Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kushi - Mt. Vernon Square, DC

Sorry I've been MIA guys! These past 2 weeks with me being sick and now the bf has been tiring. However, we did have time to celebrate my birthday! Capricorns baby! Last year consisted of drinking and dancing with 30 of my friends at Lotus Lounge. This year I was super anti-celebratory. I just wanted to have a chill dinner with the bf and save $ at the same time by using a Groupon. We ended up going to Kushi, a Izakaya (Japanese gastropub) in Mt. Vernon Square. There is metered street parking and the closest metro stop is Mt Vernon Sq - 7th St/Convention Center on the green/yellow line.

The interior is split up into 4 sections: main dining room, robata grill, bar and sushi bar. Very simple decor, nothing really fancy on the walls. Large blocks of wood, smooth concrete and hanging light bulbs.

This izakaya is something unique to DC when it comes to Japanese food. The focal point of the restaurant is the open robata grill, which is where you can watch the chefs in action! Small plates and kushiyaki (grilled skewered items) are the specialties. The bf and I were able to sit at the robata grill, which I would recommend because it's fun watch and talk about during dinner.

The menu is quite overwhelming. There are many sushi, small plate and kushiyaki options. It took the bf and I a while to decide which ones seemed worthwhile to try. Like other tapas-style places, the small plates are meant to be shared.

This little shrimp "shu mai" item arrived at our table, and we were like "did we order this?" We were then told it was a complementary item to start off everyone's meal. Very yummy too!

I love braised pork belly ($4.50) because of the tenderness and fat. This one came with a nice broth and mustard to add some acidity. I enjoyed it, but the bf thought it was too fatty.

We wanted to try something that sounded different and ordered the egg custard with seafood and mushrooms ($7). It was very silky and had the right amount of salt.

From top to bottom: duck breast and scallion ($4), crispy chicken skin ($4), lobster tail ($18). The bf liked the duck more than I did because I thought it was a bit tough. The chicken skin was good but doesn't beat Popeyes fried chicken skin. The lobster tail was delicious too but not worth the price.

The bf chose the chicken breast w/ plum ($5), which I found a bit dry, so I let him have 2 of the 3.

We enjoyed the grilled squid legs ($4) a lot actually. Cooked perfectly, not overcooked or chewy. Nice simple grilled flavor.

Very impressed with the yellowtail & scallion roll ($7) because of the great quality of ingredients. It almost melts in your mouth. Also, I don't recall seeing yellowtail chopped before, so that was nice choice that contributed to the smooth texture.

We also ordered flying fish roe ($3.50) and eel ($5). The fish roe was oily, but didn't leave a greasy film in my mouth. I liked that they were cold, so it was a nice sensation paired with the warm rice underneath it. The eel was fresh and a cut large. The texture was soft and not scaly.

We topped off dinner with some unique ice cream flavors. Black sesame and wasabi topped with crystallized ginger ($3.75 each). The black sesame was more enjoyable because it reminded me of chocolate making it easier to eat more. The wasabi was veryyyy different! The 1st bite will awaken your taste buds. I enjoyed the fiery sensation at first, but as I kept eating it, it intensified and the flavor changed to the point I didn't want to eat it anymore.
The food came out quickly and it's relaxing to watch the chefs at the robata grill because they're very calm while they cook. The staff was nice and easy-going, and that was exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday. I wanted an interesting, but laid-back night eating high quality food. I was full, but like many other restaurants serving small plates, its not enough food for the bf at that price. I would say a few items we had were memorable (yellowtail & scallion roll, grilled squid legs and wasabi ice cream) while the others were good, they didn't leave a lasting impression. Some items I was hoping to try that night like sea urchin and extra fatty tuna were unavailable.

465 K Street, NW
Washington DC 20001
Kushi Izakaya & Sushi on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Bbq or DIE! said...

I live near this place and have been looking to try it - thx to your intel, now i must. Going for the squid legs mmm