100 Best Restaurants 2011: Makoto

No. 26

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Ducking into this sliver of a restaurant is like finding Narnia on the other side of a wardrobe: Here you’re transported from a DC street to a Japanese sanctuary. Diners don slippers, turn off cell phones, and tuck belongings into storage bins that double as stools. (Men are required to wear jackets and slacks.) Waitresses in kimono-style garb guide diners on how to eat each dish.

Sit at the bar and you can watch a trio of chefs slice slabs of mackerel or yellowtail—both very good sashimi choices—or turn eggs into an omelet, which makes for a tasty two-bite nigiri. The $60 eight-to-ten-course tasting menu—you also can order sushi à la carte—follows the less-is-more principle, so orange roughy gets just a swipe of miso glaze, deep-fried porgy is garnished only with ginger and bell peppers, and steamed mussels are flavored with a simple rice-wine broth.

Also good: Recent highlights of the seasonal tasting menu were persimmon with tofu sauce and roasted duck; a salad of endive, avocado, shrimp, mango, and spicy soybean dressing; yellowtail collar with soy sauce; shabu shabu, a hot pot for dipping beef, shrimp, scallops, and mushrooms; scallop and salmon nigiri.

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

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants


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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.