4822 MacArthur Blvd., NW
Washington, DC 20007
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest, Palisades
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
Open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 2 and 6 to 10, Sunday 6 to 10.
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
Ducking into this sliver of a restaurant is like finding Narnia on the other side of a wardrobe: Here you’re transported from a DC street to a Japanese sanctuary. Diners don slippers, turn off cell phones, and tuck belongings into storage bins that double as stools. (Men are required to wear jackets and slacks.) Waitresses in kimono-style garb guide diners on how to eat each dish.
Sit at the bar and you can watch a trio of chefs slice slabs of mackerel or yellowtail—both very good sashimi choices—or turn eggs into an omelet, which makes for a tasty two-bite nigiri. The $60 eight-to-ten-course tasting menu—you also can order sushi à la carte—follows the less-is-more principle, so orange roughy gets just a swipe of miso glaze, deep-fried porgy is garnished only with ginger and bell peppers, and steamed mussels are flavored with a simple rice-wine broth.
Also good: Recent highlights of the seasonal tasting menu were persimmon with tofu sauce and roasted duck; a salad of endive, avocado, shrimp, mango, and spicy soybean dressing; yellowtail collar with soy sauce; shabu shabu, a hot pot for dipping beef, shrimp, scallops, and mushrooms; scallop and salmon nigiri.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner. Very expensive.