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Sushi Kappo Kawasaki - Closed.


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This place is across the street from my office. I've eaten there exactly once (lunch bento box). It was 3-4 years ago, but I remember it being very, very good. Price tag was $25+ though. It wasn't the friendliest place in the world, either. I don't mean it was unfriendly, but I got the vibe that regulars are catered to, newbies not so much (asked if we had a res and then made to wait when it was clear that they didn't have that many on the books, long wait for the check, no check backs, etc.) I have been meaning to go back and try it again, but the combination of price and reception has kept me away. Seems like it would be a great place to be a regular.

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And it IS in a basement! This is about four blocks from my office. I just conscripted my Japanese colleague and we'll be heading there for lunch on Friday. Hopefully, he'll be able to smooth the service waters.

ETA: I just told my colleague where we were going, and now he's not so excited. Granted this is all second-hand, but he said they are very condescending to all patrons, and that the quality of your meal will vary greatly depending on what the owner thinks of you. He has been "many times" and "it is not a very friendly atmosphere, because they are so judgemental". He said that the food can be "unbelievable, if they like who you are with".

We're going anyways.

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ETA: I just told my colleague where we were going, and now he's not so excited. Granted this is all second-hand, but he said they are very condescending to all patrons, and that the quality of your meal will vary greatly depending on what the owner thinks of you. He has been "many times" and "it is not a very friendly atmosphere, because they are so judgemental". He said that the food can be "unbelievable, if they like who you are with".

That's the vibe I got, but it didn't quite reach condescending levels. Disinterested? Anyway, if the food we received was far inferior to their absolute best I can't imagine how amazing it would have been were we not gaijin off the street.

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That's the vibe I got, but it didn't quite reach condescending levels.  Disinterested?  Anyway, if the food we received was far inferior to their absolute best I can't imagine how amazing it would have been were we not gaijin off the street.

I went there once two years ago. It was a slow Saturday night and I sat at the sushi bar with a friend. I'd heard about it's reputation (catering to Japanese expense account types), but I'd also heard it was very authentic, and having spent 6 years in Japan, I had to give it a try. I think speaking Japanese did help smooth things along, and in my opinion, sitting at the counter just helps in general. All in all the food was very good (and he threw us a few freebies, probably because it was slow and I could speak Japanese) with a few things such as shiokara (I think it was described on the menu IN ENGLISH as fermented squid guts) that you won't find too many places around here. HOWEVER, I think it was overpriced.

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I went there once two years ago.  It was a slow Saturday night and I sat at the sushi bar with a friend.  I'd heard about it's reputation (catering to Japanese expense account types), but I'd also heard it was very authentic, and having spent 6 years in Japan, I had to give it a try.  I think speaking Japanese did help smooth things along, and in my opinion, sitting at the counter just helps in general.  All in all the food was very good (and he threw us a few freebies, probably because it was slow and I could speak Japanese) with a few things such as shiokara (I think it was described on the menu IN ENGLISH as fermented squid guts) that you won't find too many places around here.  HOWEVER, I think it was overpriced.

How does it compare to Kaz for the basic high quality sushi?
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How does it compare to Kaz for the basic high quality sushi?

It's very fresh; no self-respecting Japanese sushi chef would ever serve you anything less (which is why I'm sceptical about going to any sushi restaurant that doesn't have a JAPANESE sushi chef). And, as I said, it's very authentically Japanese, including the service, it's just a little more expensive than I think it warrents.

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What I'm looking for in a restaurant is to be treated like dogshit and given lesser quality food than the other customers.  Sounds like a winner!

Im my days of living in the midst of two of LA's three Japanese communities (ie Western Avenue around Beverly and Japantown downtown), it was very common to have to "earn" your way up the ladder as a customer. It wasn't that you got less fresh fish, you just got a lesser selection. The best stuff was always kept out of sight and saved for special customers. On a first visit, the service would be brusque until they realized you knew something about sushi and the cuture. Then each succeeding visit another layer was revealed until you, if you were lucky, ate like the Japanese customers did. The more authentic the Sushi bar, the more aurduous the process.

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To the owners of Sushi Kappo Kawasaki,

You are to embark on a sea voyage in a wooden raft, perhaps fifteen feet in length, and take it down to the equator. During the journey, you are to find the longest geoduck you see in the Pacific Ocean: 36-40 inches should suffice.

