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


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Kotobuki was awesome last night. I love the place. It's just so small and cozy and hits the spot for sushi.

The toro was FANTASTIC last night - you must go and get some TODAY if possible. Holy moly, it just melted in your mouth and was soooo incredibly rich that I nearly fainted with pleasure.

Ok, not fainted but I sure as heck stopped talking for a good minute!

Last night's damage = 30 pieces of sushi, sashimi and maki. Yippy!

And if you like green tea, the green tea mochi will hit the spot!

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Can somebody help me to understand? Kotobuki is a nice place for sushi, yes. But two stars from the Washingtonian and two and a half from Sietsema?

I was excited to try the place because there’s nothing better than great bargain sushi, but I have been under whelmed on both visits. The most recent trip was last night. The food was good for the price. I had the eel kamamushi (I am not sure about the spelling) and for $15 it was a steal. The sizzling pot is layered with wonderfully seasoned rice, vegetables, and slices of eel. It comes with three little side dishes (burdock with carrot and watercress with bonito flakes were two of mine) 5 pieces of sashimi and a bowl of miso. Great! My date ordered a bunch of nigiri and a few rolls. The fish was fresh but unremarkable, the uni a little less than fresh. We also shared the steamed monkfish liver, which had a clean flavor balanced perfectly with slices of cucumber and seaweed in a soy/dashi vinaigrette.

So here lies the rub. There is no effort made at decor or ambiance. I love the Beatles, but I don’t want to hear it at an uncomfortable volume while I’m trying to have a pleasant dinner conversation in a tiny one-room restaurant. I understand barebones, but the specials are photocopies taped to the dingy walls. The door to the fish fridge was covered in fishy finger prints. I am usually not anal enough to notice something like that, but it was right in front of my face.

They over charged us, which was hard to figure out because we never got an itemized receipt (this could happen anywhere, so it is only an issue when added to the larger picture).

I like cheap sushi spots, who doesn’t? But I am pressed to understand the basis for the critic’s accolades. What am I overlooking? Could someone help me make sense of it all?

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Obviously, it's preferable for a restaurant to have both good food and good ambiance. But given a choice between the two, which one would you take?

I suspect most would forgo the latter.

It sounds like you enjoyed most of the food, and even characterized it as a steal. I think that warrants at least two stars under the Sietsema system. As for the Beatles music, well, one person's annoyance is another's charming quirk. Reasonable minds can disagree.

I had another enjoyable lunch on Saturday with some relatives. Loved the steamed monkfish liver pate. The scallops and toro were great as usual. The uni seemed fine to me. If anything was slightly off IMO, it was the mackerel. We got out of there for about $17 each after tax/tip. As usual, can't wait to go back.

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I went to Kotobuki for the first time on Friday, and let me say that it was phenomenal for the value, and very good overall.

We got a couple of rolls- I think Yellowtail and Spicy Tuna- along with some nigiri and sashimi- toro, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, flounder, and lobster. The rolls were good. I like to usually get one or two. I guess my only complaint is that there weren't many "fancy rolls" that combined different fishes. But when you pay less than $3 a roll, you can't really complain about that.

As for the nigiri and sashimi, that was phenomenal. Everything was really fresh. The yellowtail was so buttery, as was the toro. The salmon was also excellent. The lobster was ok, so I probably won't get that again.

We ate lots of sushi, each had some sake, got a bowl of rice and some miso soup. This was all $40, plus a tip. What a deal.

Another small complaint- the place was crowded on a Friday night at 8 pm- some people even had to wait. I know word is travelling about Kotobuki and 8 pm Friday is a crowded time, so maybe going on a weeknight would be better.

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I made my first visit last week as well. I'd only be repeating what nearly everyone else has said if I go into detail, so I'll just say that anyone who enjoys sushi needs to check Kotobuki out. If you're looking for dishes that are a step above (or more) of DC's other sushi restaurants - and at a discount to boot - you need to heed most everyone's advice and pay them a visit.

I stuffed myself with high-quality items which reminded me of visits to Vancouver and some of the better sushi spots in NYC. Can't wait to go back... I wish they were open for lunch on Mondays and I could head that way now!

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Ho, hum. Another dinner at Kotobuki. As usual, ridiculous amounts of sushi consumed, all of it pristinely fresh. Fabulous toro. Spicy scallop roll. Eel.

