Citysearch Editorial Review. About five minutes north of D.C.'s Chinatown, Kushi Izakaya & Sushi takes great care to present the best of Japan. The sushi bar imports all of its ingredients, down to the charcoal that fires its robata grill, from Japan. The effect? Food and a space that mirror one another in simplicity and good taste. The gray-hued, loft-like space feels open and relaxing, and the wide bar is spacious enough to accommodate a small group for a full meal. Bartenders recommend the grilled pork belly dishes. On the other end of the spectrum, Kushi offers a ton of vegetarian choices (denoted by an encircled "v") for herbivores: The sundried tomato, asparagus and Asian pear roll is a particularly tasty choice, along with the grilled rice balls.
Cool concept, pricey fare.
I guess a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant could be equated to a Spanish tapas-style restaurant - order many small dishes to share. But the risk you run at any tapas spot is the same here at Kushi - if you're hoping to really feel satisfied, expect to pay for it.
The food is fairly good here; I've tried pork belly, duck, clams steamed in sake, kimchee, and Japanese eggplant. The pork belly was delicious (though pork belly is hard to ruin). The duck, grilled and skewered, was tasty but basic. The clams were surprisingly a bigger portion than other dishes but a bit overpowered by taste of sake. I enjoyed the kimchee and Japanese eggplant, which had a nice char to it.
Others whom I was dining with had eaten at other izakaya restaurants in other cities and said some of their favorite dishes were not on the menu, which they expected to find here. Pricing was also an issue, as they said that the other places they visited were considerably cheaper than Kushi. However, this is Washington, and many may be willing to pay the standard DC-high prices for a unique new spot like Kushi.
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