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Sushiko, Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase - The Original Glover Park Branch Is Now Closed


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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Trio of Burgundy Sorbet
In his New Years Eve fervor, Koji had decided to make a dessert with Champagne, and then he realized that they have tons of Burgundy on the wine list. Hence this dessert, a fitting ending to the brilliant savory courses at Sushi-Ko (this evening was the inauguration of the soup with grilled hirame and steamed ankimo, served with baby spinach in a broth brilliantly thickened only with kuzu starch).

The trio begins with an aspic of sparkling white Burgundy - a 2001 Michel Frères Blanc de Blancs - which Koji had to special-order, served with peeled and macerated white grapes. The charming server Kiyomi (who, out of sheer coincidence, happens to be Koji's wife!), threatened a lawsuit against me if I didn't completely finish each sorbet as I would logically progress in a Burgundy tasting: sparkling, white, and then red, the latter two wines being on their by-the-glass list. The White Burgundy aspic with White Burgundy sorbet was made with the 2003 Rijckaert Hautes Cotes de Nuits "Aux Herbeux," and the Red Burgundy aspic with Red Burgundy sorbet uses the 2001 Jean-Jacques Girard Bourgogne. This little burst of inspiration is a perfect ending to a meal of raw fish, and will set you back $7.50.

Which brings me to Komi. (Subject change).

But it's not really a subject change, because the first time I ever met the great chef Johnny Monis was at Sushi-Ko, where Koji introduced us. And it's not surprising that Komi is one of Koji's favorite restaurants, and it's also not surprising that the first time I met Sebastian Zutant was at the bar at Nectar, because there's a common thread running through all this: if the words elegance, finesse, detail, lightness, and complexity strike a chord with you, then Koji, Johnny, Sebastian, and our beloved duo Jamison Blankenship (whom we just lost to Bouley) and the immensely talented Jarad Slipp are already in your basic repertoire.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Being a Washingtonian and having known Daisuke for several years, I was sold on the red Burgundy and raw fish pairing many moons ago. In addition, he once told me that every great dish needs a certain amount of poison in it. He didn't mean poison literally, of course, but rather some small undertone of conflict that lends an edge of tension to the dish.

There is a small selection of aged red Burgundies on Sushi-Ko's list, but I generally agree that young, powerful Burgundies do not go as well with sashimi and sushi. Case in point: I was there a week ago, and brought a bottle of 1993 Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin which was breathtaking with every single portion of raw fish, from sweet shrimp topped with caviar, through uncontroversial tuna and salmon, all the way to sea urchin at the other end of the spectrum. (The time before that I brought a 1997 Freddy Mugnier Musigny which worked equally brilliantly (Sushi-Ko allows their patrons to bring their own wines for a $15-20 corkage fee.)) Having run out of the Drouhin, I ordered a half-bottle of 1999 Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay ($28) which was consumed towards the end of the meal, and it simply did not work as well because the fruit was too vibrant and the tannis were harder - from personal experience, I can vouch that aged, light-to-medium-weight red Burgundies work much better within this theory.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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There is a small selection of aged red Burgundies on Sushi-Ko's list, but I generally agree that young, powerful Burgundies do not go as well with sashimi and sushi. Case in point: I was there a week ago, and brought a bottle of 1993 Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin which was breathtaking with every single portion of raw fish, from sweet shrimp topped with caviar, through uncontroversial tuna and salmon, all the way to sea urchin at the other end of the spectrum."

I was just there last Sunday and was interested in trying Volnay, but instead was geared towards a Chambolle-Musigny. Boy, the food and wine were a heavenly revealing experience! It made me think—hmmm, I can have this everyday!

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"Enjoy wine today, tomorrow there may be none." - Plato. Or some other wise person, potentially from Ancient Rome or Greece.

It has therefore become a tradition of sorts to have a last dinner before leaving the country for a few weeks at a place certain to deliver a mindblowing experience .

