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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon 6:00pm–10:30pm
Tue–Thu noon–2:30pm
Tue–Thu 6:00pm–10:30pm
Fri noon–2:30pm
Fri 6:00pm–11:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–11:00pm
Sun 5:30pm–10:00pm

Features Delivery
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Essential


Glover Park
2309 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 333-4187

Chevy Chase, MD
5455 Wisconsin Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD
(301) 961-1644
Cutting-edge innovation—for the 1970s, anyway—and good, fresh fish

In a city that celebrates tradition and longevity—monuments are never razed and long-serving Congresspeople are spoken of highly even by the other party—it is no wonder that its first sushi restaurant, Sushi-Ko is still so venerated. While others force edgy fusions upon sushi or insist on serving it to thumping club music, this 30-year institution has kept it simple and classic, if not exactly cutting-edge. The idea here, in décor and presentation, is simplicity. The minimalist space can feel boring, and the lighting too bright, but the constant crowd makes for a fun, convivial atmosphere. If you can, sit at the sushi bar, and order omakase (chef’s choice).

The menu is a hybrid of white-bread American Japanese (teriyaki, dragon rolls); more traditional dishes (age-tofu, smoked mussel soup); and a host of Nobu-inspired modern fusion dishes that often employ raw fish, and are surprisingly good. The quality of the sushi, too, is better than most places in town; a board changes daily letting you know if the sushi chefs have uni, toro, aji, or live scallop. Ama ebi is delicious here; it’s sweet and succulent.

The website goes into a florid description of ikebana, which dictates that all the chef must do is whittle away the excesses that stand in the way of the natural flavors. This is best exemplified by a tuna tartare with sesame seeds and slivers of green apple, which are kissed with sesame oil and formed into a pretty red bloom. A spicy scallop roll sees more elaborate dressing, but a refreshing restraint comes in the form of a soft-shell crab roll whose spicy sauce is on the plate, allowing the diner to decide how much (if any) is needed.

If you want to stray from raw fish, asparagus-and-rock-shrimp tempura is a pillowy treat; a crisp, salty, lightly oily skin gives way to a flavor enhanced by the steam treatment within. Duck breast is surprisingly also first-rate. But under no circumstances should you miss the marinated, crispy eel. It is delicate, sweet, and smoky.

The wine and sake list makes more of an effort than do other Japanese restaurants, with some unoaked white Burgundies that will pair nicely with the food. It’s nothing spectacular—little here is—but it’s also one of the city’s most reliable tables, night in and night out.

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