Cheap Eats 2010: Kotobuki

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

Why go: An exception to the avoid-cheap-sushi rule, chef/owner Hisao Abe’s DC restaurant eschews flourishes and puts his money where it counts—fresh seafood.

What to get: Ankimo, small pucks of pâté-like monkfish liver; sunomono salad, a collection of vinegary shrimp and fish; nigiri, including fatty tuna and yellowtail; one-stop meals such as eel kamameshi and eel unadon (both rice-based dishes with broiled fish) that come with pickled mushrooms, radish salad, and miso soup; mango mochi, a rice-paper-encased scoop of ice cream.

Best for: A fast meal for couples and small groups—there are few tables, and they turn quickly.

Insider tip: Specials are often worthy—look for a sign on the wall or ask your server what just came in. 

>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here.  

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