100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Makoto

Customers at Palisades restaurant Makoto cook their own beef shabu shabu—thinly sliced beef, mushrooms, and udon noodles—in a hot pot. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Consider Makoto’s foyer—where diners swap shoes for a pair of
slippers—the portal to a tranquil, rarefied universe of light woods and
buttery track lighting. Perching on boxy stools in the narrow Palisades
dining room, guests tuck into an eight-course,
omakase-style
feast that culminates in
shabu shabu—a bubbling hot pot featuring
strips of tender rib-eye steak. Sushi, included in the set menu but also
available à la carte, is among the freshest and most precisely cut in
town.

Makoto’s request that guests go easy on cologne can come off as
fussy. Trust us, though: one strong-smelling person in the tiny room
dramatically alters the experience. Perfume yourself judiciously.
Don’t miss: The menu is set each night, but recent
highlights have included steamed salmon and tofu with salmon roe; wild
mushrooms in soy sauce; persimmon with tofu sauce; daikon-wrapped shrimp;
fatty-tuna and flounder sashimi with fresh wasabi; Chilean sea bass with
sweet soy-sauce glaze. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and
dinner, Sunday for dinner. Very Expensive.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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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.