"And another beautiful sendoff meal," she says gleefully, looking down at her 9 pm reservation at Sushi-Ko bar tonight.

drool.gifdrool.gifdrool.gifdrool.gif

Wine guidance much appreciated; will be field-tested tonight, Rissa :lol:

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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Trio of Burgundy Sorbet

In his New Years Eve fervor, Koji had decided to make a dessert with Champagne, and then he realized that they have tons of Burgundy on the wine list. Hence this dessert, a fitting ending to the brilliant savory courses at Sushi-Ko (this evening was the inauguration of the soup with grilled hirame and steamed ankimo, served with baby spinach in a broth brilliantly thickened only with kuzu starch).

The trio begins with an aspic of sparkling white Burgundy - a 2001 Michel Frères Blanc de Blancs - which Koji had to special-order, served with peeled and macerated white grapes. The charming server Kiyomi (who, out of sheer coincidence, happens to be Koji's wife!), threatened a lawsuit against me if I didn't completely finish each sorbet as I would logically progress in a Burgundy tasting: sparkling, white, and then red, the latter two wines being on their by-the-glass list. The White Burgundy aspic with White Burgundy sorbet was made with the 2003 Rijckaert Hautes Cotes de Nuits "Aux Herbeux," and the Red Burgundy aspic with Red Burgundy sorbet uses the 2001 Jean-Jacques Girard Bourgogne. This little burst of inspiration is a perfect ending to a meal of raw fish, and will set you back $7.50.

Which brings me to Komi. (Subject change).

But it's not really a subject change, because the first time I ever met the great chef Johnny Monis was at Sushi-Ko, where Koji introduced us. And it's not surprising that Komi is one of Koji's favorite restaurants, and it's also not surprising that the first time I met Sebastian Zutant was at the bar at Nectar, because there's a common thread running through all this: if the words elegance, finesse, detail, lightness, and complexity strike a chord with you, then Koji, Johnny, Sebastian, and our beloved duo Jamison Blankenship (whom we just lost to Bouley) and the immensely talented Jarad Slipp are already in your basic repertoire.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Being a Washingtonian and having known Daisuke for several years, I was sold on the red Burgundy and raw fish pairing many moons ago. In addition, he once told me that every great dish needs a certain amount of poison in it. He didn't mean poison literally, of course, but rather some small undertone of conflict that lends an edge of tension to the dish.

There is a small selection of aged red Burgundies on Sushi-Ko's list, and I generally agree that young, powerful Burgundies do not go as well with sashimi and sushi. Case in point: I was there a week ago, and brought a bottle of 1993 Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin which was breathtaking with every single portion of raw fish, from sweet shrimp topped with caviar, through uncontroversial tuna and salmon, all the way to sea urchin at the other end of the spectrum. (The time before that I brought a 1997 Freddy Mugnier Musigny which worked equally brilliantly (Sushi-Ko allows their patrons to bring their own wines for a $15-20 corkage fee.)) Having run out of the Drouhin, I ordered a half-bottle of 1999 Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay ($28) which was consumed towards the end of the meal, and it simply did not work as well because the fruit was too vibrant and the tannins were harder - from personal experience, I can vouch that aged, light-to-medium-weight red Burgundies work much better within this theory.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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"Enjoy wine today, tomorrow there may be none." - Plato. Or some other wise person, potentially from Ancient Rome or Greece.

It has therefore become a tradition of sorts to have a last dinner before leaving the country for a few weeks at a place certain to deliver a mindblowing experience .

"And another beautiful sendoff meal," she says gleefully, looking down at her 9 pm reservation at Sushi-Ko bar tonight.

drool.gifdrool.gifdrool.gifdrool.gif

Last Friday, small plates were the star of the night at the esteemed This Restaurant Next Door to Good Guys. I am sure that their sushi rock, too, but if you're dining there, I would really urge you to hit on the small dishes on the list. They are tiny little gems of flavor and goodness.

My grilled baby octopus with mango sauce packed a beautiful combo of smoky, firm flesh with a pleasantly acidic mango. Tuna tataki was just barely seared in a briefest of all encounters with the heat and oozed fresh, unctuous, pure taste. Crisped eel with balsamic reduction - mmmm, what can I say, I love eel any which way, and this is an ingredient that would shine if the kitchen has the presence of mind to leave it unmolested. These crispy flavorful bits were wonderful on their own, not that balsamic reduction took anything away.

