the outside but comes out tasting smooth and creamy. My full post is below; Izakaya Seki
  16. Kukuri received a moderate amount of hype when it opened, based on the presence of sushi chef Shimao Ishikawa. Ishikawa was behind the (sushi) bar at Michelin-starred Jewel Bako in New York, where I had a memorable meal years ago. I had omakase reservations last week ($175 per person), but ultimately cancelled after hearing rumors that Ishikawa was no longer in the kitchen. I asked a couple of the food critics in town, neither of which had heard anything. A perusal of the Kukuri Facebook page showed that Ishikawa responded to a negative review from his personal account, claiming to have been out of the kitchen since an automobile accident in November. I sent him (or at least whoever is behind the "Shimao Ishikawa" Facebook account) a personal message, and he confirmed that he is no longer associated with Kukuri. While their website still lists him, their frequently updated Facebook page now lists Masayuki Kawai as the head chef. I haven't been able to find out any information on his past work.
  17. After a couple "meh" experiences at other sushi spots around town, I have seen the truth, and it is Hori-san's sushi rice. I absolutely cannot bring myself to get excited about eating sushi anywhere else. Yes, yes, the fish is superb, impeccably prepared, and seasoned such that your soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi stare on longingly as you neglect them throughout the meal. But that rice. So perfectly seasoned, juuuuust sweet enough, and never overpacked or structurally unsound. I honestly think you do yourself a disservice by ordering sashimi at Kata. As far as I can tell, the play is to get an appetizer or two (chicken skewers 3 ways, miso eggplant, and the ceviche wouldn't be a bad way to go), and then ask for an omakase sushi from the chef with as few or many pieces as you feel like. We've done this both from the sushi bar and the tables.
  18. https://www.sushiyoshivienna.co/ The a la carte sushi may be more expensive since 1 order = 1 piece but they have many varieties of fish. For lunch I had Boston Mackerel, Spanish Mackereal, and Horse Mackerel, in addition to Sardine, Yellowtail, Yellowtail Belly, and Uni. Each piece was between $2 to $3 dollars (the sardine was $1.85) sushi_yoshi_sushi_a_la_carte_.pdf Due to the impending snowpocalypse, I also ordered some fried squid legs (kara age) and something they called seafood pancake. The squid legs were medium sized fried 1 leg at a time and not a clump of squid legs like fried calamari. The legs were a little chewy, but I suspect that's how they're supposed to be. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them without the tartar sauce that came on the side. Not on the website are two pages of specials, of which 1 was labeled Japanese small plates (lots of grilled jaws and fish). The seafood pancake was one of the specials but it's nothing like a Korean seafood pancake. This is really a rather large fishcake topped with some tempura shavings and a slightly spicy soy based sauce. The first bite was a bit fishy but I soon got used to the favor and enjoyed the dish. This is the best sushi in Vienna (not many others in the area - Sakana, Sweet Ginger, Sushi Yama, Konami are others I've been to) and the additon of other specials makes this place one of the best yet unsung Japanese restaurants in the DC area.
  19. Hmmm . . . everything I've ever read about Yamazoto emphasizes that it's a place specializing in, well, humongous "specialty" rolls, which I've found to be a surefire sign that I won't like it. But if other Rockwellians would confirm its quality . . .
  20. I decided to finally try out Kaz Sushi Bistro (1915 I Street NW). More to the point, this was the first Wednesday I could make it there to get the Maki and Nigiri lunch combo, after learning of it's existance. The combo consisted of a spicy tuna roll, a California roll, and a piece each of maguro, sake, and ebi nigiri. Right from the start, I knew I was on to something good: the little cup of soy sauce was taped to the top to prevent spillage in transit, there were two packets of those little M&M-like mints, and the gari was clearly home-made. Trivial touches, yes, but they're obviously thinking this lunch-special thing through. I like that. It bodes well. On to the main event, the sushi itself was visually very nice, and clearly carefully made. The tuna in particular was the most beautiful shade of deep red. I can say very easily that this was the best sushi I can recall having, in the U.S. and in Japan (Granted, I never went for a hard-core Edomae dinner, but there you go). Incredible. Even the California roll was good. Even the soy sauce was good. They are absolutely not trying to cut corners with the lunch special, and if they are, the stuff right at the bar must be positively mind-blowing. I don't mind saying I was having a pretty insane day at work to this point, but after this lunch, everything seemed good and right with the world.
