There’s good sushi, as in good for lunch, takeout or happy hour. There’s very good sushi – usually accompanied by other Japanese small plates – for a fun evening out. But it’s tough to find really amazing sushi – unless you go to New York. Or Tokyo, I presume.
My favorite terrific sushi place in DC has been Sushi Taro. Both the quality and the selection of the sushi are great. And they have wonderful small hot and cold plates, unusual dishes that make the experience even better. Put another way: I’ve rarely left Sushi Taro without sampling more tastes than I really should have. Just too tempting.
But I may have a new candidate for best sushi in DC: Sushi Ogawa.
Yes, it’s in the first floor of a big apartment building on Connecticut Avenue. But don’t let the location fool you. The sushi is first rate – melt in your mouth freshness. And once you step past the woodblock-printed curtains, through the stone paved walkway, you quickly forget that you’re in Kalorama and steps away from traffic. Somehow, the clean, spare decor of the dining room looks very Japanese, and it matches the simplicity and elegance of the dishes.
Oh, and Japanese hipsters seem to already know about it, even though Sushi Ogawa opened just a few months ago. By the way, I take this as a good sign: actual Japanese customers at a Japanese sushi restaurant. Kind of a seal of approval, wouldn’t you say?
So, if you like your sushi with lots of sauces and toppings with cream cheese and mango (aka more Americanized) – and apologies to my friends who do – this is not the place for you.
If you want to drink fancy cocktails with vaguely Japanese or Asian undertones, you know, the hipster craft cocktail set, this also is not the place for you.
Sushi Ogawa serves sushi and sashimi. You can get a tempura appetizer – scallop tempura, anyone? – or miso soup. But that’s it. And your beverage choices are limited to a nice selection of beers or sake. No wine, no cocktails. Not even a Japanese whisky.
But oh what a meal. A simple dinner of vegetable and seafood tempura, assorted sushi and Kirin light turn out – Amazing. Breathless in its simplicity, yet delicious.
It’s not inexpensive, but it’s the best sushi I’ve had in DC in quite some time.
The best sushi in DC ever? Well, I need another trip there to confirm. Maybe sit in the small and buzzy sushi bar next time, located across from the main dining room? Then again, I’ll need to check out the omakase, too …