100 Best Restaurants 2010: Sushi Sono

No. 40: Sushi Sono

Cuisine: Some of the most creative, exuberant sushi-making in the area emerges from the busy kitchen at this lakefront restaurant. Chef King Lin is a persnickety shopper (he procures some of the best chu-toro, or fatty tuna, around) and possessed of a vivid imagination. Witness the fishing boat he fashions from a small horse mackerel (the fish is sparklingly fresh) or his magnificent Dragon Roll, a tour de force of color and drama. Rolls are a point of pride—they’re not filled with the scraps from preparations of nigiri and sashimi but treated (and often priced) as featured players.

Mood: Eye-catching plates of sushi sail through the dining room as heads turn and point, and the line of diners congregating by the door for a table grows longer. (This is arguably the toughest reservation in Columbia.) The bustle is balanced by the serenity of Lake Kittamaqundi visible through the long plate-glass windows.

Best for: A night of splurging on the high-priced delicacies and rarities that dot the menu.

Best dishes: Snow Balls, panko-rolled, deep-fried shrimp croquettes dusted with Old Bay; shrimp hand rolls; sashimi or horse mackerel (ask the kitchen to fry the skin and bones for a pleasurable treat); sashimi of wild baby red snapper, fatty yellowtail, and o-toro, shipped from Japan; salt-grilled geoduck clam.

Insider tips: Stick to sushi and sashimi—the tempura and the rendition of shabu shabu are ordinary.

Service: ••

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best 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.