Great New Restaurants 2010: Kushi

25 places that are making the Washington dining scene better than ever

What makes this Mount Vernon Square restaurant the most exciting to emerge in 2010? Consider the daily special that started a recent meal: five lobes of sweet, fresh sea urchin atop a mound of ice. Chef/owner Darren Lee Norris is so devoted to sourcing the best fish that he gets daily FedEx shipments from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. This dedication is backed by chefs who mind the details: The rice is perfectly balanced between sugar and vinegar, and every piece of nigiri is delicately—meaning classically—portioned. Raw fish is the draw, but the heart of the dining room is the robata, a big charcoal grill commanded by cooks who turn out an array of tasty small plates, including meatballs and skewered slabs of foie gras. The open room can get as loud as a club, but if you listen, you’ll hear that much of the din is about the food—and rightly so.

Don’t miss: Bari chirashi, an assortment of raw fish over rice; sashimi of fresh scallop and yellowtail belly; duck-sausage-stuffed quail; sea-salt gelato.

For a full review of Kushi, click here.

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.