The Japanese izakaya trend has taken off in Washington, but there’s nothing scene-seeking about this spare gem. Father/daughter team Hiroshi and Cizuka Seki quietly conduct one of the most impressive dining experiences in town. He stays behind the kitchen counter—among the best seats in the bilevel house—while she roams the dining rooms, often guiding guests to the best sake and soju pairings. Part of the thrill arrives with the illustrated specials menu, which lists assortments of sashimi flown in from Japan and might include fried or grilled delicacies such as custardy barbecue eel. That’s not to say you should disregard the regular menu, which highlights dishes Hiroshi has honed to perfection—the scallop carpaccio remains one of our favorite bites anywhere.
Don’t miss: Tuna tataki; barbecue short ribs; shrimp fritters; grilled oysters; chicken kara-age; braised pork belly; hot pot with seafood and tofu; garlic-fried rice; soba noodles with dipping sauce.