Whatever sort of sushi experience you seek, you’ll find it in the DMV: There’s Michelin-starred sushi (see Sushi Nakazawa, below), delivery sushi, romantic sushi, business casual sushi and everything in between throughout DC and the nearby suburbs. Also, most offer bento boxes. Is there a better lunch option than a bento box?
Speaking of lunch: Kaz Sushi Bistro in Foggy Bottom/Downtown is a singularly excellent choice for a business casual lunch of all kinds, let alone sushi-specific lunches. Since 1999, chef Kaz Okochi has led the vanguard of sushi excellence here in DC — and his lunch experience can’t be beat. The menu offers all of the nigiri, sashimi, rolls and vegetarian options you need. If you’re going to order one thing, get the Kaz Nigiri Tasting, with tuna, salmon, whitefish, shrimp, yellowtail, eel, surf clam, smelt roe and walu (aka butterfish).
Takoma Park’s Kin Da took off during the pandemic, figuring out a hyper-successful recipe for delivery, carry-out and outdoor dining. Based on how busy they are Tuesday through Sunday (they’re closed Mondays), nothing can stop them. This is the sushi you want delivered for your weeknight-streaming-and-eating-dinner-on-the-couch nights.
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An only-in-DC-type meet cute led to this uniquely DC spot. The restaurant is led by the husband-and-wife duo Takehiko Inoue and Misrak Gebrehiwot. Inoue, originally from Japan, met Gebrehiwot, originally from Ethiopia, when he was working as the sushi chef at the Japanese embassy in Addis Ababa. They opened Mita in late 2020 on Kennedy Street in Brightwood Park, offering authentic sushi and authentic Ethiopian cuisine, not Ethiopian sushi. In addition to DC’s healthy sushi scene, there’s an even healthier Ethiopian restaurant scene. But Mita is the unicorn doing both, a literal and figurative marriage of cultures.
Sushi Nakazawa is the Michelin-certified pick — the only sushi restaurant in DC to earn the star, though Menya Hosaki and Toki Underground both sport a Bib Gourmand for good-value meals. If you’re looking for a fancy date location, make a reservation at Sushi Nakazawa. Along with our next pick, Nakazawa is high-end fine dining. Unless your date has a fish allergy, this is as good as you’re going to find for a surefire success.
Sushi Taro has the best happy hour in Washington — for years you’d see young professionals lining up for an hour or two before opening on 17th Street between P and Church. It was excellent free advertising for a place that does not need to advertise. Sushi Taro is consistently ranked in the top 10 restaurants in DC. They’re fine dining with a $350-per-person Saturday night omakase counter. They do not need to offer a happy hour. And they didn’t, since the pandemic began until April 2023. But it’s back. Thank god it’s back. The 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 25 percent-off sushi and drinks happy hour makes Sushi Taro as high-end as you want it to be.
When you want a party with your sushi, consider Zeppelin. The Shaw establishment is DC’s first omakase bar, serving sushi and charcoal-grilled yakitori. Chef Minoru Ogawa is a Tokyo native who studied under his master-chef father in Japan. None of that makes it a party destination. The karaoke makes it a party destination.
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