The Japanese restaurant, which originated down South, features a variety of raw fish sure to sate sushi aficionados. There’s nigiri ($9-$12), sashimi, and gourmet rolls ($9-$17) doctored with everything from marinated kelp to buttery sea urchin. Feeling adventurous? An omakase option ($80-$120) allows the dedicated sushi chefs to lead diners through a spontaneous tasting menu.
Just don’t sleep on items from the cooked side of the menu.
Executive chef Bryan Emperor, an alum of decade-old sushi restaurant Ten in Charlottesville, Virginia, has carved out room for selections that would be right at home at one of the area’s tony steakhouses. He sears cumin-spiced lamb chops, and slices of tender rib-eye steak wrapped around pearl onions and shishito peppers over a wood-fired robata grill; slow-cooks beef short ribs for 48 hours; and crowns fluffy sea bass with layer of puffed rice. Meanwhile, he credits specialty supplier Suzuki Farm in Delaware with providing a bounty of hard-to-find ingredients including mizuna greens, shiso, and spicy-sweet kinome.
“They have plants that are not available in all of North America,” Emperor says of his long-time source.
D.C.’s debut O-Ku is scheduled to operate from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, to start. Management says lunch service could follow in the future.
Status: Scheduled to open June 22. 1274 Fifth Street NE; website.
Scroll down to see the opening menu and pictures of some of the featured menu items:
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