Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kushi

Rating: Just like mother's!
Genre: Japanese, Sushi, Izakaya
Neightborhood: Chinatown

Good sushi in NoVa? Does such a thing exist? After living in the Northern Virginia area for the 23 years of my life, I've never encounter exceptionally good sushi. Yes you have your typical sushi restaurants that serves a good enough California Roll and fun assortments of a variety of rolls and hand rolls on a wooden boat, but where can I find a joint that will serve up some fresh sea urchin and high quality Spanish Mackerel? I knew to find something like this, I would have to venture out into DC and that's what I did. Luckily a Living Social deal came out one morning, promoting a new Sushi/Izakaya restaurant in Chinatown called Kushi. I took a gamble and bought two vouchers.

I believe it was within the first month this restaurant was established when I first ventured here, and I'd never been to an Izakaya restaurant before. Izakaya is a type of Japanese drinking establishment that also serves up food (typically associated with skewers). My first time around, we ordered the butabara (pork belly) skewer and pork. As for the sushi part of our meal, we had uni (sea urchin), toro (fatty tuna) rolls, and geoduck. Butabara is top-notch, melt-in-your mouth delicious and a must-get if you ever go to Kushi. The pork came with a pretty substantial amount of mean for only 6$ and was quite good. I've had a couple of bad experiences with Uni, realizing that it can only be one of the two extremes- incredibly good or incredibly bad- so going into the Uni made me nervous. Luckily, they served us high grade, creamy, buttery, sweet slabs of Uni- it definitely got my seal of approval. The fatty toro rolls were good, but I think I would prefer it in sashimi form because in roll form, it kind of masks the taste of this high-grade toro. The geoduck was chewy (like how it always is)...nuf said.

The second time I came around to use my voucher, I came with my sushi frenzy family so we didn't hold back on ordering this time. We started with a couple of the steamed eggs and seaweed salad. The steamed eggs were good but the portion was a lot smaller than I was use to when, say, I order it at a Korean joint. The seaweed salad used a type of seaweed and dressing I wasn't use; it was good but I would have preferred the type you find at most sushi restaurants. My sister got one of the Chirashi dishes (assortment of fish on top of rice) which was only $28. It came with a good amount of top-grade fish on top of the rice, and also three pieces of nigiri and California rolls (made with actual crab!!) For my meal, I ordered a-la carte sashimi for everything which ended up being oyster, salmon, live scallop, uni, red snapper, chu toro, otoro, ika, spanish mackerel, and ama ebi (raw shrimp). While I had fun throughly stuffing my face with these sweet, soft, tender meats, my other sister's order came out- The Chef's Choice. Now the Chef's Choice was $40 and had basically everything I ordered a-la carte except a lot more. The eff! I paid about double the amount she did for less? 'Next time, next time!' I told myself!
So when the next time did come around, I was kind of shocked when I didn't see the Che'f Choice on the menu. I inquired to our waitress about it, who was very sweet about it and explained they did not have as much fish that day and couldn't offer the Chef's Choice; however, she did speak to the sushi Chef who and they came to a decision that we could just write down the fishes we wanted, and he would plate $40 worth of it. Seeing that we only picked the most expensive fishes in existent, the sushi chef ended up plating a lot more than $40 worth I'm pretty sure. The rest of my family ordered a fun rice ball, Miso flavored fish skewer, a Butabara broth, and quail. The skewer and broth were both melt-in-your mouth delicious and the quail was pretty good too.
All subsequent times I've gone back to Kushi, I look for the Chef's Choice, but it never seems to have made a reappearance. I'll typically just go with the sashimi plates that they offer that day and its always a safe bet that its the best fish they got at the time. I will keep my eye out for the day Chef's Choice comes back! It's too good a deal to let slip away! Another nice thing I should mention that they have are live sea urchins; so if you want, they'll hack the guy up right there and pull out it's yummy roe sacks and plop them on your plate. Bottom line- you can't get sushi as good as this anywhere in NoVa, and even in DC, it'll be hard to match (especially price-wise if Chef's Choice ever comes back!!!). I do still need to make my way around to Kotobuki and Sushi Taro though!
465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001

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