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Kaz Sushi Bistro, Chef Kazuhiro Okochi on 19th & I Streets NW Downtown

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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. biggrin.gif

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I went to Kaz yesterday for lunch for the first time in ages (even though I work two blocks away). Unlike my usual practice, this time I had a bento box lunch (the soft shell crab deal) along with a side of uni (sea urchin). It was all fantastic, though a bit pricy ($30 all in, with tax and tip). I need to go here more often.

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Next time you need to try the Tuna with Foie.  It is pure heaven.

Yeah, that's high on the list for when I eat there 'for real', but I think Wednesday lunch is officially going to be the Maki/Nigiri combo with maybe an a la carte order of maguro or buri nigiri tacked on for good measure.

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Yeah, that's high on the list for when I eat there 'for real', but I think Wednesday lunch is officially going to be the Maki/Nigiri combo with maybe an a la carte order of maguro or buri nigiri tacked on for good measure.

I have only ever been to Kaz for lunch, but I have a friend with a nice expense account who cannot get enough of the Tuna w/ Foie or the Otoro. We went for lunch during RW, not even realizing that it was RW, and had the best lunch we have ever had there. The softshell roll was simply sublime.

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Oh, and Kaz Sushi bistro

Very good, very inventive, things like tuna with mango purree or kalamata olice puree, or seared salmon with garlic chip.

For non sushi people- the short ribs, fried calamari and clams are very tasty.

For desert ice cream dumplings.

Ed

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I go to Kaz on a regular basis for lunch and occassionally for dinner. I love the consistent nature of the fish... always has been fresh and delicious. The Kaz special sushis are unique combinations of flavors like tuna with almonds. Plus they have great soy sauce.

Oh and I actually think lunch at Kaz is a bargain: two rolls equals about $10 plus you get a bowl of miso soup.

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grabbed lunch there on Friday and yes, its good....had the sushi/sashimi bento box which came with miso soup and a nice seaweed salad.....good stuff

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We have always loved Kaz. While there are many new wave offerings, the approach to sushi is rooted in tradition. We always eat at the bar and order order by order. If you drink god cold sake and eat a lot of sushi, it can easily add up, but we do it more than we should because its so good.

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Wait...what? Did I read that right? What comes in a shortrib bento box?

Signed,

Intrigued

I very much like Kaz for lunch, particularly the shortrib bento box and all the sushi, it is a great bargin either way you go. I still prefer Sushi Ko for a night out however, but both are wonderful restaurants.

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This afternoon I saddled up to the bar and sat in front of Kaz with a friend. I am surprised that I can move after this feast. The daily specials were outstanding. They Horse Mackerel were not as oily as other mackerels and was brought to life by the lime topping, the Organic Pacific Salmon was soft, and pure in flavor, the Young Yellowtail was very flavorful, and more delicate than the adult of the species. We also tried the special roll, which was two pieces of shrimp tempura with avocado, it was good, but paled compared to the other specials.
As for the regular menu, I have not found any unagi in Washington that is better than what Kaz has. The Seared Sea Scallop with lemon salt is beautifully cut, it looks like a knot, and comes with the request from Kaz not to use soy sauce with it. It is on par with some of the best scallop dishes in the city, but far more simple than any other in its class. The Yellowtail belly is clean and luscious. And my sushi partner's favorite is the Tuna with foie gras is always a treat.
When we arrived just before noon there were only a handful of people in the restaurant, by the time we waddled out close to 1:00 there was a line out of the door. I just wish this restaurant was not on the other side of the city from the culinary wasteland where I work.

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See the prices of all the lunch specials went up ($12.25 across the board). Anybody had one lately to know if they are 'different' or just 'more expensive'?

All this sushi talk lately....

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I was there last week and enjoyed the Chicken-Katsu bento. Same high-quality, but with a newly-higher price (though no additional good eats).

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I had dinner there a week or so ago and it was good, but expensive. Of course I knew that going in, but it was still a bit of a shock. My favorite dish was a special of scallops with yuzu. Enjoyed a nice bottle of sake too.

