Cheap Eats 2016: Izakaya Blue Ocean

Cheap Eats 2016: Izakaya Blue Ocean
Photo by Scott Suchman.
Date-Night-Worthy

Japanese izakayas are becoming the faux speakeasies of our time—hipper, pricier versions of neighborhood pubs—but you won’t find $14 cocktails and one-bite snacks at this lantern-lit dining room. The food speaks for itself, though sometimes it doesn’t—ask your server to translate the many specials handwritten in Japanese, which might yield a crunchy, umami-packed salmon-skin salad or ichiya-boshi, cured and grilled squid. The sushi menu also holds unusual finds—abalone, sea eel—though there’s nothing wrong with sticking to more familiar staples: miso-marinated cod, ramen packed with toothsome noodles, and sushi and sashimi plates that are artfully arranged like flower bouquets, and just as colorful.

Also good: Unagidon (eel over rice); shrimp sushi; toro taku (toro-and-pickled-radish roll).

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.