  21. Well, f**k. I hate writing about restaurants any more, but decided to start this thread anyway, and twenty minutes later I was almost done and f**king Invision or whoever lost the post. Pardon my language. I'm not going to re-create all that. The basics: Nice, cozy ambiance for a quick nosh on a cold evening. I didn't take notes or play Investigative Reporter. I think there were four ramens, four rice bowls, and some number of appetizers on the menu. I had an excellent miso ramen, with flavorful broth, springy noodles, awesomely porky and not too fatty chashu . Definitely one of the better ramens I've had in awhile. Better than the tonkatsu (weak flavor, not-chewy-enough noodles) from Nagomi the day before. Two things to note: the other patrons (at 8:30 - 9:00 on a weeknight) were loud, possibly drunken 20-somethings who talked in their "HEY WE'D BETTER SHOUT 'CAUSE WE MAY STILL BE IN A LOUD BAR" voices. I'm not a cranky old lady yet; if that's the clientele, fine, I'll enjoy my ramen, pay the bill and get out quickly. The other thing: scented candles do not belong in restaurants. Seriously, restaurateurs: don't you want your customers to enjoy their food? Isn't smelling that food a significant part of tasting it? If I push the apple-cinnamon candle to the other end of the communal table, that's not a signal for your hostess to come light the other one. Anyway: great ramen. Really hoping ramen catches on in DC.
  22. I'm starting a new thread despite the facts that Daikaya's new Izakaya shares owners, a name and a building with the ramen shop downstairs. I do this because it's a wholly different concept in most every way and I'm guessing the discussions for both will remain active and very different from each other. Of course, if that's wrong (I know the Izakaya is referenced in Daikaya's ramen shop topic title), please just combine the two but thought it worthwhile to suggest the separation. I'm also going to violate my own self-imposed rule of not assessing a new place until it has had to time to work out kinks and/or I've been able to visit a few times. Doing that because I'm not a food critic (or anything close to one), this new open is as anticipated as any in the city in the past year and already has lines waiting for tables, and, most of all, this may be helpful to some (always the goal). HEADLINE A very funky, cool take on the traditional Izakaya with a big focus on spirits, sake, beer and wine and pleasing food. Likely to do very well as a meetup spot and bar but probably less likely to win "best izakaya" in town honors even with time. Lots of good and interesting dishes, impressive beverage program and very good value across the board. CONTEXT After yesterday's NCAA "Elite 8" game at Verizon, we thought we'd try the newly opened Izakaya if there wasn't a very long wait. A good half hour after the arena emptied out into Chinatown and 45 minutes after the restaurant opened, it wasn't a problem at all. We got seats straightaway without any trouble though, by the time we left at maybe around 8:30pm, it was very busy with people waiting and the central bar area pretty full. VENUE I won't write a lot about the specific decor as I don't have much knowledge about Japanese art and design so wouldn't do it justice given all the thought and significance of many features. Both the Post and City Paper have already published excellent overviews of the design philosophy and specifics here and here in their pieces done pre-open. To us, the space is cool, edgy, and interesting in a modern and pop-culturish sort of way. They say the seating capacity is around 90 which includes nicely sized booths toward the back and a gaggle of comfortable two tops with 2 or 3 larger community tables toward the front facing out onto 6th St. The large bar dominates the middle of the space just as you reach the top of the stairs from street level. Entry is a separate door to the left of the ramen shop below, conveniently labeled "Izakaya." Someone was playing around with the lights last night enough for us and adjacent tables to notice and comment as they became darker, brighter and finally darker. Not a big deal but, on average, it's lit a bit darkly. Noise level wasn't bad for us when full but I'm guessing TS will report a noisier, higher number on the Sietsema-Noise-Meter. There is a fine line here between creativity and cutesy with the latter getting in the way of a more practically functional experience to a limited degree. One small example is the menu distribution 'policy' and menu design itself. The small plate, sharing philosophy behind