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After a dental appointment downtown at 3, the rain poured down and traffic choked every intersection. I had a couple Manhattans at some bar (no cherry, no bitters, fuck you) then walked around in the rain like Ray Milland in "The Lost Weekend." I phoned the wife and said I couldn't make it home in this mess in time for dinner, which was only half true, as by then I had hatched a scheme to eat at Kaz and was therefore looking for any excuse to stay downtown anyway. It was now 5:45 and Kaz didn't open 'til 6. So I went to Franz Bader and looked at books on Japanese furniture and woodworking tools, a fitting aesthetic prelude to what I knew would be a wonderful meal.

I entered with a Japanese couple who also had been waiting in the rain at the entrance. I took a seat at the bar and ordered the "chef's parade" of six courses. Sashimi of toro in gazpacho showed the typical Kaz inventiveness and wit--strange that some of the best gazpacho I've had recently should come from a Japanese restaurant. The sashimi was immaculate. Flounder in juso, honey and seaweed was a bright festival of flavors, all beautifully harmonized and many of which seemed to echo in the following dish of scallop sashimi with juso and red onion, which was presented in a scallop shell. Next came morsels of sautéed salmon in a kind of mirepoix with diced tomato. The deep and rich flavor of this dish was welcome after the bracing acidic notes of the first three. Next came a dish that the chef kindly agreed to include in my parade: little-neck clam tempura with salt and wasabi. The tempura was a bit heavy, but still retained a delightful texture. I found myself enjoying the slight chewyness of the clams. Then came the only off note of the evening: sautéed slices of tenderloin in miso. It was brought sizzling to the table, like a fajita. But the miso had burnt in the pan and imparted a vile flavor to the dish. I came very close to sending this dish back but decided to let it pass. The following nigiri provided welcome relief, especially the charred bonito garnished with a chip of garlic, which brought out the flavor of the fish and accented its char perfectly; flounder and scallop were also highlights of this carefully prepared set of six selections. Dessert was a kind of coffee gelato served in a tapioca. The tiny beads that made up the tapioca had the gelatinous but firm texture of caviar. Meanwhile, Kaz himself had arrived and the bar began to bustle with activity as he and his two or three assistants began to put out the orders for the rapidly filling house. As I watched the pros with their blades, I couldn't help thinking of the book on Japanese woodworking tools I had looked at only an hour before. A little glass of complimentary plum wine provided a fitting end to this parade, which despite the weather managed not to get rained on. So much for getting stranded downtown.

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Bo, Thank you for chiming in. I hope the restaurant is a great success.

However, I'd like to elaborate on my comments regarding Kaz. The portions at Wasabi do not equate to those at Kaz. At Kaz, I have two rolls at lunch. My bill is $10. My rolls consist of 6 pieces each. I also receive a cup of Miso with my lunch.

Interesting to see that their lunch prices are low. Have you been to Kaz for dinner? The sushi ranged from good to very good, but it was one expensive meal.

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I have been to Kaz for dinner on a number of occassions. I don't recall my tab being more than $30 a person. I love the special sushis they make like tuna and almond paste for dinner.

Though at lunch I tend to stick to two rolls and a complimentary bowl of miso. If I am really hungry at lunch I might get a salad or something. I think my total with tip at lunch is around $12. Even the first time I went to Kaz with a business associate, our bill was $45 for two including TORO. (my first time that lunch... you always remember your first :) ) And I was but-gusting full after that lunch...

To make it relevant to a discussion about Wasabi... Three sections of a roll equate to one serving. For me to get my typical sushi lunch of two rolls, I have to get 4 orders at Wasabi. Plus I have to buy my miso.

Straying a bit (OK way off Wasabi), looking at the online menu Kaz can be inexpensive if you order the normal items. Order up a bunch of the special dishes and it will not be a cheap meal.

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In addition to many other fine meals, Kaz treated me right for a Restaurant Week dinner last August. They offered a hot appetizer selection followed by a pick-three of seven or eight different sushi and sashimi options. Jack and I left full, drunk and happy.

