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We eat sushi 3-5 times a week and regularly debate the best place. Last night, we went to the "new" Sushi Taro", with great anticipation. However, while it was a good meal, we were frankly disappointed. It led me to wonder what is the best sushi place in DC area right now. Thoughts?

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OK, I'll start. This board will weigh in all over the place. You will hear many say it's Sushi Taro. Some will point to Tachibana in McLean. For me, it's the Sushi Table with Koji at Sushi-Ko on Wisconsin.

By the way, not to be trifled with is PassionFish in Reston. Its sushi offerings are really excellent, even though it's really a seafood restaurant.

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I think that Sushi Taro is the best Japanese food in the area, but Sushi Ko would be my choice for the best sushi.

Edited by Sthitch

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I will add that, if you can find Kazuhiru Okochi behind the sushi bar at Kaz Sushi Bistro, you can coax an excellent omakase out of him. Otherwise, the fare there is average these days.

My experience in enjoying fine sushi was elevated when, thanks to a recommendation from Eric Ziebold of CityZen, I tried Sushi Sam in San Mateo, California. It was an incredible experience, and thus far in the DC area, only Koji at Sushi-Ko has compared favorably.

Then there are the Korean sushi places in the 'burbs that are tolerable if you're looking for that style of sushi. Yoko in Vienna and Herndon and Makaku Sushi Taro in McLearan Square in Herndon are both excellent examples.

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Mikaku is affiliated with Sushi Taro downtown (some sort of co-ownership thing), and isn't Korean in style at all - the menu's pretty traditional Japanese, except for the couple of nods to American tastes with the spicy and tempura maki. They've got a pretty good selection of non-sushi Japanese food as well - there's a great little small plate of Kurobuta pork sausage on their specials at the moment.

Hama Sushi, also in Herndon, is another good bet - they have consistently good sushi, but will also do shoyu or miso ramen, which Mikaku doesn't. (Mikaku only does udon and soba).

Comparing the two, I'd go to Hama if I specifically wanted hamachi, assorted maki, or soup, but if I was craving toro or cooked nibbles I'd go to Mikaku.

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If you're eating in the burbs, I've always found Yama in Vienna or Blue Ocean in Fairfax delicious...and both offer much more by way of an authentic experience than just sushi.

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Hama Sushi, also in Herndon, is another good bet - they have consistently good sushi, but will also do shoyu or miso ramen...

I have not been to Hama in years (I am thinking it has been at least a half dozen), but what I loved was an outstanding roll called the Hama Roll, it was a crab salad and avacado, then each slice was topped with a mayo based chilie sauce and grilled. They do not list it on the menu that is posted online, but if they still have it (and it is even half as good as it once was) I would jump at the opportunity to order it again.

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I have not been to Hama in years (I am thinking it has been at least a half dozen), but what I loved was an outstanding roll called the Hama Roll, it was a crab salad and avacado, then each slice was topped with a mayo based chilie sauce and grilled. They do not list it on the menu that is posted online, but if they still have it (and it is even half as good as it once was) I would jump at the opportunity to order it again.

I've seen it on their specials board from time to time, so you could probably call ahead and see if it's on that day.

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Are you concerned about mercury?

I am not overly concerned but we do eat less tuna that we used to.

I think that Sushi Taro is the best Japanese food in the area, but Sushi Ko would be my choice for the best sushi.

I agree that Sushi-Ko is excellent (G'town - Chevy Chase is still catching up). The other place that we love is Matuba in Bethesda but we only sit at the sushi bar where Tony does an incredible job and tends to have a few surprises just for sushi bar patrons.

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Mikaku is affiliated with Sushi Taro downtown (some sort of co-ownership thing), and isn't Korean in style at all - the menu's pretty traditional Japanese, except for the couple of nods to American tastes with the spicy and tempura maki. They've got a pretty good selection of non-sushi Japanese food as well - there's a great little small plate of Kurobuta pork sausage on their specials at the moment.

Hama Sushi, also in Herndon, is another good bet - they have consistently good sushi, but will also do shoyu or miso ramen, which Mikaku doesn't. (Mikaku only does udon and soba).

Comparing the two, I'd go to Hama if I specifically wanted hamachi, assorted maki, or soup, but if I was craving toro or cooked nibbles I'd go to Mikaku.