Of course, then the desserts came along and all hell broke loose. Chocolate cake layered with mousse, fresh cream and rice crispies on top served in a martini glass...pure decadence. I shall return, and soon.

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I have reservations here tonight. Is there any chance of getting 3 seats in front of the chef at the sushi bar? Has anyone been recently?

Koji just got back from Dubai (yes, that Dubai) where he was helping Daisuke open a restaurant in the United Arab Emirates. He's in this week and working this evening. Go before 6 PM and you'll have a good chance at snagging a seat in his vicinity (you can request this when you walk in the door).

By the way, all the desserts at Sushi-Ko are now being made by Koji's charming wife, Kyomi Ito.

Also, if you like Inca Cola, or even if you don't, you have to order a Ramune (rah-moo-nay) which is about the coolest children's drink I have ever seen. It's worth the nominal cost just to examine the bottle.

Cheers,

Rocks(hrimp) Maki

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Also, if you like Inca Cola, or even if you don't, you have to order a Ramune (rah-moo-nay) which is about the coolest children's drink I have ever seen.  It's worth the nominal cost just to examine the bottle.

Wait....they have RAMUNE?! :lol: I'm there!
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I went to Sushi Ko again with my best friend and brother for a sort of mini-bachelor party this past Saturday. When I made our reservation I found out that Chef Terano was away on vacation but when we took our seats at the sushi bar we were pleased to find that the food and gastronomic magic show does not suffer in the least when Chef Terano is away.

I have dreams about that slab of fatty tuna behind the glass that looks almost like the most over the top super-marbled hunk of steak in existence. The soft shell crab tempura was outstanding with its perfect crunch and pure crab meat taste. Seared rare duck breast rivaled any preparation I've had. The simple mushroom soup settled and soothed our taste buds in between the thrilling rides of other courses. And all of the sushi and sashimi was utterly pristine.

All 3 of us went the Omikase route and enjoyed a couple of bottles of sake for a little over $100/head tax and tip included. It was an amazing way to start our night (we ended the night at BdC if that gives you any indication of our final condition).

Sushi GO!

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I went to Sushi Ko again last night and had some of the freshest monkfish liver.

It was steamed and then topped with grated daikon and yuzu.

Yum! Oh, and the salmon roe with a raw quail egg in the center is a adventure worth taking.

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I don't know if it's still on the menu, but a couple weeks ago I had their crabcakes and they were simply perfect: lump crab and avocado battered and deep fried with yuzu emulsion and green tea salt. They loosely resemble quenelles upon presentation, and are just a little bigger than a mouthful, making them the perfect size for a little dipping, a little sprinkling of the fragrant green tea salt, an a splash of lemon juice. There are quite a number of them, so you'd think you'd get bored, but not a chance. Classic crab and avocado are carried on a crisp raft of entirely greaseless golden batter, and the yuzu mayonnaise with green tea salt make this dish sublime.

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Let's do a little math.

This past weekend I went to Sushi-Ko for dinner and sat at the bar for the Chef's Sashimi Plate - $28.95. The plate came artfully arranged with 3 generous slices of beautifully marbled toro, 2 pieces of amaebi with caviar, 3 large pieces of yellowtail, a couple pieces of salmon, a couple thick slabs of tuna, 3 slices of snapper, a couple more slices of mackerel, and lump crabmeat and salmon roe nestled side by side in a small teacup. So that's about 18 pieces of fish and a gratis bowl of steamed rice and green tea for $28.95 or about $1.60 per piece of fish. Now let's compare this to Kotobuki's prices. For the most part, Kotobuki is selling its nigiri pieces for $1 each. Toro, yellowtail and salmon roe all go for $1.75 according to their online menu.

Using these prices (I realize that it may be unfair to use a la carte nigiri prices to calculate the sashimi plate, but Kotobuki doesn’t currently offer a comparable special), let’s calculate what the Chef’s Sashimi Plate would cost at Kotobuki. 3 toro + 3 yellowtail + 1 salmon roe at $1.75 each + 11 pieces at $1.00 each = $23.25. As long as Kotobuki gives you tea for free, it comes out about $5 ahead. And while Kotobuki has good pieces of fish, the quality at Sushi-Ko (as well as the atmosphere) is far superior. I think it’s an extra five bucks well spent.