Under $20/person, with tax and generous tip.

Friday night at 6:30, no wait for a table. There was a small wait an hour later when we left. If this wasn't a 30 minute drive for me, I'd be here at least weekly.

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Plenty of food for $20. Excellent toro, anything with eel, and I liked the shu mai. Only one complaint. I'm a big fan of salmon skin rolls, and the one they served last night at Kotobuki had far too much salmon meat on it to make it appealing. Broiled till dry salmon wrapped up in rice and nori is not particularly appealing.

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The place was hopping last night, with every table taken by couples of families, and a crowd of sweatshirted youths lolling on the stairs waiting for a large table. Grabbed two seats at the bar and tore through the menu with a vengeance.

In the maki department, eel and avocado never disappoints, as I love them both, and even more so together. Spicy scallop roll had an interesting tint of fresh herbs, perhaps chives, that added a fragrant zing to the slippery scallop flesh. We also enjoyed a pile of nigiri too numerous to count, but I do remember fantastic tuna, chewy octopus and more gorgeous, fat, sweet eel.

For dessert, we called for double ice cream (green tea and red bean) coated in something frozen and a red bean cake. Amusingly, the only utensils served with ice cream are toothpicks. You can ask for soup spoons, of course, and Jenni will fetch them, but the look of "you baka gaijin" will be written all over her face. Let me tell you, so much fun can be had by impaling frozen ice cream balls on a pick, holding them up, and licking them in strategic places to make sure melting is spread evenly and avoid plopping a dripping wad of cream in your lap.

Red bean cake is four tiny but deliciously chewy, crunchy wedges, consistency is somewhat like dryish pecan pie in rice pape. Yummy. In and out in an hour, just what I needed for an unassuming Thursday night to save my energy for the weekend.

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Kotobuki rocks, HOWEVER, I've one small (but important gripe).

They changed the green tea ice cream mochi! It's not the same thing that it was before, a small jewel of a dessert that tasted NOTHING like the frozen pucks you get at the Asian markets. It tasted homemade, and it was soft and perfect.

These new ones they have are too perfumey (overwhelming smell of jasmine) and the mochi has the texture of firm taffy and not the gently chewiness of the original mochi. And the ice cream lacks the matcha flavor that I love, crave and NEED after a great dinner at Kotobuki.

The yellowtail rolls remain stellar.

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I recently tried the oshizushi. (Described here in the Feb. Washingtonian - scroll about halfway down the page). It was really good - even as a takeout order - and something I'd definitely order again, although probably not every time I go there.

The marination (is that a word?) sweetens the mackerel up a bit so it is not as strong as the straight mackerel sashimi. I think it's on the regular menu, as it's not listed on the sushi 'checklist'.

Definitely worth a splurge (well - splurge being a relative term when compared to the rest of the menu <_< )

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Kotobuki rocks, HOWEVER, I've one small (but important gripe).

They changed the green tea ice cream mochi!  It's not the same thing that it was before, a small jewel of a dessert that tasted NOTHING like the frozen pucks you get at the Asian markets.  It tasted homemade, and it was soft and perfect.

These new ones they have are too perfumey (overwhelming smell of jasmine) and the mochi has the texture of firm taffy and not the gently chewiness of the original mochi.  And the ice cream lacks the matcha flavor that I love, crave and NEED after a great dinner at Kotobuki.

The yellowtail rolls remain stellar.

They must have changed it a while ago. I tried one and it was exactly as you described it above and I wondered what all the fuss was about.

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The last time I had the original ice cream mochi was about 2 months ago. I had this newer, ickier mochi about 2 weeks ago. I don't know when they changed it, but I wish they'd change it back to the original one. It's such a bummer that they offer these perfume bombs now.

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The last time I had the original ice cream mochi was about 2 months ago.  I had this newer, ickier mochi about 2 weeks ago.  I don't know when they changed it, but I wish they'd change it back to the original one.  It's such a bummer that they offer these perfume bombs now.

I had the ickier version many months ago. I wonder if they get them from more than one source...

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My icky one was dome shaped like a mini steak and kidney pie and wasn't nice and round like a good mochi. It was more white than green while the tasty one was a dark green. From the taste of the "good" mochi, I really thought they made it in house. They probably go to H Mart or something and pick up a pack. I'll just stick with some sashimi for dessert next time or head to Black Salt.

