Sushi should be treated with the utmost respect and attention. That is because no other food that looks as simple is as hard to prepare. Make no mistake, poor choice of ingredients and lousy preparation could lead to such a horrible product that an utter disgust would haunt you even days later.
For the sake of wholesome, true experience, therefore, it is paramount to try this Japanese delicacy prepared in the most reputable places. Luckily, one doesn’t need to travel all the way to the Far East to savor what genuine experts could offer here in Washington, D.C.
Let’s discover some of the best of sushi restaurants in the District:
Let’s start with the most inexpensive yet delicious sushi you can get in D.C.
Sushi Express, located at 1990 K Street NW just across the James Monroe Park, doesn’t promise a fine dining experience. It is just a hole-in-the-wall type of place that focuses on the quality of affordable food. Despite its simple style, space, management, and decoration, Sushi Express can easily move up the rankings because it really is good taste-wise.
So, if you are a bit picky when it comes to the price but would still not settle for anything that just fills your stomach without pleasing your gusto in the process, this is a perfect place to check out.
For as low as $10, you can get six pieces of California rolls and another six pieces of salmon skin rolls and will leave fully satisfied. A second visit is guaranteed for almost anyone.
My happy place is the most homestyle bento in DC: Sushi Express inside 1990 K St. They've been at it for decades! pic.twitter.com/ctyHjxGTme
— Laura Hayes (@LauraHayesDC) August 21, 2015
Set your threshold a bit higher and you should arrive at Torai. At 751 8th Street SE, it is an absolute hidden gem for an immaculate, Japanese culinary experience near the Anacostia River waterfront in the south.
Granted, this tiny neighborhood restaurant wouldn’t initially strike a casual visitor as a “must” place to try sushi at. Those who do go there, however, cannot stop recommending it. Try ordering Sushi Deluxe for $11.95 to feast on six – really big – pieces of California rolls. Chances are, you will come again for a bigger bite with Sushi Jumbo of nine tuna rolls next time.
Those of you who are hungrier or in good company and look for a selection of Japanese food not limited to sushi alone would certainly be better off with giving their “4 in 1” sets a try. For $17, you will get two pieces of nigiri, three pieces of sashimi and a hand roll, as well as six pieces of California rolls. Bottom line, regardless of your choice, you will find everything wonderfully curated here.
The only downside could be, for some visitors at least, that it is a self-service spot. So, whenever you step in with an empty stomach here, you should also expect to go through putting together your order yourself.
In southern D.C, there are two spots in great demand from residents. For those who happen to be in the area, they are equally recommendable.
The first one is Sushi Capitol at 325 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, which falls into the same price category as Torai. So it is, too, pretty affordable for all the sushi you can stuff in your mouth after making sure no one is looking.
Order a Sushi Special for $18.95 and get seven pieces of nigiri as well as six pieces of rolls with various fish and sauces used to prepare them. The traditional miso soup is not a bit less delicious here. A big bowl of it may complement your experience here.
the snow disappeared as fast as o'o toro disappears from my plate. pic.twitter.com/86602YIT5Z
— Sushi Capitol (@sushicapitol) January 21, 2015
In just walking distance from the first two places on the list is Sushi Hachi. Located at 735 8th Street SE, it is a more spacious and only slightly more expensive Japanese restaurant.
To start, try their crab or spicy tuna rolls for $10 each and you will not be less than thankful that you did. At the end, you will know that your food has been well attended to and brought to you with delicate affection. It won’t, therefore, be surprising that all Sushi Hachi chefs have experience in preparing sushi in its very homeland and the business has been around for nearly two decades.
In order not to leave your experience vulnerable to some parking difficulties, it is better to get on the metro to the Eastern Market station and take a comfortable walk of about five minutes to get there. Reservations are conveniently available online.
— Ken Kahn (@WrathofK) January 3, 2019
Turn your eyes north now, and you will find an equally mesmerizing yet even more elegant sushi spot.
At 828 Upshur Street NW, Himitsu is often full of people trying to get their hands on what the restaurant’s artist cooks will put on the plates. So, don’t be sad if you realize you have to wait to get in during a casual visit. Better get your name on the reservations list and stop by one of the bars in the area while you wait for your turn.
For a more comfortable, hassle-free experience, you can book a table online. To do so, you will be asked for a $10 deposit per person which will later be deducted from your bill, but keep in mind that you will lose that money if you miss your reservation for some reason.
Let’s now take your sushi intake to a higher level, for a higher price, obviously, but most will testify that their money has been well spent.
Sushi Nakazawa at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue is not a place that you can visit any time of the day. On Sundays, for instance, it is always closed. On any other day of the week, you can find it open for lunch for only an hour from 12 p.m. If you want to come here for dinner, know that it will serve customers only between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
That said, your best choice at Sushi Nakazawa would be going for the distinct Japanese dining experience of omakase where you leave it to the chef in the kitchen to decide what you will be eating. For $150 in total, you will get a course with nearly two dozen pieces. And with every bite you take, you will be informed what flavor to expect and where the ingredients are coming from. The support staff remains at the service of the fancy restaurant’s guests at all times.
So, if you can tolerate paying more for not the food alone but also for the experience as a whole, there is not a better place to go to in all of D.C. than here.
Delicious and beautiful sushi in the spotlight at the Emperor's Birthday Reception, with help tonight from Chef Nakazawa and the staff of Sushi Nakazawa, opening soon at the @TrumpDC Hotel! pic.twitter.com/02fjfdhh1z
— Japan Embassy DC🌸 (@JapanEmbDC) December 13, 2017