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Sushi to impress a New Yorker

My niece just moved to D.C. from New York and I am looking for someplace to take her for dinner to celebrate the move and her new job. She loves sushi and I want to show her that she can still get great sushi in D.C. but since I don't eat sushi, I don't know if that's really true. (I am willing to be flexible about finding something else on the menu for me to eat - I like most asian food). I have read prior posts on this board and there seems little consensus regarding good D.C. sushi places or asian restaurants for that matter. If you have a recommendation can you please include a few words about why you like the place you are recommending. Thanks!

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  1. Since when is New York a standard bearer for sushi?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joe H

      Agreed! I have had really good sushi in New York and really mediocre sushi in New York.

    2. How old is your niece? If she's young I'd take her to Sticky RIce on H Street. It's not traditionial, but it''s fun and very cool. And if you don't eat sushi you have a lot of options.

      If she'd like something very high-end, I'd go to Sushi Taro, btut I don't know if you'd have as many choices.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Culocho

        Trust me, Sticky Rice won't impress someone who appreciates the quality of NY sushi.

      2. Sushi Taro at the sushi bar (i.e., $100 omakase) ....something like 20 types of fresh seafood to pick from for sushi and sashimi.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ericandblueboy

          Sushi-Ko is always very good. There's one in georgetown and one in chevy chase.

        2. My two cents, if you think your niece would be open to something different, would be to get something other than Japanese food. New York (City, I'm assuming) attracts many more Japanese than the DC area, so there are correspondingly many more authentic Japanese restaurants.

          DC does have a larger Vietnamese population, and many good, if not great Vietnamese restaurants (mostly in the Virginia suburbs). My personal favorites are Minh's in Clarendon (very nice atmosphere) and Tay Do in Eden Center (less atmosphere).

          If you must do Japanese, my Japanese friends prefer Tachibana (in McLean).

          1. jeez, everyone seems to be in a crabby mood today. i think it's nice that you're trying to take your niece somewhere she'd like. i personally think kaz sushi bistro on 19th and I has the best sushi in the area; Bon appetit recently named sushi-ko in chevy chase one of the best sushi places in DC, so if you're close to there you may want to check it out (i've personally never been.) in northern virginia i like Asahi.

            I would avoid sushi taro solely on the basis that its renovation/revamping is pretty new, and i myself am waiting to visit until they've ironed out the kinks that naturally come with newness.

            1. Having lived in New York I would say that, in general, NY has superior sushi places. DC still has a few that can rival New York, however. I would agree that Kaz, Sushi Taro, and sushi-ko are probably your best bets in DC.

              1. Sushi Taro would be a very good place to go for sushi. The fish is very fresh. They'll also have non-sushi options as well. The atmosphere will be NYC-like, if that is a factor. Per the other suggestions, Sushiko is bland in taste and atmosphere. Sushi Taro won't disappoint food-wise. It may be expensive, but its worth it to celebrate!

                1. I think Damo Sushi in Rockville Town Center has excellent sushi and the town center is nice to walk around and people watch plus gifford's ice cream for desert. They also have a sister restaurant in Columbus Circle in NYC. Plus the restaurant is nice and they have some outdoor seating if the weather is cooperative

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: dining with doc

                    A vote for Niwano Hana in Rockville. It's authentic, reasonably priced, and not gimmicky like many sushi restaurants

                    1. re: eighthour

                      I like Niwano Hana, but it's not a celebration type of place.

                      If you want a really nice sushi meal in DC, you already have the right places: Kaz Sushi Bistro, Sushi-Ko, and Sushi Taro.

                      1. re: DanielK

                        Respectfully disagree. We've had many, many celebrations at Niwano Hana. The other places named are ok, but the food isn't as good and you're paying a hefty premium for flash (which is fine if that's what you want).

                        1. re: eighthour

                          Thank you all for your suggestions. Will be going to either Kaz Sushi Bistro or Sushi Taro, mostly because I want to stay in D.C. I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone by suggesting that New York has superior sushi, (as I mentioned, I don't even eat sushi, so I wouldn't be in a position to judge!). Just meant that my niece has eaten and enjoyed lots of sushi in New York and I wanted her to have an enjoyable experience here to help her feel at home in D.C. and of course to celebrate. Thanks again for all the replies.

                          1. re: jhfinxy

                            I would choose Kaz over Taro. It's a little more fun and innovative, and I think the quality is about equal. The people who work there are also nicer (they actually believe in customer service).

                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                            Sushi Taro is crap compared to high end NYC omakase sushi (Yasuda, Sasabune, Masa).

                            1. re: masonuc

                              Did you post a review of Sushi Taro's omakase? I don't recall seeing one but I don't stalk your posts either.

                              Whether Sushi Taro is crap compared to to NYC restaurants is irrelevant. The only question is whether there is something better in DC for omakase. If there are, I'd like to know where.

