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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
8.4
7.8
$55
Japanese
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Mon–Fri 6:00pm–10:00pm
Sat 6:00pm–10:00pm

Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.kazsushibistro.com

Downtown
1915 Eye St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 530-5500
Kaz Sushi Bistro
A hip spot that vastly exceeds downtown sushi expectations—as long as you keep it simple

For excellent sushi in a fine but unstilted atmosphere, we offer you Kaz. The restaurant does have some premeditated flair and creative quirks, but they tend to be endearing rather than annoying. While Kaz’s more daring dishes are hit-or-miss, traditional sushi offerings are extremely fresh, and food is presented with a simultaneous eye for detail and tongue-in-cheek salute to style.

Those who find pedigrees reassuring will be delighted to learn that head chef Kazuhiro Okochi “Kaz” is certified in the art of preparing fugu. On occasion, the restaurant offers invitation-only tastings of the blowfish (its flesh, if cut incorrectly, can be fatally poisonous), and such lore, as well as Kaz’s full biography (he was previously an artist, pastry chef, and ice carver), is dangled in front of diners as they peruse the menu. The restaurant is organized into a main seating area and a smaller, sharply angled room a half-story up. Kaz is graced with the requisite tropical fish aquarium, slinky tables and chairs, zigzagged lighting, and minimalist place settings. Although the furniture is trendy and the average age of diners is on the younger side (thirtysomethings dominate), the atmosphere is quiet and elegant.

Many of Kaz’s menu offerings seem like trendy propositions (tuna with roasted almond, kalamata olive, or black truffle, for example, or plum-wine-infused-foie gras), but flavors are well-matched rather than spuriously combined, and the final execution is elegant. Rolls are cut into pieces of different heights and adorned with curly springs of baby watercress or thinner-than-matchstick carrots.

In season, the soft-shell crab special must be tried: the pieces of meat are cut large, and the creaminess is allowed to show through without much adornment from the kitchen. And Kaz excels at traditional, unornamented nigiri (sushi pieces) too: the yellowtail, again, is served in large pieces, and the flavor is cutting and clear. We have almost never had a piece of fish here that tasted anything less than bouncily fresh, and that is a rare thing indeed.

The restaurant also serves bento boxes at lunch and noodle dishes for dinner, but we’d recommend sticking to the pure sushi. And flavor-mongers, beware: the wasabi at Kaz is just as cutting and tasty as the fish, but it’s very hot.

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