I had a wonderful carry out at Makaku Sushi Taro this week. The sushi at this place is really good, with some of the best rolls this side of PassionFish and some outstanding fresh fish in an environment that is sparely decorated and impeccably clean. While was waiting for my order, I also ordered a few rounds of unfiltered sake to brace me for the trip home.

I ordered the Dragon Roll, the Spider Roll, the house special Makaku Roll and a nice eel and avocado roll, along with lots of sushi -- medium fatty tuna, salmon, rockfish, eel, omelet and maybe a few others. Girlfriend and I had a feast about a half hour later. I must say that the Makaku Roll was interesting, with a warm and creamy sauce of lobster chunks over the crab and shrimp rolls. From end-to-end, this was an incredible carry out, and may have even been better had we eaten in.

As an aside, I asked the head waitress about an affiliation with Sushi Taro, and she said that it was simply that the two owners are friends. No other relationship.

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We eat sushi 3-5 times a week and regularly debate the best place. Last night, we went to the "new" Sushi Taro", with great anticipation. However, while it was a good meal, we were frankly disappointed. It led me to wonder what is the best sushi place in DC area right now. Thoughts?

3-5 times a week is a lot. You may want to cut back some for health reasons as previously noted in the thread.

However, why were you disappointed in the new Sushi Taro?

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3-5 times a week is a lot. You may want to cut back some for health reasons as previously noted in the thread.

Pish tosh. I gave up on caring about such things when spinach started killing people. I figure there's no winning at this point so just eat what you want, you know?

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Pish tosh. I gave up on caring about such things when spinach started killing people. I figure there's no winning at this point so just eat what you want, you know?

I hear ya, but I kind of like the Japanese approach to eating sushi in that it's a special occasion meal.

A humorous take on the Japanese Tradition.

:)

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Sushi Taro is a 8/10

Kaz is a 5/10

Sushi Ko (Both) is a 3.5/10

Kushi is trying to be a 6/10 but is more like a 4.5/10

If you want Americanized Rolls the VA spots are the best, except for Sushi Sono in Columbia

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Sushi Taro is a 8/10

Kaz is a 5/10

Sushi Ko (Both) is a 3.5/10

Kushi is trying to be a 6/10 but is more like a 4.5/10

If you want Americanized Rolls the VA spots are the best, except for Sushi Sono in Columbia

Um....care to cite some pedigree in this regard....? I doubt that most of this board would buy your grades.

Sushi-Ko, when Koji is working in front of you, is maybe a 9/10. It is on a par with Sushi Sam in San Mateo, California, where the chefs from the French Laundry trek 65 very difficult miles for the best sushi in the SF Bay Area.

I have had Kaz at 5/10 on occasion, but I have also had Kaz at the bar in front of me doing omakase, and it was sublime. Easily an 8/10.

May we inquire as to the criteria behind those grades?

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What do people think about Sakana on P Street?

One thing that would be really helpful in this thread, and elsewhere where people assert that one restaurant is better than another, is to state how many times you've visited the places you're talking about. I'm sure I'm guilty of not doing this as well. There's a lot of variability involved in how you can experience someplace one time (and I'm guessing, though I have no hard evidence, that variability in sushi experiences is particularly high relative to other types of dining establishments.) Small sample size can really skew your "results".

Personally, of some of the places mentioned as being among the better sushi experiences in DC, I've done the sushi bar at Taro twice now, Kushi three times (but only once really concentrating on the sushi), and I had one unexpectedly Koji-less experience at the Sushi Ko in Glover Park.

Based on this limited experience, in my mind the best sushi dining of the bunch is Sushi Taro, both for the quality of the fish and preparation, and ... ready for this?...the value. Yes, I know, it starts at $120 per head. But during your meal there you are twice invited to select as much fish as you'd like (from an extraordinarily large selection, I might add) for the sashimi and sushi courses, and believe me, I partook, stuffing myself silly. Neither time was I charged more than the base $120. Plus on top of that you get a full, multi-course, Japanese meal with dishes, some of them amazingly good, and most of which you can't find anywhere else around here.

