A few weeks ago, Living Social had a sweet deal – $30 for $60 worth of food and drink at Kushi Izakaya, a popular Japanese restaurant in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. My boyfriend Paul and I decided to go last-minute on Friday, so I thought I’d make a reservation just in case. We couldn’t get in until 10 p.m.!
We arrived about an hour early, and enjoyed a few pre-dinner drinks at the bar. Kushi is a hip spot, with loud music, high ceilings and an industrial, warehouse design. Although the entire restaurant is one large room, it is divided into different areas, such as the sushi bar or the grill.
When the time came for our reservation, Paul and I were excited to be seated at the sushi bar. As we looked over the menu, we watched one of the chefs skillfully slice an enormous piece of tuna for nigiri, maki and sashimi.
I would describe Kushi’s menu as a combination of sushi, raw bar and small plates. To start, we ordered the Eringi mushrooms (a type of oyster mushroom) from the wood grill. With a smooth, creamy texture, these mushrooms had a rich and meaty flavor.
We also ordered Yakisoba noodles with pork, a duck breast skewer, fatty tuna sashimi (pictured right) and sea urchin sashimi. All were wonderful, especially the sea urchin, which we’d never tried before. Although bright orange in appearance and slime-like in texture, the sea urchin’s flavor was a pleasant surprise – tangy and sweet. For $10, though, you only get a few bites of it.
Next, we ordered tuna tataki from the raw bar, with grated daikon (a Japanese radish), garlic chips and dashi soy. Tataki, a Japanese style of preparation, involves quickly searing meat or fish over a hot flame. We finished our meal with braised pork belly, kaiware sprouts and scallion maki. For the price ($8), I thought the portion was too small (there were only four pieces).
For a big city “sushi scene,” Kushi is your place. I do think it is a bit overpriced, but I loved its high energy atmosphere and delicious, unique Japanese fare as well. The Living Social coupon was great, saving us 50% on our entire meal. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more great deals in the future.
(Kushi logo borrowed from whatmickyeats.blogspot.com/2011/08/kushi-izakaya-sushi.html)