the food is fun and worthwhile, however cliched. But, extending that sharing philosophy to menu distribution is silly. We went back up to the hostess stand to ask for a second menu for our table (we'd only been given one) and, after the hostess explained the intention was "that a table can share a menu," we were given another readily. Another group of six was also seated with only one menu. We found the menu itself cute but a bit annoying with colored paper pages pasted onto the first few pages of a heavy Japanese lifestyle magazine. Some of the pages had two sheets of colored paper pasted on top of each other, implying updated menus. We saw one table literally tearing out a page to see a page underneath it, thinking it an older menu (but it was only the 3rd night). Kind of interesting; a bit funny; more annoying. Suggest maybe considering a simpler, more functional menu or, at least, more than one per table. The bathrooms are cute, indeed reminiscent of shoebox-sized spots in Japan and a bit impractical with very narrow basins that make splatter and overflow more likely and the type of hand dryers that require one to insert hands into the device. FOOD We ended up ordering close to a majority of all dishes on the menu, drawing from sections labeled "Grilled Dishes," "Cold Dishes, Salads and Sashimi," "Braised and Simmered Dishes" and "Unique Dishes." Brief reactions as follows: - LIVE OYSTER GRILLED WITH SAKE & OYSTER SALT ($2.75/oyster): We ordered just a few of these to try them. Fine but nothing special. Maybe a tad under-sake'd and a bit overcooked. - SHISHITO PEPPER WITH GOUDA CHEESE ($3.25): 6 smaller-sized shishitos on two skewers, these were different from the more commonly found straight grilled Shishitos and very tasty. Our waiter told us about one in ten were especially hot and that was right. - MISO COD WITH CARROT PUREE AND PICKLED GINGER ($7.50): Not sure the carrot puree is the best accompaniment for this dish though the fish itself was fine. - GRILLED AVOCADO WITH PONZU AND FRESH WASABI ($6.25): This was an original and delicious preparation. One of our favorite dishes, it came served as a half unpeeled avocado grilled with pit removed and ponzu partly filling the pit cavity. Served with a spoon to scoop out and share. Wonderful combination of flavors. - CHAWANMUSHI WITH SHIITAKE AND PARMESAN ($7.75): Maybe a bit heavy on the parmesan but a very nice rendition of the egg custard dish with the finely julienned shitake almost mistakable for enoki. - FRIED MONKFISH (Comp'ed--See Service Notes): Also one the best dishes. Generous portion with light touch on the breading so plenty of nicely seasoned fish. The table next to us ordered two orders of this citing it as their favorite. - BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND PORK OKONOMIYAKI STYLE ($5.25): Its name notwithstanding (usually a pancake with cabbage and other ingredients? unless this refers just to the pork; maybe more likely?), this was a very well executed version of the familiar 'grilled/broiled/baked brussel sprouts with savory pork' dish found in many restaurants of all types. Very nice char with ponzu or something sweet. A bit more pork belly, even if they had to raise the price a dollar or two, would improve it even more. - “RUIBE” TRADITIONAL HOKKAIDO FROZEN SALMON SASHIMI WITH FRESH WASABI, GRATED GINGER, AND SEKIGAHARA TAMARI (Didn't order): We didn't get this but I wanted to include it here because it was one of the more unusual dishes on the menu. We would have ordered it but were steered away from it by some advisors. Evidently, it arrives frozen, sliced very thin and melts in your mouth quite literally. - HOUSE FERMENTED JAPANESE VEGETABLES; HOME‐MADE NUKAZUKE, NAPA CABBAGE, TAKUAN ($5): As with most of the menu, good value for the price. Pickles a bit ordinary for Japanese restaurants. - STUFFED CABBAGE BRAISED IN DASHI ($8.50): Think this may have been the most expensive dish but still very good value. Generous portion of a mixed pork/beef filling in cabbage gently braised. One of the people at table next to us was from eastern Europe and commented the dish was similar to ones she knew from home. A gently seasoned and satisfying dish. - ANKIMO WITH MISO ESCALIVADA (see service notes): This was from the "unique dishes" section of the menu and unique it is, combining a great Japanese dish of monkfish liver with a Catalan veggie preparation. We were excited to try it. Unfortunately, it tasted of vinegar (not usually part of either dish from what I've experienced) and that flavor was a bit overwhelming. That said, they couldn't