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Makoto: worth it?

f
foie grasias Sep 1, 2007 08:25 PM

I am heading there tonight. I am expecting a unique dining experience with top notch food and sushi that is on par with kaz s.b. I am expecting to be slightly uncomfortable seeing as i cant cross my legs. I dont know how much i will be spending....

Thoughts?

  1. c
    c_d Oct 23, 2007 11:51 AM

    For this special Kaiseki cuisine, the money totally worth it. It is actually cheap for that kind of quality food compare to anywhere in the world. To me, Kaz is just a very typical restaurant, food is okay good with regular menu, totally got no style in it, not impressive at all. These two restaurant just can't be compared.

    1. d
      Dakota Guy Oct 23, 2007 07:30 AM

      It far too late to reply to the OP but the answer to the question is an unreserved YES. It is my favorite Japanese restuarant and the kaiseki meal is well worth the modest price of $60. I do order the sashimi upgrade but still a wonderful meal at a moderate price.

      1. p
        PollyG Oct 22, 2007 12:03 PM

        We made our seasonal trip to Makoto for kaiseiki on Friday, Oct. 19. The price is now $60 base, with several option add-ons. We were totally blown away by the fatty tuna, which came as an option with the sashimi course and as a single piece standard in the sushi course. It really did melt in the mouth. The broths that were served with the mussels and with the soba were both outstanding; the former was studded with little crisp bits of ginger, while the latter had a very clean bonito flavor.

        We did have one dish that just didn't work for us; the balls of persimmon studded with "seasoned tofu" and served in a hollowed out persimmon were a big disappointment. The persimmons were under-ripe and the tofu creme did not work that well with the persimmon flavor for our palates. It was a shame, because the presentation was really nice and we generally enjoy persimmon.

        The visual winner was the precious sweet chestnut (it had been marinated in syrup) surrounded by a shrimp/fish paste, studded with fine noodle "spikes" and deep-fried to look like a chestnut's prickly exterior shell. My husband initially didn't get the visuals on this one because he's never seen chestnuts right off the tree. It tasted pretty darned good, too.

        A quibble about the fatty tuna add-on for the sashimi: If you select this, you get only the fatty tuna, and not the other fish that are included with the regular sashimi selection. The spouse and I fixed this by sharing; the regular sashimi selection comes with more than one piece of each fish.

        As usual, service was darned near flawless. There are 4 waitresses for the 27 seats at Makoto, so that should give you a good idea of the level of attention. I continue to be amazed that they can deliver the service and quality of food at the price point. Yes, it is sort of tight in the small space. But so was the Inn at Little Washington, and I'd much prefer multiple meals at Makoto to one meal at the Inn. More courses, and I didn't feel as if I'd been poisoned by butter at the conclusion of the meal.

        A carafe of the unfiltered sake for each of us, plus the sashimi add-on for him, plus tax worked out to about $180 total for the night, pre-tip. Makoto isn't cheap, but it is a tremendous bargain for what you get.

        1. m
          masonuc Sep 6, 2007 07:51 AM

          Yes, but I'd prefer two visits to Sushi Taro or 4 visits to Kotobuki (right above Makoto) instead. It is great place but quite expensive. Best in DC, and if someone else is paying it is my first choice for all of DC restaurants. But I have never been on my own dime and probably wouldn't go on my own dime.

          1 Reply
          1. re: masonuc
            t
            tdonline Sep 8, 2007 03:12 PM

            Makoto is a great deal if you go during lunch. Many of the selections are under $20. I had kaiseki for less than $20 and I don't drink so I was able to make out w/o spending too money. Sure the lunch isn't quite as grand as the dinner menu (I'm guessing since I haven't been there for dinner) but the food was very delicious and generally my lunch reminded me of my time in Japan. If the lunch portions don't quite fill you up...ask for extra rice, my rice bowl was replaced as soon as it was empty by the attentive waitress. Since many of us are still in summer casual wear, note that Makoto has a minimal dress code...it's not stringent but do not show up in cut-off jeans, etc. Oh, bring a sweater! The temperature was a very cool 64 while I was there last month.

          2. p
            PollyG Sep 2, 2007 05:53 AM

            I think it is worth it, but if you are ordering the Kaiseki, don't expect it to be all sushi. Kaiseki is a seasonal menu, about 10-12 small plates. Some will be top notch sushi, most will be cooked.

            4 Replies
            1. re: PollyG
              c
              curious4food Sep 2, 2007 08:49 AM

              i generally like makoto over kaz.

              1. re: PollyG
                f
                foie grasias Sep 2, 2007 09:17 AM

                How much does kaiseki run>? typically...i know it changes

                1. re: foie grasias
                  d
                  deangold Sep 2, 2007 09:47 AM

                  We ate there and had the full Kaiseki course with the addition of sashimi for $50. The latter was not worth it IMO. Very small portions of good fish but you can do as well at Kaz, Tako or Sushi Ko for a lot less. The rest of the menu was quite good, the cold sake we chose was perfect to accompany. But what made the meal worth it was the tranquility of the spot and the feeling of pampering to our needs.

                  Having said that, we have not been back because it is so expensive (without the sashimi supplement it would have been north of $200). But if we were in the same spot, needing a quiet tranquil night of dining and had an extra $250 to burn, it would be on our list.

                  1. re: foie grasias
                    p
                    PollyG Sep 2, 2007 02:32 PM

                    I believe it ran $68 pp for the Kaiseki. Only one of us drinks, and not heavily, so we kept our sake bill under $20. The artistry of the dishes is part of the experience. There has always been at least one dish that just blew us away. Expect service to be unobtrusive but FAST---there isn't a lot of time between courses.

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