“You don’t have a reservation?” the hostess asked, looking around the room. “Hmmm. There’s one table left outside.” It was a 50-degree night, but we considered ourselves lucky. Because what looks like an ordinary neighborhood sushi joint is actually one of the most consistent Japanese kitchens in Washington. We like to order broadly, grazing among the interesting sushi roster (featuring esoteric selections like live scallop) and the inventive small plates and rolls, then finishing with that izakaya standard, katsu—a massive, thinly pounded pork cutlet dredged in panko, deep-fried, and swiped in tangy, dark sauce—otherwise known as beer-drinking food of the highest order.
Where you can get it: 101 Church St., NW, Vienna; 703-242-1350
Also good: Chirashi, a selection of raw fish over rice; salmon-belly and red-snapper sushi; shrimp shu mai; caterpillar roll, with eel and avocado; Costa Rica roll, with yellowtail and mango.