Kotobuki, 4822 MacArthur Blvd NW, 2nd Floor, Washington DC 20007 (202) 281-6679

I’ve been searching for the my Holy Grail of sushi – great sushi without crippling my wallet. Dottie was off yesterday so we ventured to Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant in DC, about 5 min from Georgetown in Palisades Park area. Kotobuki ranks 65 in the Washingtonian’s top 100 and I was ready for some really good sushi.

So we entered up stairs to a very small space … Kotobuki can probably seat about 30 people max including the sushi bar. For me, I like these small places because it’s more intimate and I get to eavesdrop on our neighbor’s conversations. The place was packed because it was lunch time and we ended up waiting for about 5 minutes. A very good sign was that Kotobuki was filled with a lot of Japanese businessmen, they know where the authentic Japanese food is. The short wait gave us time to survey the menu, which was very limited – a very good thing. Simplicity is good in food. To me, the restaurants that have the simplest menus serve food that tastes delicious consistently. When the menu is more than 4, 8 x 15 pages in 10 pt. font, I get very weary of the content. Bruce Lee said “the height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”

We sat and our bellies were ready to feast. I ordered the sushi deluxe which was nigiri mackerel, shrimp, eel, salmon, tuna and a spicy tuna roll. Dottie ordered the eel kamameshi, eel cooked in a traditional iron kettle with rice and seaweed and served with 4 house special dishes and miso soup. WOW. The presentation was incredible and I have never seen anything like this before.

My sushi was perfect, supremely fresh and wonderfully plated. Each of the pieces had wasabi that was underneath the fish but the wasabi wasn’t too powerful … it had a little kick but it was really subtle. It totally satisfied my sushi craving. This is why I don’t buy sushi from the groceries like whole foods or trader joes. Because when I do eat sushi from those places that have been sitting all day, it absolutely doesn’t taste the same. The sushi at Kotobuki was excellent and now it will serve as my “go to” for sushi.

I’m such a good eater that I tasted all of Dottie’s eel kamameshi dishes. When it was served, it was incredibly hot. The best part was the crunchy rice that forms on the inside edges of the pot, something that my Lola would love. The eel really melted in my mouth, it was so tender. The other 4 dishes, artfully prepared, deserved much praise. A baby Japanese mushroom dish, seaweed dish, carrot and ginger dish and one dish I had no clue what it was. They each tasted so different it was like an explosion of flavors in my mouth.

With the Beatles playing and the meal finished, Dottie and I enjoyed sipping on our green tea. The tea had a distinct taste and we asked the waitress how it was made. She told us that Kotobuki makes their green tea with fried rice – cool!

Overall I give Kotobuki a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s the perfect sushi place with the biggest bang for your buck.

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