100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 19 Izakaya Seki


A sashimi platter at Izakaya Seki. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Izakaya Seki


At many sushi restaurants, the cooked is given short shrift in favor of the raw. At local izakayas, it’s often the reverse, with an emphasis on skewers and snacks and a perfunctory array of nigiri. Father/daughter team Hiroshi and Cizuka Seki satisfy both ends of the spectrum at their spare, bilevel place. (Look for the glowing red lantern hanging out front.)

Stationed behind the downstairs counter, Hiroshi assembles beautifully cut sashimi—if you’re lucky, the evening’s assortment will include luscious toro or a sparklingly fresh Kumamoto oyster.

Meanwhile, his cooks know their way around a fryer, turning out popcorn-light, crunchy bites of chicken and lacy shrimp-and-vegetable fritters. And the shiso-strewn fried rice with garlic chips is as warming and satisfying as comfort food gets.

Don’t miss:

  • Tuna tataki
  • Scallop carpaccio
  • Uni (sea urchin) with a quail egg
  • Barbecue short ribs
  • Grilled mero (sea bass) with sweet miso
  • Vinegar-cured mackerel
  • Burdock-and-lotus-root salad.

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.

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.