January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
Chef/owner Kazuhiro Okochi pairs inventive sushi with an interesting sake list.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 24, 2007
Kaz Sushi Bistro
Address: 1915 I St., NW, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-530-5500
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Sushi, Japanese
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday 6 to 10.
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Farragut North
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Price Details: Dinner appetizers, $4.50 to $9; entrees, $15.50 to $27. Tasting menus, $45 to $75. Lunch bento boxes, $12.25 to $16.50.

No. 80: Kaz Sushi Bistro

There’s a reason Kaz Okochi calls this a bistro. The Osaka-trained chef might specialize in raw fish, but he’s constantly playing with Western flavors and sensibilities. Slices of trout are fashioned into a napoleon. Tuna is paired with kalamata olives. Seared bonito is set off by a chip of fried garlic.

Spicy tuna rolls and bento boxes fly from the kitchen at midday and early evening—a light, delicious repast for downtown-DC workers—but Okochi really wants diners to settle in for his creative renditions of nigiri with a carefully paired sake or perhaps a few courses of rustic Japanese cooking, such as a plate of seared beef with miso or a lacquered box of Asian short ribs.

He sweats the details—even the soy sauce is house-made—but sometimes you wonder if Okochi has tasted his concoctions: A sake-poached sea scallop has the eerie texture of tongue, and a stringy mound of blue crab gets no kick from a slice of red bell pepper. But a slice of salmon belly, buttery and lightly seared, is even more luscious with a slick of lemon and soy, and a barely caramelized scallop with lemon and sea salt is a delicious play of sweet and salty and sour.

At dessert time, skip the ginger crème brûlée and order a couple pieces of foie gras sushi with plum-wine jelly. Now there’s a marriage that works.

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Posted at 11:56 AM/ET, 01/24/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews