Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant is all about options—from the seats that patrons choose to sit in to the expansive menu with sushi, udon, chicken teriyaki, and numerous vegetarian and vegan dishes. Guests can relax at tables near the front of the restaurant or bypass the four-legged seats for a more traditional Japanese eating experience atop crimson cushions—with backs for comfort—that sit flush against a raised dining platform. Diners can also saddle up to the sushi bar, where culinary gurus fill specialty rolls with ingredients such as tempura-fried cream cheese, fatty tuna, and fried salmon.
The gleam of razor-sharp knives flashes from behind the sushi bar at Domo Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, where chefs slice sashimi and assemble maki rolls before elegantly plating each dish. A tempura volcano roll clasps crab and tuna at its core, and fried oysters fraternize with eel, red snapper, and tuna in the Godzilla roll. Domo’s chefs also glaze chicken, beef, shrimp and other seafood with teriyaki sauce for diners that prefer their food to be slightly sweet and cooked, much like the books of a corrupt accountant in Candyland.
The aromas of freshly-cut raw seafood fill the 100-seat dining room at Daiwa Sushi. That, of course, is because the eatery's sushi chefs craft more than 30 traditional maki rolls and 22 sashimi selections. They don't just follow conventional recipes, however—they also express their creativity in 22 eclectic house rolls, many of which feature fish and veggies that have been seared, fried, or marinated in spices. As sushi chefs do their thing, the cooks in the kitchen emit their own melange of tempting scents as they prepare traditional Japanese dishes that range from udon noodles tossed with chicken and tempura shrimp to fish cakes and crab. The dining room hibachi grills, meanwhile, send up plumes of fragrant steam and smoke around simmering morsels of steak, shrimp, and scallops, allowing whoever steals the last piece to vanish unnoticed into the night. To help diners wash down their bites, Daiwa also serves domestic and imported Japanese beers, and curates a compact, yet diverse list of sakes.
Whether they're delicately rolling rice around veggies and seafood or arranging a visually arresting plate, Soya Sushi Bar & Bistro's culinary experts approach every step of their sushi making with artistry. They fill rolls with ingredients such as quail eggs and fatty tuna and craft california roll variations such as the Lion King, a cali roll with caviar sauce, which never fails to send guests home with a hankering for Elton John's unique brand of adult-contemporary piano rock. Sushi aside, chefs douse Chilean sea bass in a sweet ginger onion ponzu reduction, whip up classic tempura udon, and pair stir-fried veggies with hibachi-style lobster, chicken, and scallops.
After slicing rolls into bite-size pieces stuffed with crab meat and lobster salad, the sushi chefs are only halfway done. Plating comes next, and that's where the chefs really flex their creative muscles. Two shaved-down carrots sticks at the end of a roll transform it into a caterpillar. Colorful sauce artfully drizzled on a plate turns into butterfly wings attached to the roll?s body. Back in the kitchen, the chefs stick to classic Asian entrees as they glaze chicken fillets with teriyaki sauce and encase shrimp in crispy tempura batter. Blue lights illuminate the otherwise softly lit eatery?ideal for a romantic dinner or a laid-back table tennis match.
Prasit "Ken" Khachenrum's culinary journey spans more than 11,000 miles. In his native Thailand, the young chef began mastering the dishes of his home soil at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bangkok. Later, after landing a position with Commodore Cruise Lines, the globetrotting Khachenrum continued plying his skills while sailing beneath the Caribbean sun. Upon deciding to settle in Washington, DC, Chef Ken worked through the city's restaurant scene on his way to becoming sushi chef at Yosaku Japanese Restaurant, opening his first restaurant in Yorktown in 2002, and finally, opening Thaijindesu. Thaijindesu—translated from the Japanese word "romanji," meaning "Thai people"—invites guests into an elegant spiral of Thai and Japanese flavors. Chef Ken places bowls of steaming noodles and curries beside fresh rolls of sushi, uniting regional nuances on a single menu rather than uniting two menus with Velcro.