Kaz Sushi Bistro

Chef/owner Kazuhiro Okochi pairs inventive Japanese cooking and an interesting sake list.

From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants

THE SCENE. Lunchtime is when this bilevel restaurant, helmed by chef/owner Kazuhiro Okochi, one of the city's original sushi masters, comes alive: World Bankers and other downtown businessmen pour into a sanctuary of glossy dark-wood tables, bamboo accents, and colorful glass lightboxes. Evenings, by contrast, often can seem subdued, with postwork stragglers and GW students taking a study break.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Kaz "fondles the details," as Nabokov used to say: There's the thoughtful sake list with a couple of interesting flights; a serious green-tea roster; even house-made soy sauce (and instructions on how to use it). And when the master is at his best, few in the city rival his sheer inventiveness.

WHAT YOU WON'T. At times it seems that Kaz has grown bored with his lot as a sushi chef–and is more taken with synthesizing the flavors of East and West. Spikes in quality from visit to visit can leave you wondering whether the commitment and energy are still there.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.