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If you work in the area, Sushi Ko has a great Bento Box for lunch. $14.95 for your choice of beef, chicken or glazed salmon with 3 or 4 peices of Nigri, two types of seaweed salad, shrimp and veggie tempura, white rice and miso soup. Quite filling and quite a deal.

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went to sushi ko and had the omakaze last night. Three of us went and sat that the bar and had an amazing time. First course were some lightly fried pieces of eel served over seaweed and cucumber with a balsamic vinegar reduction. This was without a doubt the best eel I've ever had. The second course were pieces of seared white tuna with daikon,avocado and fried garlic. This was delicate and really brought out the flavor of the fish. The third course was a soup with spanish mackeral. This was good but didn't have the same pronounced flavor as the rest of the meal. The fourth course were several pieces of nigiri. The most outstanding was a piece of salmon paired with passion fruit, The fifth course was broiled lobster which was some of the best I've ever had.

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The bay scallop tempura that they had for a special last night was simply dazzling. The crunch of the flawlessly prepared tempura was a great contrast to the creamy texture of the scallops. Even the Asparagus spears that came with the scallops were perfect.

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Linda Roth is reporting that "Sushi-Ko will open a second location on upper Wisconsin Ave., NW. Chef will be Koji Terano, a 10-year veteran of Sushi-Ko."

Would this be the second Sushi-Ko location expected to open in Friendship Heights in the new Giant shopping center? According to this article, it will open next spring.

http://www.examiner.com/a-415973~Allen_Smith__Sushi_Ko.html

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Believe the hype!

Excellent food at Sushi-Ko tonight. For starters, the eel and octopus were gorgeous. They were both progressive preparations, but the texture, saucing, and seasoning were spot on. Testament: the eel and octopus hater at our table had several bites of both! The shrimp and aparagus tempura were also very good, though my one piece of asparagus was pretty fibrous, and the pieces got a bit greasy toward the bottom of the pile.

I got the "uber combo" as an entree (the largest sushi-sashimi-roll combo on the menu, $27), and the fish was as good as any I've had. Not only was the quality top notch, but it was clearly prepared by a great talent. The temperature was perfect, the taste was sublime, and the texture was transcendent. Transcendent. The mackerel, as described above, tasted just as mackerel should, and utterly lacked the funk you seem to get at so many places. (Matsutake in DCA is another place that gets subtle mackerel right on.) The tuna and salmon were ... well, perfect. Period. The crunchy toro roll was a great surprise, too, made with oshinko instead of tempura drops--like they have at many locals--and, well, it just tasted great too. My sweet shrimp was a bit sticky and had a little ammonia flavor to it, but I think I should have eaten it when it first arrived, rather than saving it to the end (another reason to go omakase...).

Unfortunate, though, that the service didn't live up to the food. Our waters went unfilled (even though that's all that one guest--our designated driver--was drinking), and dirty plates lingered on the table. Worst, though, was the timing of the "drop." Three of us got entrees and two just ordered a mess of nigiri and rolls to share between them. The three entrees came at the same time, and ... uh ... ? Nothing. The platter didn't arrive for nearly ten minutes after, during which time no server could be found. I understand that it's tough to make that much sushi for one table come out at the same time, but ten minutes? If this is supposed to more of a tapas-like experience, why did all three entrees come out at the same time? Could not one roll have been brought out for them to start on? If not, why no explanation or apology for the wait? It was just really uncomfortable for us to sit for five minutes staring at our food, then eating in front of them when they finally insisted we start.

Anyway, stickler for service though I am, I will fondly remember that meal for a long, long time. If there's one thing I won't be eating in Sudan, it's raw fish; thank goodness I can fantasize about this wonderful night until I get back... :P

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I understand that in the current Washingtonian "100 Best Restaurants" feature, that it mentions something about Bordeaux on the list.

I don't remember ever, EVER, seeing a bottle of Bordeaux at Sushi-Ko in all the years I've known those folks. Very odd.

Such lovely Burgundies, though, and so reasonable priced, too.

