Plaudits: Washingtonian 2009 #89, Washingtonian 2008 #93
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom
With the expiration date on a Capitol Dish coupon coming up fast, I decided to invite Official Friend of DCWD Chi out to dinner with me to "best sushi in DC" contender Kaz Sushi Bistro.
Kaz Sushi Bistro sits on the walk-up floor of an office building, noticeable only from the outside for its simple Verdana-style silver sign out front. When you walk inside, the decor is a theme of sticks and straw, evident in faux straw in glass panels and sticks in light windowboxes of bright red and yellow set into the ecru walls. The furniture is mostly two-tops in combination, including rows of half-booths along the walls, and Asian in styling with flared chairbacks and polished wood tabletops. Otherwise, it's a mix of shades of white and olive green, with a sushi bar in the back and soft light fixtures abound.
Also, I have a little nostalgia about Kaz, as it was the site of my first real dinner date in college. I was so nervous and "adult" dating was such an unknown quantity to me that I wore a suit to dinner. Oh man, memories.
I went with a few small plates to diversify what I ate, starting with a sea scallop nigiri with prosciutto, creme fraiche, and chive. The flavors were good but definitely not in enough quantity, as you only got a little bit of the nice prosciutto and creme fraiche combination. I did appreciate the rice quality, but just not enough to sate me.
I guess the centerpiece for my meal was the "birds nest," thinly sliced calamari stacked in a small cylinder, topped with uni, quail egg, and a truffle soy sauce. With so many components to choose from, I thought it would be bustling with flavor and texture. I was right on one of those factors, as the dish had some nice gooeyness from the egg and sauce, and the slickness of the calamari. Still, it was basically without any strong flavor whatsoever.
Still hungry, I decided to just go for it and get my normal order of toro, this time the bigeye variety. I've had some great experiences with toro, and have since been chasing that ever since. This one did not measure up as much, and was actually so tendony that it made it impossible to eat in more than one bite. Same good rice, same just okay fish.
Chi had the seared scallop nigiri with lemon and sea salt, and an order of the shrimp and vegetable tempura. Having not tasted them I can't say how it was, but I imagine it was more of the same.
Good sushi, just not nearly as good as other places in the city. Sort of expensive, and probably worth it to try some other places instead. And I left hungry.
Food Rating: ** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Bar Rating: N/A
Vibe: Calm to chatty
Cost: $$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing: I guess let's replicate what that first date was, and get tickets to GW's Lisner Auditorium, which in the next few months hosts Lady Smith Black Mambazo and its annual Flamenco Festival.