When it first opened in March of 2001, Tsunami Sushi & Lounge was on the vanguard of local businesses and shops to settle and thrive in the 14th street corridor near Thomas Circle. Today, the ultramodern lounge relishes in its place as a nerve center for nightlife, treating guests to fresh maki and nigiri, as well as lip-smacking udon, steak, and tempura dishes. Strings of sparkling crystal globes form huge overhanging chandeliers that cast twinkling light upon brick walls, eggshell-white armchairs, and black leather benches. Guests follow a glass-lined staircase up to the restaurant's second story, gazing out upon the bustling streetscapes and poorly hidden bald spots on the sidewalk below.
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.
The rich, gleaming woodwork and clean, modern lines of Sushi Taro's seating areas reflect the restaurant's dedication to creating a refined dining experience for its guests. This dedication is further reinforced by the chefs' careful presentation of each dish, many of which are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients and seafood imported from Japan.
The Kaiseki Experience
Although an ever-changing la carte menu is available, Sushi Taro's chefs prefer to provide their guests with a more traditional Japanese dining experience: kaiseki. This chef-curated, multi-course experience is intended to highlight the natural flavor of seasonal ingredients at the peak of freshness. Simple, yet thoughtfully composed presentations showcase the individual beauty of each dish. Kaiseki menus allow chefs to introduce diners to the flavors and preparations of authentic Japanese cooking.
What the Press Says
Tipples from Abroad
Sushi Taro's beverage menu features a curated selection of red, white, and sparkling wines alongside an impressive assortment of traditional Japanese drinks. Familiar Japanese beers appear alongside the restaurant's diverse sake collection, which includes bottles that have been carefully aged for as long as 10 years. Additionally, Sushi Taro does its best to introduce diners to shochu: a distilled Japanese beverage that is often compared to scotch.
Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Chef Kazuhiro Okochi spent years mastering the deceptive simplicity of traditional Japanese cuisine. After graduating from the Tsuji Culinary Institute, he remained in Osaka for an additional five years, formally studying the intricacies of sushi preparation. This highly practiced attention to detail is apparent at Kaz Sushi , where Chef Okochi's staff seeks out a specific strain of domestic, short-grain rice, tailoring the amount of water as well as the length of the cooking time to account for the season and even the day's weather. They also import soy sauce from a microbrewery in Japan (and make their own, individual blend in-house), and they even use aged red rice vinegar instead of more conventional varieties that haven't had a chance to really live yet. However, Chef Okochi isn't interested in merely recreating centuries-old Japanese recipes--he fully commits to modernizing these perfected dishes by introducing Western flavors. Chef Okochi refers to this culinary style as "freestyle Japanese cuisine," and it is easy to see why: sushi rolls can contain inventive additions such as mint, pickled pineapple and basil, or even spicy tomato sauce. Diners can order from the menu or choose to place their full faith in Chef Okochi and his team by ordering one of several "omakase" tasting menus that allow the chefs complete freedom to use the day's freshest seafood and produce to make flavorful--and occasionally original--creations. As The Washington Post described the experience, "to eat omakase at Kaz Sushi Bistro is to watch a little magic show-and to stretch your idea of Japanese cuisine."
Zentan takes its name from the Mandarin word for "detective," but if it’s trying to draw spies as clientele, perhaps its communal seating and shared plates won't offer enough privacy. But for the causal diner, the eatery offers an eclectic mix of pan-Asian specialties concocted by chef Susur Lee. Patrons can split shared plates of atlantic salmon with stir-fried chinese long beans and plum sauce or divvy up cantonese marinated skirt steaks with chili ponzu. In the kitchen, cooks prepare sweet-shrimp sushi and barbecue-eel sashimi. The aptly titled ocean roll blends spicy shrimp, crab, and lobster; the if-only-it-were-literal fire-dragon roll in reality packs spicy tuna, barbecue eel, tobiko, and avocado. At the bar, old-school Chinese product packaging contrasts with distinctly modern sake-based cocktails masterminded by mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout. Diners looking for some fresh air with their cocktails can take their drinks at the rooftop bar, which is replete with a swimming pool, comfy deck chairs, and porpoises trained as bartenders.
Located on the second floor of a Woodley Park building overlooking Connecticut Avenue, Umi Japanese Cuisine is a chic and cozy spot that happily serves up some of the best-tasting and reasonably-priced sushi in Northwest DC. All of the experienced chefs come from the uber-competitive New York City Japanese restaurant scene, so they know their way around a roll. The sushi bar is fully stocked, with a so-called bartender who can whip up funky goodies like the Superman Roll, which combines shrimp tempura, cream cheese and spicy crab meat. Umi offers an extensive selection of bento boxes, Japanese entrées, hot and cold appetizers and noodle specialties as well, and at lunch, it’s possible to get a plateful of sushi or sashimi for less than $10.