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I understand that in the current Washingtonian "100 Best Restaurants" feature, that it mentions something about Bordeaux on the list.

I don't remember ever, EVER, seeing a bottle of Bordeaux at Sushi-Ko in all the years I've known those folks. Very odd.

Such lovely Burgundies, though, and so reasonable priced, too.

I was thinking the same thing and figured it was a type error

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Okay, all of you sushi purists out there avert your eyes from this post because you're not gonna like what I'm about to say. I may be obsessed with the crunchy shrimp roll at Sushi Ko. To me, it is an incredible combination of sweet sweet shrimp alongside bits of salty, crunchy tempura batter. Add in a little bit of roe, wrap it in seaweed and rice and the taste is absolutely divine!!

I always order the crunchy shrimp roll along with a more traditional roll and always get bummed when I have no more crunchy shrimp. It is just so so good.

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One of the special small plates tonight was described on the menu as fried crab with avocado. It came out as six little croquettes of fried crab and avocado goodness. Accompanied by a lemon wedge, some sort of remoulade that I mostly ignored and a green salt. I wanted to ask what this salt was because it was so good, but never did. I usually order only sushi but tonight I was glad I expanded my horizons.

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One of the special small plates tonight was described on the menu as fried crab with avocado. It came out as six little croquettes of fried crab and avocado goodness. Accompanied by a lemon wedge, some sort of remoulade that I mostly ignored and a green salt. I wanted to ask what this salt was because it was so good, but never did. I usually order only sushi but tonight I was glad I expanded my horizons.

I had the dish on Monday night and I have to say that I was not impressed at all. Too much breading holding in the piping hot temperature of each of the little "crabcake" balls. Not enough flavor and certainly not worth ordering again, this honestly reminded me of something I would get at PF Chang's or 1Gen.

The seared lobster with creamy ponzu sauce and avocado, however.... ;)

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We had a really great meal at Sushi Ko last weekend. We had originally gone in planning to do the omakase, which our server told us would be a set $60 for a 5 course meal. (I had gotten the impression from the thread above that omakase was a more fluid thing, but perhaps that is only at the bar, which we were not at.) Ultimately, we decided to just order dishes a la carte since we were both craving the mussels and roasted eggplant soup and softshell crab. The softshells were excellent, and was a very generous portion for $13. We also shared an eel dish that was also quite good (can't remember the details). Then, we each got the sashimi platter-- you could really taste the freshness of each piece of fish. We loved it. Total bill- $130 including wine.

We also had a very pleasant server, who noticed it was my birthday when we were both carded ;) , and brought us dessert on the house (a nice gesture). In the past, my service experiences at Sushi Ko ranged from incompetent to merely adequate, so we were both pleased on that front this time. The soups came out promptly, followed by the softshells and eel, and then the sushi.

We can't wait for the Friendship Heights location to open up down the street from us.

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Beautiful meal last night. Salmon "ceviche", stunning chu-toro and tai, crabmeat with salmon roe, perfect uni.

What has happened to the wine list, though? The sushi-and-red-burgundy crusade of Daisuke Utegawa now only includes three bottles under $100 (including the beautiful, perfect-for-sushi 2005 Rossignol Volnay at $70--the first time the whole idea has really clicked with me). Yes, Burgundy is expensive these days, but there is some stuff out there to buy, including maturing bottles such as the Savignys from Pavelot available from C'est Vin. Grrrrr.

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I walked by the Chevy Chase location last night and it looked to be close to opening. It looked all set up and there appeared to be a group of staff/managers gathering there. Judging by its appearance last night, I would guess/hope that it will be open very soon.

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Still scratching my head trying to think where they're going to find enough sushi chefs... they don't just appear from nowhere.

Skeptical,

Rocks.

It's designer sushi near the Versace store and that's what counts. If you build it, they will come.

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The new location, on the parking lot side of the newly-revamped Chevy Chase Center, is big - twice the seating of the original - arranged as a series of three rooms following the building's inner arc, each with a distinct character. The coziest room, to the left of the entrance hallway and windowless, contains a series of booths of dark-stained wood with a beige leatherette seatcushion, beneath a gargantuan abstract ink painting. The main dining room, in the center, is an airy space that should please the lunch crowd from the office tower above. At the far end is an intermediate-sized room whose arched windows lend it an almost chapel-like feel. With the obligatory stylish lighting, and a curved sushi bar tying about half of the space together, it's a pretty swanky build-out.

