Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

First Look: Kushi Izakaya & Sushi


There’s something wrong with me (maybe). I can’t get enough sushi! I just crave it – spicy tuna, firecracker, flying fish roe, fatty tuna, I WANT IT ALL. So when I was invited to check out the new Japanese gastropub in Mount Vernon Square, I jumped at the chance.

Sleek, modern and minimalist, the best Kushi experience you can have is at one of their three (!) bars – the sake bar, the sushi bar or what I call the grill bar – what is technically supposed to be called the robata counter. I sat at the robata counter – the bar surrounding Kushi’s kitchen. There is literally no back kitchen at Kushi, everything is prepared out front under the watchful eye of diners. With charcoal and wood burning grills, a sous-vide machine and a few tiny stoves, eating at Kushi is cooking theater. Chefs slice, dice, grill, plate and prep right in front of you. It gives the diner a perfect vantage point for the evening, and also keeps you craving more. Continue reading

Downtown, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Momoyama

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘lorigoldberg’

Momoyama defines off the beaten path. It couldn’t be any more off the beaten path unless it were literally down an actual dirt road. It is not. But it is tucked back in this really weird city block on the Senate side of the Capitol on second street near 395. But boy, is it worth seeking out. It is some great sushi.

A converted rowhome, with a tiny dining space, it seats maybe thirty maximum. The sushi is rolled up front by two sushi masters grabbing rice from a bowl between them, cutting fish and drizzling sauces. The prices are super cheap, and the service is great. I love everything about Momoyama, it feels like my own little sushi corner of the world. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

First Look: Zentan

Photo courtesy of
‘zentan interior’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Last night Inspiration DC‘s Rebecca and I headed over to preview Zentan, the new trendy hot spot at the Donovan House Hotel on Thomas Circle. The new hot spot opened on June 8th, after a bit of a kerfluffle (the space was supposed to be a new Todd English spot), when Chef Susur Lee of Shang in New York stepped up to fill in. Chef Lee, who is known for a wide variety of Asian-influenced restaurants, was also the second Canadian chef to appear on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America against Iron Chef Bobby Flay. So I was excited to see what came of all the drama – would Zentan live up?

Also, if you’ll let me ramble for a moment, Zentan signifies to me the solidification of the quality I’ve come to expect from hotel restaurants in our area. This is thanks in part to boutique chains like Kimpton, who work to pair quality Chef-driven restaurant concepts with their hotels. But excellent in-hotel restaurants are certainly on the rise in DC, and I have much higher standards for hotel restaurants here than I do when I travel. I was interested to see what Lee would bring to the District, plus get a peek at the Thompson Hotel. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Night Life, We Love Food

We Love Food: Sticky Rice

"Sticky Balls" at Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice is a lot like its brazenly named signature dish, “Sticky Balls” – a chaotic gooey crunchy glorious mess.

This isn’t some temple of sushi where a plate of trembling tempura is placed in front of you with a reverential hush like it’s the freaking Holy Grail. You want that, go to Sushi Ko. You want pristine sashimi prepared by traditional chefs, go to Sushi Taro. You want beautiful experiments and the occasional fugu dinner, go to Kaz.

What you will get at Sticky Rice is irreverent cuisine, a florid interior reminiscent of a tattoo parlor’s secret bordello, and a crazy atmosphere like some art students’ late night party. And resign yourself to waiting on a busy weekend… this isn’t the place to hit with a hard time deadline.

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