The Daily Feed

Zentan’s Rooftop Dining Menu

Photo courtesy of
‘Piscine Profonde’
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

Rooftop. Pool. Sushi. Those are pretty much the only ingredients I need to be happy. And you know where you can get those three things all in one place? The rooftop at the Donovan House Hotel.

The rooftop at the Donovan House overlooks Thomas Circle, where you can sip cocktails and nosh on grilled skewers, like teriyaki pork belly, and miso and brown sugar glazed vegetables (a selection of 5 for $15) paired with sushi and sashimi (a platter of three six-piece rolls for $25), courtesy of the in-house Zentan restaurant.

Zentan also features my newest drink obsession, Canton Ginger Liquor, a deliciously dangerous sweet and spicy liquor that you can pour into champagne with ground cherries for a deadly, gorgeous cocktail.

It’s not exactly budget dining, per-se, but it sure does come with a view.

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

First Look: Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

KushiExteriorPhoto1

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

Adventures, Food and Drink, The DC 100

DC Omnivore 100: #50 Sea Urchin

Photo courtesy of
‘Sea Urchin’
courtesy of ‘aslives’

It’s that time of week when WeLoveDC brings you another edition to our ever growing list of DC Omnivore 100. For this entry, let’s push the envelope and go beyond personal food comfort levels by trying Sea Urchin.

If you’ve watched any Jacques Cousteau-esque nature shows, you know what a sea urchin looks like–a purplish-black, spiked, baseball sized creature attached to the ocean bottom or coral.  And you know that stepping on them is a definite no-no. It’s also one of those peculiar food items, like lobster or snails, where some human was SO hungry and that he/she had no other option than taking on the time-consuming task of figuring out how/what parts of this creature they should/could eat.

Given the spiny, hard appearance of the sea urchin, it’s of no surprise that only a small portion of the creature, its roe (aka: gonads, ovaries, milt or eggs,) is edible.  “Uni,” as the Japanese call the eatable part of the sea urchin, is considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world. Sea urchins are often eaten raw, with a squeeze of lemon or used to flavor omelets,  soups and sauces, or used instead of butter. Continue reading

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

We Love Food: Momoyama

Photo courtesy of
‘Roll’
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

The Daily Feed

For the Love of Cats, Dogs and…Sushi

Photo courtesy of
‘when Nelson met Cali’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

On the same week that doggie Molly is returned to her rightful owner, two area animal rescue groups are holding fundraisers — oddly enough, both with sushi.

Tomorrow, if you eat at Sushi-Zen Restaurant in Arlington, mention Homeward Trails, and 20 percent of your check’s proceeds will help dogs and cats find permanent homes. Join their free Royalty Rewards program to donate an additional $5.00.

This Sunday afternoon is Bark & Bubbles, with sushi and bubbly drinks for the humans, ice cream, doggie treats and pet caricatures. The Washington Animal Rescue League will benefit from this event at WagTime Pet Spa & Boutique, which will offer same-day discounts to guests.

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

Downtown, Food and Drink, Penn Quarter, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: SEI

"Silver Samurai" cocktail at SEI

"'Silver Samurai' cocktail at SEI" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Oh, SEI! How I wanted to be seduced by your mod opulence, so Versailles by way of Anime. Your pristine white and gold decor, your flirty little lounge, all punctuated by red coral. What a tease you are. For these are not the times to enjoy $11 cocktails smothered in ice (what are those cubes hiding, I wonder? about 4 ounces of liquor), no matter how lusciously they roll over the tongue, or $12 plates of tiny cubes of tuna, no matter how perfectly they quiver before melting in my mouth…

Damn.

Honestly, going to a lounge like SEI at a time when everyday I hear of someone else losing their job, makes me feel dirty. I admit to a certain hypocrisy. But, really? Who are these people lining the bar? These spray-tanned wallet vampires in go-go boots? Of course, one can’t control clientele, and SEI’s decor (“New York? Miami? Where are they trying to be?” my friend sighed in confusion) is going to inspire people to dress a certain way. I just wish that the women of this city who still have disposable income would PLEASE learn that classy can still be sexy. It just isn’t seemly to see that much of your browned  (I meant) hyper-tanned crackling cleavage during a recession…

Ahem. Ok, sorry to get all social commentary on you. Back to drinks. 

The good news is that those ridiculously small cocktails are surprisingly good. I had the “Silver Samurai” first, a mixture of shochu, cucumber and vanilla syrup topped with cracked black pepper. I just had to try it, given the combination of cucumber and vanilla which to me sounded more like a bath gel than a drink. However, it was addictive, fresh and smart. “I could definitely take a bath in this,” I smiled to my friend, who was happily enjoying a mocktail concocted just for her. We never did find out its ingredients, because we could barely hear our lovely server over the electronica pumping through the place.

Next, I nervously ordered ”Liquid Wasabi.” Continue reading

Food and Drink, The DC 100, The Features

DC Omnivore 100: #48, Eel

Unagi Sushi (Eel) by Madman the Mighty (Creative Commons)

Have you ever been given someone something to eat, and been told “no, try it first, and then we will tell you what it is?”  Then you are a very brave soul, especially if you were in college.   I hope you survived the episode.

I’m guilty of this trick, especially when introducing my friends and co-workers to Sushi.  Eel, especially freshwater Eel (or Unagi) is one of my favorite pieces of sushi.  It has a much higher fat content than most fish, but it’s smooth flavor and texture make it a staple of most sushi trays and a lot of the better sushi rolls.

Unlike most sushi, Unagi (fresh water eel, the most common) is never served raw.  That’s not because it would kill you or anything – the sushi afficinados reserve blowfish for that – but because you would absolutely hate it.  Unagi has a fat layer in it that smells awful, and doesn’t taste all that great.  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.

Continue reading