Best Upscale and Bargain Deals on Pizza, Sushi, and Steak in Washington

Whether you’re looking to save or splurge, here’s where you’ll get the most for your money

By: Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg

Kushi serves expensive by exquisite sushi and sashimi. Photo by Scott Suchman

PIZZA

BEST UPSCALE
Pizzeria Orso

400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church; 703-226-3460
Thin crusts with bubbled edges. Imported buffalo mozzarella. Fresh basil. Those are the makings of the area’s best pies, which come from Pizzeria Orso, where the rounds get a high-heat blast in a wood-burning oven. You’d think a 12-inch pizza ($12 to $17) would be big enough to share—but you won’t want to give very much of it away.

BEST BARGAIN
Vace

3315 Connecticut Ave., NW, 202-363-1999; 4705 Miller Ave., Bethesda, 301-654-6367
At Vace, a pair of Italian delis, the prices for the unconventional pizzas—the sauce is spread on top of the cheese—feel as retro as the atmosphere: A 16-inch pie starts at $9.50. For toppings ($1.25 each), look to Italian meats such as prosciutto, capicola, and pancetta.

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SUSHI

BEST UPSCALE
Kushi

465 K St., NW; 202-682-3123
It doesn’t get any better than the raw stuff at Kushi, a pulsing industrial-chic Japanese restaurant. Top-notch quality means that a single live scallop might be $12 and that six to seven lobes of uni could go for $30. But if there’s anywhere to learn what real sushi should taste like, it’s at Kushi.

BEST BARGAIN
Sweet Ginger

120 Branch Rd. SE, Vienna; 703-319-3922

Fans of creatively stuffed rolls zigzagged with brightly flavored sauces will like Sweet Ginger, where sushi platters are often shared among families and friends. The food is as tasty as it is unorthodox: The Mexican Roll is packed with spicy tuna, shrimp, avocado, and jalapeño fish roe.

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STEAK

BEST UPSCALE
BLT Steak
1625 I St., NW; 202-689-8999

BLT Steak isn’t as stuffy as some old-Washington steakhouses, but don’t let the Johnny Cash music fool you: This place is all about the high life. The crown jewel of its menu is the Japanese Kobe beef ($25 an ounce with a four-to-five-ounce minimum). Cuts of American Wagyu are slightly more gently priced. At least the wonderful popovers are free.

BEST BARGAIN
Medium Rare
3500 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-237-1432

The only decision you have to make at Medium Rare is how you want your steak cooked. The three-month-old Cleveland Park restaurant has one fixed-price menu: For $19.50, steak comes with salad, fresh-baked bread, and steak frites smothered in a peppery sauce—and second helpings are free. Still not full? We’ll make that decision easy for you: the hot-fudge sundae.

This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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