Tuesday, June 16, 2009


(Not much of the sushi was left when it occurred to me that I hadn't taken a pic yet! So here is what was left at that point...)

Success! The day that I posted about wanting to check out all the Washingtonian Magazine's Cheap Eats, I just happened to be planning a dinner with one of my college friends, J. She was sold on going to try Kotobuki -- we were both in the mood for sushi -- and decided to meet up there. Kotobuki is located in NW DC, in the Palisades area (just West and North-ish of Georgetown). The area is mostly residential, with several highly regarded restaurants (Makoto and Blacksalt being two of them). Of course, this day it was a typical DC summer day with strong afternoon thunderstorms. After battling traffic across the city, I finally made it there (a little bit late...) and somehow managed to parallel park my car a block or two from the restaurant (loads of street parking, but sometimes it takes a little bit of effort!).

J was waiting at the restaurant, keeping our place in line. Kotobuki is on the second floor of the building that also houses Makoto. It is a small restaurant, probably about 10 tables and also a sushi bar. We were quickly seated (the place was packed, but luckily a few tables opened up when I made it there). The menu is pretty barebones - but not in a bad way! The focus (I think) is on fresh fish and serving up more traditional rolls/sushi as oppose to inventing some sort of fusion sushi. Albeit, there are many sushi rolls and nigiri options!

J and I ordered a platter full of sushi to share -- yellowtail with avocado, spicy tuna, soft shell crab roll (for the Maryland girl in me), eel and avocado roll, uni (sea urchin -- I had finally tried it with my mom a few weeks back who is uni-obsessed! and J had never tried it so it was a must...), and scallop nigiri. The uni was VERY fresh -- deliciously creamy and sweet, like custard! I also loved the scallop nigiri -- I'm always a big fan of the raw scallops with a little bit of wasabi planted on the sushi rice. Just a little bit sweet and so smooth. The maki sushi was good as well, although we thought that the rolls started to taste very similar after awhile (which is strange right since the rolls were quite different...).

The big selling point to Kotobuki is good sushi for good prices. I was surprised to see otoro sushi on there for $6.50. All over the city, otoro is usually SO MUCH more expensive. Another selling point, I've heard, are their kamameshi dinners. You pick the protein and it comes in this pot cooked up with rice. You also get several small dishes to go with it and miso soup and it is all very affordable.

It is true that the service isn't particularly friendly. But, good Japanese food at a good price is hard to come by in DC (oh, I mean, good Japanese food is available, but at a much higher price!), so it is worth the trek over to Kotobuki.

4822 MacArthur Boulevard NW

2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20007


Karena said...

Glad you had a good Kotobuki experience!! :) I must admit, I'm also a little obsessed with uni and thought it was fantastic there. For some reason I always forget they do their spicy rolls without spicy mayo...hm.

Jackie said...

Yes! I'm definitely taking my mom there so she can try the uni too :) I'm glad that we went on a weekday too (per your suggestion!) because it was already so packed, I can't imagine what it would be like on Friday or the weekend.

nora@ffr said...

hmm a must go.. yumm!! love the idea :)

OysterCulture said...

Looks fantastic - I never made it to this place, but it was always on my list - ah well, someday.

Evan Halperin said...

My favorite sushi restaurant in DC, glad to see someone else loves it.

Jackie said...

I did! I hope to go back sometime soon...