Cheap Eats 2008: Kotobuki

Why go: To paraphrase the writer A.J. Liebling: No sushi as cheap is as good, and no sushi as good is as cheap.

What to get: Rice casseroles known as kamameshi—a version with eel is our favorite—which arrive with an array of vivid snacks such as lobster salad and pickled mushroom; oshizushi, a long roll of pressed mackerel on lightly vinegared rice; ankimo, the foie gras of the sea painted with a light soy sauce; nigiri of yellowtail and white tuna; sashimi of scallop and sea urchin.

Best for: A quiet lunch for one or an intimate dinner for two. The cozy, 24-table dining room is a serene spot to dine—with only the ceaseless, all-Beatles soundtrack to accompany you.

Insider tip: The sake selection is small, but the presentation is beautiful—and worth a splurge: The small, chilled wooden box comes with a pendant-size spoon for lining the rim with salt, a noted sake enhancer.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants

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 Logan Circle.