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I tried Kotobuki for the first time last week with my parents. We all loved our food. Our server recommended that we try the Shumai dumplings. They were amazing. I have never tasted any with that much flavor. As others said, the scallop sushi and toro were excellent. We also enjoyed the "Virginia" roll -- a bit like a california roll wrapped on the outside with salmon.

They are in the process of putting in a large bay window in the front (the hammering is likely all done by now). It made for a little bit of a noisy dinner, but it will definitely brighten the place up. We went on a Wednesday night right at 5:00 p.m. By the time we left, there were people waiting for tables.

This was the first restaurant I tried after joining the board and it definitely passed muster!

Catherine

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They are in the process of putting in a large bay window in the front (the hammering is likely all done by now).  It made for a little bit of a noisy dinner, but it will definitely brighten the place up. 

We had a late dinner there last night, and there is plywood and duct tape where a new window has yet to be installed. Kind of a mixed bag, food and service-wise.

The toro and hamachi were very good. My appetizer, ankimo (monkfish liver pate), was overcooked and lacked flavor, and arrived simultaneously with my sashimi, both of which were set down several minutes before any food appeared for the others at my table. Apps ordered by my husband and daughter were delivered after their sushi was served. We skipped dessert.

This all reminded me why I prefer sitting at a sushi bar instead of at a table in most Japanese restaurants. I retain control of the pacing of my meal by ordering one thing at a time.

At least it was inexpensive and close enough to home that we could walk there.

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I finally got a chance to try Kotobuki. I think the liliputian quality of the place is charming...my old studio in Dupont may have been bigger than the dining room, actually. Service-wise, I agree with the above, it's nothing special, but the service is friendly enough and correct. The sushi ranged from good to very good. Since I had a vegetarian with me, I couldn't escape ordering vegetable rolls, which are unexciting. My personal favorites, though, were the uni, which really had a delightful play between the creamy texture and the mildly bitter flavor, and the scallop. I'd recommend this place to anyone who is serious about sushi and is afraid to break the bank. It reminded me of some of the joints in San Fran I used to frequent.

We had a late dinner there last night, and there is plywood and duct tape where a new window has yet to be installed. Kind of a mixed bag, food and service-wise.

Oh, and I am glad to report that all windows are now intact!

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Plenty of food for $20. Excellent toro, anything with eel, and I liked the shu mai. Only one complaint. I'm a big fan of salmon skin rolls, and the one they served last night at Kotobuki had far too much salmon meat on it to make it appealing. Broiled till dry salmon wrapped up in rice and nori is not particularly appealing.

Totally forgetting my past experience with Kotobuki's salmon skin roll, I ordered it again today at lunch.

It's just as foul as ever. Again, anything with eel was just killer.

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/bump/

Kotobuki continues to please and be a ridiculous value. Last night I managed to spend $20 all by myself, but that was for 12 pieces half of which were $2 items. I did a price comparison with another local, averaged price sushi place and saved at least $10. At 7pm the place was just starting to fill up, although I don't understand why it isn't constantly busy. For the price and quality (salmon skin roll not withstanding) I don't understand why you would go elsewhere for a average Saturday night of sushi.

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We went last week late at night. @ people there and one pick up order. We ate amazingly well, including 2 orders of ankimo, several orders of other appetizers and lots of sushi and rolls. Much sake (large and small hot, one cold) was consumed as well and the total bill was $76.00

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We went last week late at night. @ people there and one pick up order. We ate amazingly well, including 2 orders of ankimo, several orders of other appetizers and lots of sushi and rolls. Much sake (large and small hot, one cold) was consumed as well and the total bill was $76.00

The ankimo wag good... eel roll superb... white tuna (escalar?) insane! And is there some way to change their fixation from the Beatles to say, Stan Getz or Luciano Pavarotti?!?!?!?

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The ankimo wag good... eel roll superb... white tuna (escalar?) insane! And is there some way to change their fixation from the Beatles to say, Stan Getz or Luciano Pavarotti?!?!?!?

yes, I had excellent white tuna and some incredible scallops there a few weeks ago

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yes, I had excellent white tuna and some incredible scallops there a few weeks ago

They were closing up. "Last orderl" said the waitress. I said 2 pieces scallops. Kay (wife of 17+ years) said nothing. The two pieces of scallop (my second order of the evening) arrived and Kay said "Can I have one?"

