Red paper lanterns dangle from the ceiling at Ikko Sushi, casting a warm glow on careful arrangements of colorful sushi. Displays of fresh fish line the sushi bar, where chefs assemble salmon, eel, and crab into kaleidoscopes of texture and color, adorning them with extravagant flourishes of spicy sauce, wasabi, and shredded Japanese currency. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, pots bubble with rice and noodles, as grills sizzle with teriyaki beef, chicken, and pork. Servers tote dishes and cups of imported beer and sake out to tabletops that speckle both the interior and outdoor front patio.
Sculptures of simple wooden sailboats glide across the wall behind Sake House's sushi bar, where chefs bend intently over long filets of fresh fish. In front of them in the dining room, tables draped with tidy white tablecloths stand out against the dark, wooden walls, and platters littered with colorful sushi travel on the arms of servers. Behind the bar, bottles of chilled sake wear poetic labels such as "Bamboo Dew", "Soaring Cloud", and "Black River", and at hibachi tables, chefs deftly manipulate their knives across steaks and lobsters or carve their initials into broccoli trees.
True to its name, Hashi Sushi Georgetown's culinary craftsmen bundle and roll a variety of sushi rolls, but that's not the only recipe in the restaurant's cookbook. The chefs also acquaint diners with traditional Japanese and Korean dishes they may not have tried, such as fresh udon or ramen noodle soups tossed with breaded tonkatsu, or bento boxes of spicy bulgogi strewn with kimchi. On the weekends, the restaurant combines its dignified sushi-bar airs with a burst of nightlife fun replete with sake bombs and energetic crowds, before turning back into a pumpkin at 11 p.m.
Spices has clean, modern lines and an open sushi bar where diners can enjoy a visual feast while feasting. Chef Jessie Yan's menu features contemporary and home-style Asian recipes. Start with Sichuan Dragon Dumplings (chicken, watercress, and shiitake mushrooms, $6) before launching an all-out consumption attack on an unsuspecting specialty maki Dancing Eel roll (barbecue eel, crabstick, masago, avocado, and cucumber, $11) or the green curry (chicken, beef, or pork swimming in rich, creamy coconut curry with eggplant and basil, served in a brass wok; lunch $11, dinner $13). For large appetites, the big duck roasted and served with pancakes, cucumbers, scallions, and plum sauce (half duck $15, whole $30) is capable of occupying most unused stomach storage, while a zesty grilled dish such as the Vietnamese grilled shrimp, served with a Vietnamese spring roll, lettuce, cucumber, mint, and roasted peanuts over vermicelli (lunch $12, dinner $14) gently tucks hunger under a culinary blanket.
The menu at Kushi is swimming with savory sushi treats and grilled delicacies. Fresh maki is skillfully rolled with yellowtail and scallion or salmon and avocado ($7 each) before being sliced into six easily consumable pieces. Kushi provides a bevy of combination platters for indecisive eaters, such as the bara chirashi with assorted sashimi diced and mixed into sushi rice ($27), or the chef’s choice, which features twelve miscellaneous sushi creations ($40). The authentic robata charcoal grill produces refined tailgate-worthy treats, including salmon fillet ($9) and mahogany quail stuffed with duck-sausage ($12). Working on the basic principal that meals taste better on a stick, a variety of kushiyaki (skewered) eats are offered, such as pork-stuffed shishito pepper ($5). Round out the feast with a special house-blend seaweed salad ($6).
Wasabi cycles through a seasonally fresh assortment of bold ingredients, which come in plenty of forms beyond the roll variety. Most plates are moderately priced and portioned with the intention of pairing. Start out raw with fresh sashimi, such as salmon ($4) or yellow tail ($5), or snag a more complicated arrangement of wasabi and pork shumai dumplings in a vinegar chili soy sauce ($4). Give any plate wings by pairing it with a four-glass sake flight ($7–$20).