I contrast that with Kushi, where the other night I sat at the sushi bar, and paid $100 before tip for a special nigiri of toro with uni on top, saba, fluke plus a special nigiri made from the fluke fin (engawa), tamago (refrigerator cold), yellow tail, and seared fatty tuna, some mushrooms and grilled peppers from the robata, and one beer. None of the sushi really stood out, and I was particularly disappointed with the toro (it didn't specify chutoro or otoro, but I think it must have been chutoro), which was not well marbled at all. Several of the pieces were pre-cut. I'm still a big Kushi fan, but I've enjoyed their cooked food a lot more than the sushi.

So for my money, next time I'm ready to splurge on a decadent meal that includes sushi, I'm emailing Nobu Yamazaki and reserving a seat at Sushi Taro.

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You shouldnt have to sit in front of the executive sushi chef for the food to be good at a sushi restaurant. While omakase with Nobu at Sushi Taro is closer to a 9.5/10 I didnt rate the restaurant that. While Sushi Sono with King is close to a 8/10 I feel like the place overall is closer to a 6.5/10.

I understand what you are saying but if 90% of the diners are not sitting with Kaz or Koji, it is not fair to grade a whole restaurant with that.

As for Kushi me an a well regarded international executive sushi chef watched their "expert" sushi chefs do some things that would never be done at the highest levels. I am not here to bash other places, I am here to give a guide to people who are trying to find a place to not waste their $100-$200.

As a homage to the previous poster I have ate at all the restaurants listed a minimum of five times.

Thanks,

J

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With sushi, it's important to consider where you've had your best meal. If it's here in the US, most likely your standard isn't as high as someone who ate sushi in Japan.

Personally, I look at a relative scale. When I'm eating sushi in the DC metro area, my sense of relative scale comes from the seafood quality from local restaurants, and if I enjoy the restaurant and the atmosphere the owners and chefs create.

In some ways, talking about sushi is like discussing how any other foreign cuisine can be replicated outside of it's native country.

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With sushi, it's important to consider where you've had your best meal. If it's here in the US, most likely your standard isn't as high as someone who ate sushi in Japan.

There is some truth to this. I have only had US sushi, so I guess my best is yet to come.

But your post focuses mostly on seafood quality. I think you can also accurately evaluate sushi on the technique you observe. Also, besides seafood, you can evaluate the quality of the sushi rice (whose ingredients are generally just as good as those found in Japan) and of the tamago (eggs are basically eggs, right?).

I like the relative scale criteria. I myself like to find individual sushi chefs who provide a new experience of excellence each time. Sort of like how many people approach their haircut, once they find someone who does their hair right, it's hard to go to someone else.

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Technique does make a difference, but honestly if you get a chance visit Japan.

Not considering other reasons, just In terms of food travel, it's an incredible trip.

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Sushi Taro is a 8/10

Kaz is a 5/10

Sushi Ko (Both) is a 3.5/10

Kushi is trying to be a 6/10 but is more like a 4.5/10

If you want Americanized Rolls the VA spots are the best, except for Sushi Sono in Columbia

I guess I need to better understand what your ratings mean. My interpretation of 3.5/10 is that the sushi is nearly inedible, which just doesn't jibe with my Sushi Ko experiences.

Assuming you've eaten at top sushi restaurants outside of DC, how would you rate your favorites?

I just came back from NYC and had dinner at the sushi bar at 15 East, one of the most fabulous sushi experiences of my life, 8 or 9 out of 10. I had similar quality at Sushi Yasuda a few years ago. Both were fresher fish and better rice than I've had at DC's best sushi establishments, but not enough to rate Kaz a 5 or Sushi Ko a 3.5.

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I guess I need to better understand what your ratings mean. My interpretation of 3.5/10 is that the sushi is nearly inedible, which just doesn't jibe with my Sushi Ko experiences.

Assuming you've eaten at top sushi restaurants outside of DC, how would you rate your favorites?

I just came back from NYC and had dinner at the sushi bar at 15 East, one of the most fabulous sushi experiences of my life, 8 or 9 out of 10. I had similar quality at Sushi Yasuda a few years ago. Both were fresher fish and better rice than I've had at DC's best sushi establishments, but not enough to rate Kaz a 5 or Sushi Ko a 3.5.

I have eaten at 15 east., while a great experience, I would rate it about a 9/10 maybe 8.5. Yasuda, Matsuhisa, Nobu London, Im not trying to proclaim Im an expert, again Im simply expressing my personal opinion. There are few sushi places in DC that I feel are worth my money on a consistant basis and the ones I listed are ranked accordingly.

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