have handled this more nicely and graciously than they did (see below). - WASABI OCTOPUS WITH WASABI SPROUTS, GREEN APPLE AND ARBEQUINA OLIVE OIL ($5.50): A delightful, fusion-ish interpretation of the Tako Wasabe I had recently at Seki. Adding the apple and olive oil made this very good. I preferred it to the straight version at Seki and other places. SERVICE We were there on what was only the third night for the Izakaya. And, as we enjoyed dinner, the place slowly filled to capacity. On top of all that, they're using a proprietary order-taking and transmission system that has some complexity and, for whatever reason, some of the servers were helping out from downstairs at the ramen shop. All said, and though of course there are kinks to work out, they performed wonderfully in many respects. Usually a mistake is an opportunity to delight--rather than disappoint--a customer if seen that way by a seller of anything including restaurant operators. Daikaya exudes this ethic whether upstairs or down. We noticed a couple of tables around us waiting a long time for drinks though food seemed to come out of the kitchen quickly. A manager comp'ed drinks. We had an issue with the Ankimo being too vinegary as described above. After a short and entirely constructive conversation with the manager, he took it back, didn't charge us for it and also comp'ed the fried monkfish. That was an above-and-beyond response we really appreciated. No point in detailing other minor service kinks they'll surely be smoothing out in the weeks to come. The hospitality of the staff is a solid foundation upon which to build. BEVERAGE We didn't partake of anything but, by the looks of it, they have a very nice bar and beverage program with many interesting beer, sake and cocktail options. Will defer to others to report on that but suspect the program will earn strong praise. BOTTOM LINE For a 3rd day, this was impressive and, overall, we enjoyed the experience. Most of the dishes were good or very good with a couple standouts. The place is very hip and no doubt will be very popular. Value is very good.
  23. Let me start by saying I've never been to Japan, and I've never been to Masa. That said, for my personal preference, Japan is second only to France for my favorite cuisine, and I am very much of a sushi and sashimi hound - it's just about my favorite thing (along with foie gras, caviar, etc.) I had, without much doubt, the best Sashimi-Sushi Omakase I've ever eaten on Wednesday night at the Sushi Bar at Sushi Ogawa, and I've been to most of the great sushi specialists in the U.S. and Vancouver. The only option is a $100 omakase, and I highly advise all diners to call and see if Chef Ogawa will be working before they commit to this meal. My friend made the reservation under her name, and I have no reason to think I was recognized, but boy, this sure seemed like more than the "12-14 courses" they advertise. I don't rule out the possibility that I was spotted, but regardless, I'm spotted at most other top Japanese restaurants in DC, and nobody has put out sashimi and sushi like this before, not even the great Sushi Taro. I had made an exception to my own unwritten rule (the only other one-visit Bold I've ever made has been Elements in Princeton, NJ), and initialized Sushi Bar at Sushi Ogawa as such (this was absolutely the best meal I've had in 2017, my dining partner said it was by far the best sashimi-sushi she's ever eaten, and I've spent nearly 8 weeks this year in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), but just to be prudent, I'm going to wait for other people to chime in. There are numerous Michelin 3-star sushi restaurants in Japan, but I honestly cannot envision any sashimi-sushi-driven meals being much better than this, even though I'm sure they are. Still, this raised the bar for me, personally, by a fair amount. About the only thing that fell short of excellence was the crème brûlée (it was fine, but Koji Terano can rest easy). If you go with another person, treat yourselves to a .720ml bottle of Eikun "Big Hawk" Junmai Ginjo sake ($65 on their list, and it will carry you through the entire meal).
  24. Anyone know anything about this chain of sushi joints? Its about to open in Lancaster, Pa. I need intel. Help! Hungry, kat
  25. The rumored ramen and dumplings spot expected to open soon above the Pug has a name. Sounds like a very small space, but it is good to see more places to eat in an area that has plenty of places to drink, but is still developing good eating options.
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