But hey, how was the food? Not bad. They were out of four of the starters, so after a couple of redirects, we started with a well-composed age tofu, dressed with those impossibly tiny mushroom caps and some really zesty fresh-grated ginger. Perfect temperature, too...still hot from the frying, but no longer burn-your-mouth hot. A salmon ceviche came as a composition of thin onion slices and roe over salmon sashimi, in a yuzu-ponzu marinade...very tasty (see below), even if it was more of a crudo than a ceviche. The lobster-and-scallop small plate went over well - the scallops had a nice sear on them and great flavor but could perhaps have been a touch less "done", but there were no complaints about the American lobster half-tail, resting on a small bed of wilted spinach(?) and enoki mushrooms, on a temari sauce.

I didn't recognize either of the two sushi chefs working tonight, and watching the staff interacting circulating around we felt that it was too early to test any omakase, as everybody still seemed to be working on finding their rhythm. The deluxe sashimi assortment ($25) turned out to be thoroughly unadventurous, consisting mainly of several pieces each of very good maguro, salmon, yellowtail, plus two new-world fish - cobia, and an unfamiliar member of the mackerel family whose name I've forgotten. I forgot to ask if fresh wasabi was available; the default is a typical reconstituted wasabi. A shiso leaf is included as a garnish. I wasn't too fond of the cobia, which had a very firm white flesh and a somewhat undistinct flavor. The mackerel variant was served un-marinated and just quickly torch seared on the skin-on side, but apart from appearance it really didn't have many of the characteristics that I love about mackerel. The general texture of the meat was there, but it was surprisingly non-oily and almost dry.

However, the yellowtail and salmon almost made up for that. Unusually good pieces of fish, both very tender without any hint of mealyness, and excellent flavor. I'm certain the same salmon was used for the "ceviche", but in any case it was the best piece of salmon I've had in DC, and ditto for the yellowtail. Next time, I'd skip the assortments and go a-la-carte on the sushi.

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The new location, on the parking lot side of the newly-revamped Chevy Chase Center, is big - twice the seating of the original - arranged as a series of three rooms following the building's inner arc, each with a distinct character. The coziest room, to the left of the entrance hallway and windowless, contains a series of booths of dark-stained wood with a beige leatherette seatcushion, beneath a gargantuan abstract ink painting. The main dining room, in the center, is an airy space that should please the lunch crowd from the office tower above. At the far end is an intermediate-sized room whose arched windows lend it an almost chapel-like feel. With the obligatory stylish lighting, and a curved sushi bar tying about half of the space together, it's a pretty swanky build-out.

But hey, how was the food? Not bad. They were out of four of the starters, so after a couple of redirects, we started with a well-composed age tofu, dressed with those impossibly tiny mushroom caps and some really zesty fresh-grated ginger. Perfect temperature, too...still hot from the frying, but no longer burn-your-mouth hot. A salmon ceviche came as a composition of thin onion slices and roe over salmon sashimi, in a yuzu-ponzu marinade...very tasty (see below), even if it was more of a crudo than a ceviche. The lobster-and-scallop small plate went over well - the scallops had a nice sear on them and great flavor but could perhaps have been a touch less "done", but there were no complaints about the American lobster half-tail, resting on a small bed of wilted spinach(?) and enoki mushrooms, on a temari sauce.

I didn't recognize either of the two sushi chefs working tonight, and watching the staff interacting circulating around we felt that it was too early to test any omakase, as everybody still seemed to be working on finding their rhythm. The deluxe sashimi assortment ($25) turned out to be thoroughly unadventurous, consisting mainly of several pieces each of very good maguro, salmon, yellowtail, plus two new-world fish - cobia, and an unfamiliar member of the mackerel family whose name I've forgotten. I forgot to ask if fresh wasabi was available; the default is a typical reconstituted wasabi. A shiso leaf is included as a garnish. I wasn't too fond of the cobia, which had a very firm white flesh and a somewhat undistinct flavor. The mackerel variant was served un-marinated and just quickly torch seared on the skin-on side, but apart from appearance it really didn't have many of the characteristics that I love about mackerel. The general texture of the meat was there, but it was surprisingly non-oily and almost dry.