"NO!"

"Just a bite...." then looking in my eyes... "Ohhhh OK, next time I guess I'll just ahve to order my own!"

Damn right!!!

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It's been a couple of months since we've last been to Kotobuki so they thought we'd stop in for a quick bite yesterday. The restaurant was full so my husband, 3 year old and I sat at the bar. After our order went in, Mr. Abe looked at us and said, "No egg?" We looked at him quizzically and he looked over at our daughter, saying "You didn't order egg?" It turns out that we had accidentally marked the sheet for fried bean curd, instead of the Tamago that we normally get for our daughter.

It just blows my mind that as busy as that place is when we go in, that despite the fact that we always sit at a table, that he actually remembers what we get for the toddler.

Oh, and the sushi was fantastic as usual.

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We looked at him quizzically and he looked over at our daughter, saying "You didn't order egg?" It turns out that we had accidentally marked the sheet for fried bean curd, instead of the Tamago that we normally get for our daughter.

Wow, your toddler daughter knows what she wants at a sushi bar. At nine she's going to be questioning your wine selections.

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Wow, your toddler daughter knows what she wants at a sushi bar.

When she was little, my daughter would only eat kappamaki (cucumber roll); then she graduated to California rolls and anago (eel). She loved sitting at the sushi bar and it didn't cost much to take her along. We would amuse ourselves by quizzing each other on the Japanese names for all of the fish. Now she eats all of them. At least it's not as expensive at Kotobuki, but her favorites are toro and hamachi, which cost more than $1 a piece.

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Wow, your toddler daughter knows what she wants at a sushi bar. At nine she's going to be questioning your wine selections.

You don't want to even know how embarassing it is to go to your mother-in-law's house for dinner and have your child refuse to eat the meat because it's overcooked by her standards.

The last time we went to Kotobuki we sat next to a table with two kids, maybe ages 8 and 10, who ordered toro, tuna, and salmon. They also tried some of the adults' mackeral during the meal. I was totally amazed.

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Stopped in earlier this evening, the place was busier than I've ever seen it. My companion had earlier informed me that Kotobuki was mentioned as a bargain destination in the recent issue of Oprah Magazine!

There were about a dozen college students outside, who apparently decided takeout was the best option when they realized there were probably more of them than seats in the house.

But despite the business, I'm ready to say it was the tastiest stuff I've ever had there. Rock on, Mr. Abe!

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I had a very scary experience Friday night that I need to share. We walked in just before 8 and got the last two seats available at the bar.

As we began choosing our meal I realized that something sounded wrong, strange, off. It was a female voice singing in the background. The Beatles were not playing!!! :lol:

I wasn't sure how to get through the meal so I tried to turn my focus to where it should be: the food. It was hard until halfway through I heard the familiar sounds of Yellow Submarine, and all was right again in Kotobuki world.

The fish was excellent. My last two trips the hamachi (yellow tail) has been unbelievable. Abe didn't prepare our nigiri which may explain why they weren't well formed but the quality of the fish made up for the rice.

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My last two trips the hamachi (yellow tail) has been unbelievable.

We dropped by on Saturday night and agree on the hamachi. The white tuna was also better than ever. It may have had more to do with the fact that we were really hungry!

I'm convinced that the kamemeshi set (including a bowl of miso, a generous portion of sashimi, and various tasty pickled sides and salads) represents one of the best values around to ward off the bone-chilling cold.

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I've only been once, but eager to go back! Just curious, do they happen to have black sesame ice cream? Does anyone have sesame ice cream for that matter?? I haven't been able to find it anywhere...

I'm pretty positive that Kotobuki does not.

On another note....if you are looking to cause mass havok on a Saturday night, order take out around 8 and then try to get up the stairs to pick it up. Heh-the people waiting in line will curse you and your future grandchildren.

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I'm convinced that the kamemeshi set (including a bowl of miso, a generous portion of sashimi, and various tasty pickled sides and salads) represents one of the best values around to ward off the bone-chilling cold.

If you can get there at lunch, the kamemeshi is even cheaper.

When the yellowtail at Kotobuki is at its best, it is like no yellowtail I've ever had before. Sounds like there's a good batch in now - I'll have to make a trip.

