You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Kotobuki - Review

When we take friends to Kotobuki, they always ask “How on earth did you find this place?” It’s located on the second floor of a building over a high end Japanese restaurant in a quiet section of DC. Biscuit Boy actually read about in the Washington Post. Their food critic, Tom Sietsema wrote about it a few years back. He found the place by accident and raved about it. And while we don’t always agree with his reviews, this one sounded promising. Since our first visit there, it seems a lot of people have also discovered the place. It’s always busy. One trip there and you’ll know why. Great sushi and low prices.

I’d wanted to review Kotobuki for my blog for sometime but each time we’d go, we’d forget the camera. I really wanted to include pictures so I waited. And after several camera-less trips, we finally remembered it! We got what has become our usual table, right alongside the sushi bar. It’s a great place to sit and watch the sushi chefs at work. Plus they’ve added another refrigerated case right alongside the same side of the sushi bar as our table. Right there before our eyes were slices of octopus, salmon, tuna, Toro (fatty tuna), and yellow tail.

Kotobuki serves very fresh, very good sushi at $1.00 to $1.75 per piece. Rolls range from under $3.00 to $6.75 each. A great bargain for such delicious food. They also serve a traditional Japanese dish called Kamameshi. It’s a hot rice dish served with eel, chicken or vegetables. It comes out in a hot steel pot resting in a wooden box. You also get a bowl of Miso soup and a bento box with sashimi and three other small dishes of Japanese salads or veggies. It’s a very filling and soothing dish. We like it as much as we do the sushi and sometimes have trouble deciding which to get.

We started out with some hot green tea and a bowl of Ohitashi, a cold salad made from spinach or watercress that is lightly boiled, drained and served with soy sauce and bonito flakes. It was ok but I think I prefer the seaweed salad they serve over this. Biscuit Boy eschewed the cold Sake this time. For $5 you are served a small square box shaped cup set on a plate which catches any spilled sake from the cup. It comes with a tiny little bowl of salt and a teeny little wooded spoon. You place a little dab of salt on one corner of the box of the sake cup and sip the sake and the salt together. Sorta like a Japanese margarita.

From left to right: Spicy Tuna Avacado Roll, Eel Roll, Salmon,
Masago, Tobiko, White Tuna, Scallop, Flounder, Toro

We usually order one plate of sushi then get a smaller one for seconds. Gluttony be damned, this stuff is good. Our first plateful consisted of Toro (also known as Fatty Tuna), Scallop, and White Tuna for each of us; salmon for me, masago and tobiko for Biscuit Boy. Plus an eel roll and a spicy tuna avocado roll.

The Toro was spectacular! It just melted in your mouth. The scallop was silky smooth and the white tuna was rich and flavorful. My favorite roll, the spicy tuna avocado roll, is a wonderful combination of the rich creamy avocado paired with the hot spiciness of the tuna with the added flavor of sesame seeds. It all melds in your mouth and tastes wonderful. Our other roll, the eel roll, was as always, delish. The eel was warm and wrapped in sushi rice with a nice drizzle of sauce on top.

We plowed through that plate with ease and contemplated getting a second plate. I don’t know why we had to think about it, we usually always get seconds. So we got another sushi list from the waitress and got tuna, eel, yellow tail and a rainbow roll. While we waited we watched in amusement as the party next to us tried to cut a birthday cake with chopsticks. They broke one in the process and guy slicing the cake sheepishly looked over at us. I looked at him, smiled and said something about making the best of what he had to work with. By that time the sushi chef had our second plate ready and handed it to us from over the sushi bar.
Clockwise (starting at the bottom left):
Tuna, Yellowtail, Eel, Rainbow Roll

We have never gotten the rainbow roll before and probably won’t again. It wasn’t that we didn’t like it; it was just too darn big and messy. We did enjoy the yellowtail and the eel but our taste buds had been jaded by the Toro when it came to the tuna. It was good but our mouths were looking for that richness found in the toro. Note to self: get the tuna first THEN get the Toro.

And as always, we left Kotobuki full and content. And it wasn’t too painful on the wallet. We had 26 pieces of sushi, three sushi rolls and two cups of hot green tea for $48. And that included the more expensive Toro and yellowtail at $1.75 each and the rainbow roll at $6.75.

Total biscuit rating for the meal: 4 biscuits.

4822 MacArthur Blvd., NW
Second Floor
Washington, DC 20007

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each plate looks so very pretty! My sister would love dining out with you but I would just have a diet coke.

Glad you found a wonderful restaurant you enjoy.


3:00 AM  
Blogger Dough-Boy said...

Viscuit Girl took me and Dough-Girl there the last time we went to DC. I Loved it, the wife....ehhh, she doesn't care for Sushi ( I know, don't say it ). I can't wait to ge again...

We've got a good sushi place in our town, Ginsa of Japan. They actually have Toro, and several other that I have only seen in DC or other "costal" towns that can get it easily.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Viscuit Girl? Who is this Viscuit Girl and why's she muscling in on my turf.

Love ya little bro' even if you can't spell. ;)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds like a wonderful place. I love sushi more than any other food on earth!! To me it is just the perfect combination of tastes.

8:17 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

awesome! we've been looking for places to get sushi - BiscuitGirl to the rescue!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the description of the ritual involving the cold sake and the tiny spoon of salt. I've never heard of that before, but it's now been added to my ever expanding list of things to try.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a truly scrumtious post! Thank you for sending your entry for DMBLGIT 14! Hugs,

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can one not go after these descriptions and photos? Interesting how you hit upon having the tuna first before the toro. A knowlede-able sushi-tsu would begin his meals with the leanest sushi and work towards the more fatty, as you have suggested.

2:12 PM  

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