100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 44 Sushi Sono

At Columbia’s Sushi Sono, a whole aji (horse mackerel) is deep-fried with salt and served as sushi or sashimi. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Yes, we know it might be a long drive up I-95, and yes, the lines can be long, but there’s a difference between workaday sushi—even good workaday sushi—and the sushi at this lakeside gem in Columbia.

Exhibit A: a plate of butterfish, already flayed. On one side, the slender cuts of fish are perched atop pads of vinegared rice; on the other, the cuts are presented unadorned, as sashimi. When you’re done, the waitress will remove the plate, returning ten minutes later with the fried carcass. Sprinkle it with salt and chomp the soft, crunchy bones like Cheetos.

Focus most of your attention on the specials, scrawled on a dry-erase board, and supplement your order with the rolls, which are unrivaled anywhere in the area in their rococo creativity.

Don’t miss:

  • Sunomono (cucumber salad)
  • Agedofu (deep-fried tofu)
  • Fried soft-shell crabs
  • Dragon Roll, with lobster, tempura shrimp, and avocado
  • Bridal Veil Roll, with spicy lobster salad, tempura flakes, and tuna
  • Sashimi and nigiri, including live scallop, yellowtail, sweet shrimp, fatty tuna, and salmon

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.