4822 MacArthur Blvd., NW (Second floor)
Washington, DC 20016
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest, Palisades
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
Open for lunch Monday through Saturday noon to 2:30 PM. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday and Sunday 5 PM to 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 5 PM to 10:30 PM.
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Ankimo (monkfish liver); sunomono salad; oshizushi; eel kamameshi; eel unadon; fatty tuna and yellw; mango mochi.
Starters, $1.50 to $6.50; entreés, 9.75 to $25
Special Features: Kid Friendly, Good for Groups
Scene: Food Specials
Cuisine: You’d have an easier time turning up a moderate Republican on the Hill than finding sushi that’s this fresh and this cheap. Equally uncommon is the rest of chef Hisao Abe’s menu, a roster of largely unfamiliar but traditional Japanese dishes—from the rice casseroles called kamameshi to oshizushi, a pressed-sushi preparation deriving from Osaka—that distinguish it from the conventionally minded raw-fish houses.
Mood: There’s barely space to breathe in this small second-floor dining room containing a sushi bar, a handful of tables, and nearly always a line out the door. Above the hum of the Beatles-only soundtrack, servers encourage diners—a mix of couples and families—to eat and run.
Best for: A first date; a good on-the-go dinner for up to four—the wait will lengthen if tables have to be put together.
Best dishes: Silky monkfish-liver pâté, known as ankimo—the foie gras of the sea; oshizushi, square blocks of saltier-than-normal rice pressed tightly and topped with thin slices of fish; eel kamameshi, a hot pot with charred rice, raw fish, and vegetables preceded by a parade of mezze-type appetizers; a smooth slab of fatty or white tuna atop a small bed of rice; green-tea mochi, a pouch of Japanese ice cream encased in a rice wrapper.
Insider tips: Check out the specials posted on the wall—fresh fish comes in daily (look for the uni) and is the only time Abe strays from his otherwise unchanging menu.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner. Inexpensive.