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My buddies all loved this place when I took them there for dinner this past Sunday evening, but perhaps the best compliment came from my friend who had just recently returned to the U.S. after a year-long stint in Tokyo. "This place smells like a Japanese restaurant is supposed to."

Tone Change: OK - although my friends were impressed, dinner was not really what I've been used to whenever I've gone during the week. Perhaps it's because it was a Sunday night and they were swamped, but most of the sushi I had was merely decent (the textures seemed a bit off) except for the amazing spicy scallop roll and white tuna nigiri. We also ordered the mountain vegetable kamameshi which I found to be a bit bland. I think I'll stick with the sweeter eel version from now on.

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My wife and I have been wanting to get to Kotobuki for ever. We were thinking of doing an early dinner there with the baby. Anyone know if they have high chairs?

No high chairs but they are otherwise child friendly. We used to get a bowl of rice with a couple pieces of tamago (egg omelet) on top when our daughter was a wee toddler and it would keep her occupied until we finished our dinner.

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Went to Kotobuki on Friday night (my first time there) because reading this thread had given me a serious sushi craving. Got there around 7:30 and had a 10-minute wait on the stairs which was shorter than I thought it would be. We were seated at a table and went to town. My husband and I can put away some sushi, let me tell you.

I had the seaweed salad and he had the miso soup to start. The seaweed salad was just right - cool and crunchy. My husband seemed to like the soup but didn't comment that it was any different from miso soup you'd get anywhere else. Then the sushi - we had salmon, tuna, flounder, mackerel, white tuna, toro (which was amazing - melted in my mouth), and sea urchin nigiri, and the spicy scallop, spicy tuna, tuna with avocado, and yellowtail with avocado rolls (and two others that I can't remember). The fish was great - very very fresh. This was our first time having sea urchin - it had a very smooth, creamy texture and it tasted just like the ocean. Delicious. I like the fact that the sushi here is not huge - it is easily eaten in one bite. Some places make their sushi so big! My only complaint about the sushi was that the rice was a little overcooked and gummy but that is a minor point.

We got out of there having had close to 30 nigiri and 6 rolls for about $75 after tax and tip. It was so inexpensive that I felt like I had stolen something. We will definitely be back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Rocks.

My how things have changed since I first wrote this - Kotobuki has lines down the stairs, and that greedy Hisao Abe had the nerve to raise the price of his uni, toro, and yellowtail by 50 cents. Some of the rolls have even skyrocketed to $3.50 (click). I think everyone in town should boycott Kotobuki.

That way, I'll be able to secure a seat at the sushi bar, where three of their best nigiri - scallops, flounder, and white tuna - remain priced at $1.00. The mere existence of Kotobuki makes it very, very difficult to justify "going out for sushi" at the vast majority of area Japanese restaurants, running up a $40 tab per person, and leaving hungry.

You can rearrange the letters in "Kotobuki" as Kooki Tub. I'm not sure what significance that has, but I thought I'd mention it.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Hah, just eat there today with the girlfriend [who's from Seattle, & is extremely picky about her fish & rightly so as I've had seafood in Seattle restaurants as well, excellent!].

Really good stuff. Seaweed salad, miso soup, Shumai [steamed shrimp] dumplings, and to top it off a random sampling of nigiri and sashimi. And CHEAP.

Was going to bump this thread [hadn't seen it in ages, only to find Don recently did]. Thanks for reminding us how good of a place this is for the value/quality.

If you love sushi, or have a friend that does, bring them here.

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I had dinner there last night. I agree with Don that the rice is not up to the rest of the experience. The Kinpira and Miso are great. The Ankimo was a little dull in flavor but good overall. Of the sushi I had, the white tuna (escaolar I think) was superb, the fatty yellow tail and scallps only a little less so. I had to ask, but they do have ume shisho rolls which are a perfec t finish to your meal. The mackeral was only OK and the hirame (flounder) a little insipid. Alll in all a great meal for $50 (including a large sake).

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Kotobuki has always been above criticism, and rightfully so given it's price, but I'm going to go ahead and throw a little dart.

Tonight confirmed what I saw on my previous visit: Chef Abe is using too much rice, and the rice itself isn't of the highest order. The sushi doesn't need more fish; just less rice, as the nigiri is buffet-style thick these days.

The scallops weren't themselves this evening, some being browner than others, but most other items were good to very good: flounder, white tuna, fatty tuna, eel, fried tofu, yellowtail-avocado roll, spicy-tuna-avocado roll. Seaweed salad, shunmai, and sake were all just fine, as was the final bill.