                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                Excuse me, but it is completely relevant when the title of the original post is Sushi TO IMPRESS A NEW YORKER.

                                Sushi Taro's crap has been reviewed by plenty of people. I have little to add except additional disappointment at the ruining of what was DC's best sushi restaurant.

                            2. re: eighthour

                              Respectfully disagree with your respectfully disagree. :-)

                              Niwano Hana is a great neighborhood joint, but doesn't even play in the same league as the omakase at Sushi Taro or Kaz. Either in quality OR price.

                      2. At the risk of being cynical, the task became impossible the second you added the caveat "to impress a New Yorker". No matter if it's pizza, bagels, hot dogs, or any other food one can name, it seems that many (most?) New Yorkers in exile from NYC will ALWAYS claim that "it's nowhere NEAR what I can get in NYC!"

                        Better to ask for "the best sushi in DC" and hope for the best, but steel yourself to endure the dismissive whining about how it's "not as good as in New York."

                        That said, I agree with those who suggest shifting to Vietnamese. It's a strong suit in the area, and even if it is "better in NYC", she may not have tried it there, and you may get points for exposing her to something new.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Warthog

                          I believe that Present is the best Vietnamese restaurant in the United States. But do NOT go on Sunday night when the chef is off. There are several threads on here from this spring where I posted numerous photos from a 14 course banquet that nine of us had there.

                        2. What about Sei? I expect the sushi isn't as good as Sushi Taro, but if you want a fun, celebratory vibe it might be a good option.

                          1. I have to say New York has many more sushi places, and excellent sushi places than DC. There are a lot more chefs with credentials like Chef Kaz in New York and I'd have to say it's so much easier to find good sushi in NY. Every hotel we stayed, you can find authentic Japanese places (owned and operated by Japanese folks) within the 5 blocks, which can not be said for DC. While we morn the loss of the old Sushi Taro, a Izakaya place not to be found anymore in DC, there are literally hundreds of them in New York. I'd have to say take her to Sushi Taro or maybe Makoto.

                            1. Not sure how this got missed but when I think of a celebration that involves sushi I go to the Makoto. Although this is likely after the fact it is certainly a place to keep in mind!!

                              1. Judging from your post, it seems that you're niece is already in town and probably has scoped out some sushi joints.

                                Even though she may be from NYC, that's no guarantee that she's eaten (nor appreciates) traditional sushi. Better to have a chat and find out what kind of sushi places she knows and likes and determine a suitable DC establishment from there. To correlate: if she's the kind of person who seeks out quality food then your choices are different than if she preferred places like Applebee's, TGI Fridays and Cheesecake Factory.

                                Without knowing her preference (and you are trying to please her with her choice), then you really are just shooting in the dark.

                                1. Perhaps Im missing something here but since when is EVERY new yorker automatically a sushi snob (or expert even)? Every single one of my friends and relatives who live in Manhattan (and that like sushi) have never uttered a single word of complaint about eating sushi in the DC area when they are visiting. Pizza? Bagels? Cheesecake? of course. Thats religious stuff in New York. Delis? Dont even think about it. But Sushi? Just because its a big city with lots of good restaurants doesnt mean New Yorkers wont like anything anywhere else. Now if your niece is a sushi elitist snob then take her to Bens Chili bowl and save up for a ticket to Tokyo. ;)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Insidious Rex

                                    95% of the quality sushi in NYC is easily replicated in DC. Kaz - or worse -- would fit the bill well. But if you are willing to spend more, NYC has high end places that are far better than anything in DC. These places get shipments fresh from Japan 4 times a week. Nothing like that in DC. There is some amazing Japanese food in NYC, but it ain't cheap.

                                    1. re: masonuc

                                      This is where you're misinformed. Sushi Taro does ship fresh fish from Japan and you can sample them at the sushi bar. I've never been to Sushi Taro until Sietsema gave it 3 stars so I don't know what it used to be like but the current version at the sushi bar has more choices for fresh seafood than any sushi restaurant I've been to in DC. I'm sure there are better Japanese restaurants in NYC, and even better restaurants in Japan. So the point isn't that Sushi Taro is better than the very best in New York, it's just good enough to impress even a New Yorker. I would ask you to try the 10 course omakase and give a comprehensive course by course critique rather than just telling us it sucks and there are better restaurants in NYC.


                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy


                                        (to paraphrase Keller)

                                        It's just food, not religion

                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                          As former NYer, we don't all go out to Nobu every night of the week when we are seeking out sushi. We would go broke. Rather, we seek out good fish for a reasonable price tag. Places like Sushi-Ko and Kaz fits the bill, as well as that place on McArthur (name escaping me). Sushi Taro is high quality so you pay for it. NY quality is great quality and a nice price.