Once at the equator, you are to place the boat perpendicular to the equator so that you, the chef are standing in the northern hemisphere, and you, the GM are standing in the south.

Remove your clothing, face away from each other at opposite ends of the boat, and slowly begin shuffling backwards towards each other with tiny shuffle-steps. Once within a meter of each other, continue your slow approach while methodically working the geoduck up your asses until there's approximately 12-inches of visible geoduck, the center of which rests squarely on the equator.

Once in position, you are both to begin the process of flatulation, the chef spewing out his considerable hot air in a clockwise spiral, the GM in a counterclockwise mirror image, rotating the geoduck and forming a high-speed lathe turning at approximately 700 revolutions per minute.

You, the GM, are now to bend down and touch your toes while the chef places his hands above his head, and then spring up as high as you can leap, shouting "G Spot!" while the chef bends down and touches his toes.

You, the chef, are now to spring up, shouting "Prostate!" as the GM bends down and touches her toes.

[Camera retreats back along the equator 200 yards to see a side-view of the repeated process, a makeshift see-saw in action]

"G spot!"

"Prostate!"

"G spot!"

"Prostate!"

This is to continue for three minutes until you've both run out of hot air, and then you're to both take five steps forward, letting the geoduck plop out of your asses, rolling off the side of the raft and plunging into the ocean.

You are to dive down after it and search until you find it, approximately sixty-five minutes later, nestled down at the bottom of the equatorial trench, now covered with whale shit, the lowest thing in the sea. This should be a fairly simple exercise since you'll both be in your own element.

And now you are to escort it back up, get back in the boat, and bring it 38 degrees north back to our nation's capital, back to your restaurant Sushi Kappo Kawasaki, on 19th and L Streets NW.

That evening, you are to slice it and serve it as sashimi, because that geoduck, that shriveled up, air-rotated, desecrated, sunken, defiled geoduck, will still be leagues, leaps-and-bounds, miles-and-miles better than any of the God-forsaken garbage you served to us last week in your pathetic con-job operation you call a restaurant, you third-rate petty-swindler charlatans.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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To the owners of Sushi Kappo Kawasaki,

That evening, you are to slice it and serve it as sashimi, because that geoduck, that shriveled up, air-rotated, descecrated, sunken, defiled geoduck, will still be leagues, leaps-and-bounds, miles-and-miles better than any of the God-forsaken dogshit you served to us last week in your pathetic con-job operation you call a restaurant, you second-rate amateur petty-criminal hacks.

Cheers,

Rocks.

So Don, why hold back? Tell us what you really think!

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To the owners of Sushi Kappo Kawasaki,

That evening, you are to slice it and serve it as sashimi, because that geoduck, that shriveled up, air-rotated, descecrated, sunken, defiled geoduck, will still be leagues, leaps-and-bounds, miles-and-miles better than any of the God-forsaken dogshit you served to us last week in your pathetic con-job operation you call a restaurant, you second-rate amateur petty-criminal hacks.

Is it safe to assume you weren't overly impressed?
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You are to embark on a sea voyage in a wooden raft, perhaps fifteen feet in length, and take it down to the equator. During the journey, you are to find the longest geoduck you see in the Pacific Ocean: 36-40 inches should suffice.
What Don neglects to mention is that said chef and GM will have to find the Northwest Passage and/or make a long side-trip. Geoducks are native primarily to the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Yours,

Mr. P. Dant, Shropshire

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To the owners of Sushi Kappo Kawasaki,

You are to embark on a sea voyage in a wooden raft, perhaps fifteen feet in length, and take it down to the equator.

More likely they will be presenting the awards for "Best Sushi Restaurant" and "Best Wine Program" at next year's Rammy's...and then winning them both!

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What Don neglects to mention is that said chef and GM will have to find the Northwest Passage and/or make a long side-trip. Geoducks are native primarily to the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

That's right. I remember digging them up on the beach when I was a little boy. However, despite the often quirky local customs of Puget Sound, we never "worked them up" our asses.

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They sell those at the Great Wall Supermarket in Merrifield. It made me ascared to look at it. :unsure:

On one of Jean-Louis Palladin's visits to the David Letterman Show, he brought 2 gooey-duks with him. One to cook and one to give to the audience to pass around. By the time the clam got to the second row, it became <ahem> aroused, shall we say. The looks on those people's faces was priceless.