I've always said that Kotobuki is some of the best sushi in town regardless of price, but lately I'm thinking that Kotobuki is some of the best sushi in town because of the price. It's a subtle difference, but an important one. Has some of the bloom come off of Kotobuki's flower of late?

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I've always said that Kotobuki is some of the best sushi in town regardless of price, but lately I'm thinking that Kotobuki is some of the best sushi in town because of the price. It's a subtle difference, but an important one. Has some of the bloom come off of Kotobuki's flower of late?

I live around the corner from Kotobuki, so I have been eating there occasionally since it first opened. In those early days, it was pretty empty. Now there is almost always a waiting line headed down the stairs. I have to say that from the very beginning, pretty much the only thing worth writing home about was the $1 per piece price. Now most of the good stuff costs a lot more than that. Compared to supermarket sushi, it's better. Compared to run-of-the-mill places like Matuba and Haneda, it's about the same quality (meh) but cheaper. So sorry--but all of the fish is pre-cut. It's not pristinely fresh and out-of-this-world delicious. It's just...okay. Having eaten fabulous sushi on a regular basis in Los Angeles, I discovered Sushi-Ko when I moved here, which is almost as good as was my local neighborhood sushi bar in Santa Monica. Sushi-ko is mediocre, compared to the best sushi I have had in L.A., at Mori. My basic feeling is, I walk over to Kotobuki when I don't feel like cooking and nobody is super hungry and it's a weeknight and I don't want to spend much money. But when I really crave good sushi, I go to Sushi-ko and dream about Mori.

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The Eel Kamameshi and Unadon Set at Kotobuki are both $17. The other evening, they came with the exact same sides: a good bowl of miso soup, followed by a square plate containing four round bowls, each containing a different little mound of food. Three of the four were salads (fermented mushroom, seaweed, etc.), and the fourth was sashimi: tuna and flounder.

I remain amazed at how good the flounder sashimi is here, and remain bored with the non-fatty tuna. An extra order of fatty-tuna and sea-urchin sushi ($2.50 a piece) arrived at the same time, and while the fatty tuna looked terrific, it was only average; the sea urchin was fresh and tasted clean. The sushi rice continues to be problematic, with too much hard-pressed rice being used for the fish, and the overall flavor dominated by sweet vinegar.

I remember when I first started going to Kotobuki I didn't care for the rice. Over by the bus depot, Sushi Aoi was serving $1.00 happy-hour sushi. Back then it seemed like Kotobuki had better fish, and Sushi Aoi had better rice. Then for perhaps several years, Kotobuki's rice seemed like it had improved, but no longer.

While the eel kamameshi and unadon both contain predominantly eel and rice, the presentation and emphasis of each are different. If you like a crispy crust on your rice, the kamameshi keeps getting better and better as it continues to cook; the eel gets lost in the mix, difficult to visually distinguish from the large (and annoying) strips of ginger. The unadon is a simpler affair, with the marinated eel laid atop a bowl of white rice. The kamameshi emphasizes the rice; the unadon emphasizes the eel - it's a matter of what you're in the mood for. Seventeen dollars for either of these three-course meals is an excellent value.

If you're looking for a "Japanese moment," steer clear of the Sapporo. Even though the can trumpets "Japan's Oldest Brewery," and in big, bold letters says "Imported," if you read the fine print you'll see that the beer is brewed and bottled in ... Ontario, Canada.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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While others discuss what might be the best high-end Japanese restaurant in the city, let's not forget the affordable treat that is Kotobuki. If what you want is quick, high quality sushi at a good price, then I'm not sure there's a better option in the city (or at least I haven't had it). My wife and I took out a variety of items last night

-shumai (surprisingly good--I expected to be disappointed as I usually seem to be by shumai, but I wasn't)

-assorted pieces of nigiri--hamachi (the best single thing in the order), non-fatty tuna (good, but not great), salmon roe, and unagi

-three different rolls--a spicy white tuna roll, a salmon and avocado roll, and a soft-shell crab roll

Can I say there was anything in the order that made me go, "Wow"? Probably not (though the hamachi was outstanding), but the quality of the order as a whole for the very reasonable price of $37 has us vowing to not let it be so long until we order from Kotobuki again.

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