The same can not be said of my lunch there Monday, as this was a rare Monday when I couldn't come back to the office half-twisted on sake. Moreover, their $20 lunch included the standard miso soup, salad, and a seven or eight pieces of nigiri paired with a California roll -- not exactly what I was looking for.

Nick and I, who both worked in Japanese restaurants and are probably not Kaz's target audience for restaurant week, scrapped the RW menu and decided to split the grilled octopus ($8) for an appetizer, then each got the sashimi plate ($19.50).

It came with a three pieces of dark, beautiful tuna, three pieces of salmon with lemon (I could see where the acid seared the fish), three pieces of flounder (I think), two pieces of surf clam and two pieces of scallop. The stars of the show, however, were the three rich, buttery pieces of yellowtail. I saved my last slice of yellowtail for the end, wanting the flavor to linger as I paid the bill. After letting the last bits slide away, I watched as Nick made some tough decisions on what to finish his meal with. Unsurprisingly, the yellowtail won out.

Great meal, but for restaurant week, stick with dinner.

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The bento boxes at lunch ($12, give or take) are such a great deal, and plenty of food, that the RW lunch menu always seems like overkill.

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Considering its location and reputation, you can have a great sushi meal for lunch for about $30 per person, incl. tax & tip. Stick to the Kaz specialties and you won't be disappointed. The fois gras tuna is excellent. I recall that soup is included in every meal.

They take a limited number of reservations for Noon, but nothing later. And if you have a noon reservation, be on time. They won't seat you past 12:10 or so. Policy to only seat you when the whole party has arrived, but I've gotten past that before.

I am meaning to go & sit at the sushi bar next time. Have only sat at a table in my half dozen or so trips.

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Considering its location and reputation, you can have a great sushi meal for lunch for about $30 per person, incl. tax & tip. Stick to the Kaz specialties and you won't be disappointed. The fois gras tuna is excellent. I recall that soup is included in every meal.

They take a limited number of reservations for Noon, but nothing later. And if you have a noon reservation, be on time. They won't seat you past 12:10 or so. Policy to only seat you when the whole party has arrived, but I've gotten past that before.

I am meaning to go & sit at the sushi bar next time. Have only sat at a table in my half dozen or so trips.

Ha! I have a great sushi lunch there for $10-$12! Two rolls and a miso soup. I feel like it is the best bargain in the city. :-)

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Went to Kaz for the first time last night...very nice!

We started with some braised short ribs which were falling apart awesome...the grilled baby octopus were very chewy and not so good. We ordered 4 selections of sushi: sea urchin, eel, seared salmon belly and scallops poached in sake...The salmon and scallops were melt in your mouth fantastic. we also had 2 rolls, yellow fin and tuna tartar, both were adequate but nothing too exciting. Saki of the month was servicable.

So some big hits and a couple misses, but I think with a couple of visits one can weed out the misses...hell I'd go back today for lunch to have the short ribs, salmon belly and scallops!

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scallops poached in sake

This ranks in the top 5 item I've ever eaten. It is amazing. The way the sushi chef cuts the scallop to lay it over the rice... the succulent meat... the packed rice... I need to get back & have it again.

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This ranks in the top 5 item I've ever eaten. It is amazing. The way the sushi chef cuts the scallop to lay it over the rice... the succulent meat... the packed rice... I need to get back & have it again.

Kaz's toro with foie gras poached in plum wine is the most addictive thing I've ever eaten.

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I've had a bunch of lunches at Kaz recently and the featured bento box of the day is a steal at around $12-13. Although some days of the week are better than others - Chicken Katsu (fried cutlet) with miso sauce was great whereas chicken terriyaki was not so great. Also the roll that comes with the featured box always seems to be salmon skin - which is ok, but not very exciting - the 2 pieces of nigri are better (1 salmon, 1 whitefish). Oh and the miso is very good. My new favorite is the signature salmon with mango puree which melts in your mouth. Good pick for people like me with a sweeth tooth. The edamame is good and a big portion to share. The age dashi tofu app is ok - sauce is good a flavorful, but the fried tofu isn't great - the tofu in this dish is usually silken whereas it was very firm here.

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