However, the yellowtail and salmon almost made up for that. Unusually good pieces of fish, both very tender without any hint of mealyness, and excellent flavor. I'm certain the same salmon was used for the "ceviche", but in any case it was the best piece of salmon I've had in DC, and ditto for the yellowtail. Next time, I'd skip the assortments and go a-la-carte on the sushi.

Dave,

Thanks for the info. I've been meaning to get over to the new Sushi-Ko, and thanks to your post I can have somewhat of a battleplan. I used to go out for sushi all the time with a former flame and he'd always order a bevy of items I had no clue about. Now, with no flame(s), I feel kinda lost when it comes down to ordering but your informative review was great. Thanks!

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On Wednesday I met a charming women named Chizuru Doi at the little bar she runs called Osakedokoro Enoki in Shibuya section of Tokyo, when she found out that I am from Washington, she asked about Koji who she has been close with for many years. It really is a small world. By the way if you find yourself in Tokyo make a point of visiting her in the appropriately named Drunkards Alley.

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I had a rather mixed dinner Saturday night at the new Sushi-Ko location in Chevy Chase. The cooked dishes were generally good to excellent: I can only add to the praise given to the tempera-battered soft shell crab and the seared lobster tail, and the age tofu (in a lovely broth) and the ebi-su (a refreshing and reposed cold starter, a nice counterpart to the hot dishes) were quite fine. As expected.

But, quite frankly, the quality of the sushi wasn't very good. We asked the chefs at the sushi bar what was fresh (and looked over the fish ourselves), and most of what we ordered, we were told, had come in today: yellow tail, sweet shrimp, Spanish mackerel, orange clam, uni, and flounder. (We didn't order the toro because it didn't look very good.) Aside from the uni (which, for 8.50 for two pieces, better have been good), the sushi lacked the sparkling clarity and depth of flavor of good, fresh fresh. The flavors were wan and muddled. I've had far superior fish from Tako Grill just up the road.

For dessert, the panna cotta was excellent, the fried banana a bit uninspired and bland.

As for the interior - a bit of a vulgar mess all-around. Late Manet meets a poor man's Nobu, and not in a good way. The sushi bar is positioned right in front of the entrance to the dining room from the bar, but it doesn't really create the sense of drama intended. The sushi bar probably should have been the center of the visual experience of the restaurant, much like an open kitchen, but it's weirdly off-kilter and at a relatively far remove from most the diners.

But perhaps the biggest disappointment was the wine list. The Glover Park location has a fantastic Burgundy list, and I booked dinner here not realizing (as I should have) that the new location was just over the county line. What a difference a half a mile and the most obscene liquor laws in the region make! Understandably, building a list from scratch through MoCo is very difficult, to say the least, explaining the reliance on current vintages and less sought after producers, but still, very little of interest, and what's there is rather overpriced. I was told that Freddy Mugnier plans to send through some wine through the county, but that's a ways away. Rather unfortunate, but very little to be done, alas.

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Well. it's been almost three months since the report above this one and not much has changed at Sushi-ko Chevy Chase. In general, everything we had that required heat was superb: the softshell crab karage, the lobster and scallop, the uni-crusted halibut were all spectacular. The sushi --toro, yellowtail, madai, and aji -- were certainly acceptable but not more than about neighborhood sushi bar quality. The exception was the zuki which was outstanding. The panna cotta and the sake sorbet were wonderful ways to finish.

Perhaps it was because it was a Sunday night. None of the folk behind the sushi bar were, or spoke, Japanese. (This kept conversation about what was fresh and/or unusual between them and my friend -- an American who's lived in Japan for 20 years -- at a minimum, as their their English was rudimentary.) The manager was wonderfully friendly and helpful, making many of the recommendations we would have expected from a sushi master.

The bar serves shochu, a "wine", stronger than saki that can be made from just about anything, although only one kind - barley- was available. The $6.00 price was most reasonable.

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