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That evening, you are to slice it and serve it as sashimi, because that geoduck, that shriveled up, air-rotated, desecrated, sunken, defiled geoduck, will still be leagues, leaps-and-bounds, miles-and-miles better than any of the God-forsaken dogshit you served to us last week in your pathetic con-job operation you call a restaurant, you third-rate amateur petty-criminal hacks.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Did the napkins smell okay?

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I walked into a silent Sushi Kappo Kawasaki, empty except for one table. I waited a bit, and then wondering if I perhaps hadn't yet officially entered the restaurant, moved two steps closer to the bar. After a time, the GM approached. I had a reservation for five, I said, but my friends weren't here yet.

"Name?"

At that point, I fumbled around, saying something like, 'I'm not sure who called for the reservation, so I don't know which name it's un...'

She leaned forward and said, angrily:

"What?"

This was not the type of 'what' that means, "Excuse me, but would you please repeat that?" This was as if I had walked up to her house on a Sunday afternoon, rang the doorbell, and said, "Maam, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I have some terrible news: I just ran over your dog with my pickup truck."

"WHAT??"

I didn't realize it at the time, or should I say I wasn't willing to accept it at the time, but there's no doubting it: This was a "Get the hell out of my restaurant" what.

To be continued...

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[Methinks he is describing the same meal.]
Ya and forsooth, methinks you may be correct...so that raises the obvious question...um, what was that question again? Oh, why is it here being posted today at 10:10am? I'm having a French Roast bad trip...

Hey Don, now that I've recovered from the caffeine overdose, it's all right to delete the message I sent earlier that I didn't get a chance to ask you to delete to delete that message...(um, I think that's what I meant)...

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I think Rocks is just trying to scare people away so he can have the colorectal geoduck all to himself.
Nah, he's just being a tease, as usual. Presumably, he is going to actually EXPLAIN what prompted his previous "comments." Rocks is like the former WaPo TV critic, Tom Shales. They both soar to the greatest heights of literary invention when faced with something they truly, truly hate. (Think of all those reviews of Kathie Lee Gifford's Annual Christmas Show :unsure: )

While I would NEVER wish a bad meal on anyone, Rocks is another story . . .

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Shortly after I sat down, the second person in our party arrived at the nearly empty restaurant. We finally got the GMs attention, and when she came over, I said we'd like to order a bottle of sake. Did they have any junmai daiginjo?

She left and returned a few minutes later, with an angry look on her face.

"We have one junmai daiginjo tonight."

I nodded my head, meekly, waiting for more information.

"It's two hundred forty dollars."

A slight exhale of tension and an even slighter smile on my part. "That's too expensive. Do you have a list of sakes I could see?"

She looked me right in the eye with scorn, shook her head, and said, "No."

"What sakes do you have," I asked.

She pointed at the bar, said "the ones over there," and then stormed away from the table.

When she returned several minutes later, I asked her if she had any junmai ginjo, the next level down from junmai daiginjo. She said they had one, and walked away yet again.

She came back several minutes later, this time holding a bottle. "This is the junmai ginjo. It costs one hundred eight dollars."

Thinking about the rest of the evening, I didn't question any further. "Okay, we'll take it," I said.

And take it we did.

To be continued...

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To be continued...

I've eaten at this place once, about four years ago. I walked in on a whim not knowing a thing about it and, like Don, was practically alone in the place. Having just returned from my first trip to Japan, I was reassured by the awkward formality, which I took, perhaps naively, as a sign of authenticity. By now this sounds heretical, but I actually thought the sushi was quite good and the service fine.

BTW, in early August I'm spending a few days on a beach in the Pacific Northwest, where I plan to explore my newly discovered relationship with geoducks.

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Hey, where's Kliman for the defense? It was on his 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants list.
Perhaps this is what Rocks ran into:
WHAT YOU WON'T. Unless you're a regular, you'll have to return several times before you command the kind of attention you deserve from the staff. And there's the rub--the prices can be as off-putting as the indifferent, gruff reception you may receive.
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My friend and I were nursing a glass of sake when the rest of our party arrived. The GM came back to the table - a small, intimate six-top - and addressed them directly.

"Would you like something to drink?" she asked.

One of the new arrivals replied, "I think for now we'll get some glasses and have some sake."

She looked as if my friend had just committed a crime. "You're going to share theirs?"

With a slight shoulder shrug, he gave a simple, innocent answer. "Yes."

Inexplicably, she returned with two more glasses for the three new guests.

