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January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants: Raku

The Scene: The giant chopsticks and splotches of color on the walls make for a playful setting at this lively, family-friendly pan-Asian restaurant known for its stylized riffs on Japanese and Chinese and even Modern American flavors—is worlds beyond that of its Dupont Circle sibling.

What You'll Love: The witty, casual space is loud enough to absorb rambunctious children, yet the kitchen is conscientious enough about the food to make Mom and Dad—and everyone else—happy.

What You Won't: Sometimes it can get a little too loud and crowded. And more than a few dishes have strayed too far.

Best Dishes: The signature tuna tartare with lemon basil sauce and peanuts, a buttery, crunchy mouthful; silken yellowtail sashimi with spicy wasabi ponzu sauce; an earthy duck roll with hints of mustard, hoisin, and teriyaki; smoky wok-charred Chilean sea bass with ginger tomato sauce; coconut-creamy Thai curry bouillabaisse; strip steak marinated with cilantro, chili, and shallots.