My friend asked, "Could we get one more glass?"

"You want three glasses?"

For the next few minutes, we had some sake and looked through the menu. A kaiseki was $60, and we had decided to get five of them. The chef himself then came over from the sushi bar, holding a pad of paper and a pen.

"Are you ready to order?"

We closed our menus, and said "we'll have five kaiseki menus," turning ourselves over to him.

He didn't miss a beat. "Which kaiseki?"

For a couple of seconds we weren't quite sure what he meant, but one of us asked, "What do you have?"

Without any emotion, he stood there holding the pen up to the notepad, and said, "Eighty dollars, one hundred dollars, and one hundred ten dollars."

It was an intensely uncomfortable moment. Not everyone in our dining party knew each other, but at that point we all knew one thing: We had reached a critical juncture in the meal. We had come to Sushi Kappo Kawasaki to dine, and to dine well. The way the chef phrased the question, it was clear that if we went low-end, we were getting table scraps.

As the chef stood there, waiting, with pen pressed against notepad, our table fell silent for what seemed like an eternity. We took turns looking down, then looking at each other. Finally, one of us composed himself, and looked around toward the chef who was standing directly behind him.

Politely, quietly, and with an almost sheepish deference, my friend said, "which one has the toro, the shima aji, the aori ika..."

The chef blinked twice in succession but otherwise showed no response. After a few seconds of silent consideration, he looked down at my friend with the same stone-cold detachment that an assassin displays in the split-second before he pulls the trigger.

"One hundred twenty dollars," he said.

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The chef blinked twice in succession but otherwise showed no response. After a few seconds of silent consideration, he looked down at my friend with the same stone-cold detachment that an assassin feels during the split-second before he pulls the trigger.

"One hundred twenty dollars," he said.

And so you blinked and.....
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To be continued...

We'll be right back after station identification and this word from our sponsor:

"Say, do you like seafood? Well guess what? There's a brand new fast-food seafood restaurant right here in Memphis. You probably know the name already. That's right, Jiffy Squid." "*"

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Now I know how the people in 19th century England felt, buzzing with mad anticipation for the next installment of David Copperfield or Vanity Fair. What will happen next? Will Little Nell die? Will Amelia ever grow a brain? Will Rocks turn the tables on the manager and slice her as thinly as geoduck sashimi?

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Knowing the 5 people involved in this dinner, I can't believe 5 "grizzled restaurant veterans" sat there and took this abuse and ate that crappy food and paid the outrageous price at the end. The initial attitude Rocks received upon arrival would have sent me running out the door. For those of you familiar with the food website called Opinionated About, I can't believe that Rocks didn't stand up and bellow that now famous Plotnickian quote: "I'M A BLOGGER! I'LL WRITE ABOUT THIS!!".

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We had come to Sushi Kappo Kawasaki to dine, and to dine well.

Herein lies your error, for it is abundantly clear to me, from my time as an international demimondaire, that it was no restaurant into which you sought entry, but rather an emporium of a more salacious--no matter the salt or umami (me papi) content of the finest of master-fermented soys--product. Had you sought an urchin of another variety other than sea, you might have been well rewarded.

Kawasaki--Let the Good Times Roll. Shouldn't it have been obvious?

Just as the most expensive of Hawaiin greens fees are laughingly cheap to the most average of salaryman, so do the lost wagers on a mulliganed, short-putted, triple bogeyed, three-par hole of a sushi-fronted massage parlor--which seem so expensive to us--seem so inconsequential to a DC-stationed international banker or diplomat. $120 per person--for a party of five!!!--especially including "fatty belly", should have been a real bargain for all, and an evening never to be forgotten.

Don't feel ripped off, just be thankful, Don, that it doesn't take you three tee-offs (or the frantic club selection of a well-heeled, low-sparked caddy) to make it into the back, or the front, nine.

Next time try the basement of Cafe Japone for some thousand dollar triple-cut-eight-balls and-still-up-for-a-game-of-some-kind-of-pool-after-last-call-at-Lima-oh-ohh-lots-of-cops-on-K-Street refugees.

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The chef blinked twice in succession but otherwise showed no response. After a few seconds of silent consideration, he looked down at my friend with the same stone-cold detachment that an assassin displays in the split-second before he pulls the trigger.

"One hundred twenty dollars," he said.

tick-tock....tick-tock....and?

ETA: VENTWORM!!! :)

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