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“Delicious and Fresh”
Review of Kaz Sushi Bistro

Kaz Sushi Bistro
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Ranked #52 of 3,463 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$20 - US$200
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Restaurant details
Neighbourhood: Foggy Bottom - GWU - West End
Description: Since 1999, KAZ Sushi Bistro has been loved by locals as well as people from all over the world. Menu is very unique, from authentic Japanese regional food to one of the kind unique original dishes are served in casual and friendly ambience.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The food was fresh and scrumptious and they had a good selection. The green tea was amazing. However, the place fills up quickly and the tables are seated very close to one another. In addition, the pricing is a little on the expensive side. But they we totally fine with us sitting there for a couple of hours and continually ordering. I recommend this place but make sure you get a reservation!

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Thank Kim M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edvina I, Guest Relations Manager at Kaz Sushi Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Dear Kim,
Thank you for providing us with some feedback. We’re happy to hear you enjoyed your time at Kaz Sushi Bistro and that we managed to exceed your expectations with our food and service. Looking forward to welcoming you back again soon!
Best regards,
Kaz Sushi Bistro

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 204 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The first thing you read about Kaz Sushi Bistro on its web page is that it is “One of the few authentic Japanese/sushi restaurants remaining in DC.” Sadly, that is true, not only in D.C. but pretty much everywhere. If you’ve read any of my other sushi bar reviews you know that I am old school and always on the lookout for 100% authentic sushi crafted by trained-in-Japan chefs. Kaz Sushi Bistro is such a place; during a recent two-hour visit I didn’t see a single California Roll or Philadelphia Roll (with that sushi abomination cream cheese!) cross the bar. No Godzilla rolls either! If that is your thing save your time and money. If you are like me and crave the real thing this is your go-to place in D.C.

We started out with two appetizers. First, a favorite: ankimo. I have ankimo multiple times but never quite like this. Usually this dish of monkfish liver is served poached or steamed and accompanied with ponzu sauce. But this version was poached and then gently smoked. Served dry, it yielded up a more subtle flavor that the ponzu can mask. Second was a visually delightful and delicious “Bird’s Nest.” If I were to use the word “whimsical” to describe one Japanes dish, this would be the one. It consists of thinly sliced baby ika (squid) wrapped around uni on top of a dash of truffled soy sauce, topped with thinly sliced nori (the seaweed used to wrap sushi rolls) and quail egg yoke (bird’s nest, get it?). After admiring the look one mashes the egg down into the nest, swirls everything around to get a good mix and then gobbles it up too fast. If you go you must order this.

Time for the sashimi course. We were staring through the glass case at a gorgeous piece of Bluefin Tuna O-Toro, arguably the greatest delicacy in any sushi bar. It was so buttery and rich that we had to order a second round of two pieces. Four pieces were a very reasonable $32. Next up: Walu, a white fleshed fish from Hawaii. Also known as Escolar, the fish is not recommended for consumption in large quantities, but we saw no ill effects. It is frequently billed as other fish, such as white tuna, but this was the real deal. Next up was a lightly smoked Arctic Char. Tasking a bit like smoked salmon but with less oil, this was the most beautiful sashimi we ate but not our favorite. However the Yellowtail Belly (like Maguro, the best part of the Yellowtail is the rich, fatty belly meat). Yellowtail is rich and buttery to begin with; this was even better. The Saba (mackerel) was exquisite, just the right blend of salt followed by vinegar in the marinating process. (Some lesser sushi bars buy pre-marinated Saba; this was the real thing. Botan Shrimp were in season (November to the end of March). To be honest, I am not sure exactly how they are different than what one would call Amae Ebi, but the taste is similar (sweet). I guess we were in a belly mood because we completed our trio of belly fish with Sake (salmon) belly. Agin, the taste is like garden variety Sake, but richer. Next up was Kampachi, the slightly smaller cousin of the Hamachi (Yellowtail). I once thought that Kampachi was baby Hamachi but Iron Chef Morimoto straightened me out at a seminar in New York. The taste is similar but more delicate. Our final sashimi selection was Aji. AKA horse mackerel, Aji is another marinated silver skin fish. It gets old fast, so freshness is imperative. An old friend, Oka-san, who was a sushi chef in Philadelphia many decades ago, used to catch them himself in the Chesapeake Bay and serve them up as takake (chopped up with scallion). Kaz’ was equally good.

I should note that Kaz (more about him later) personally grated some real wasabi for us, which greatly enhanced the dining experience. Many people have eaten tons of sushi and never tasted real sushi. Lesser places serve up a mix of green dye and horseradish that isn’t really wasabi.

With all that sashimi, we had little room for sushi and only had two pieces each. The unagi (smoked eel) was amazing. There are some sushi bars and, of course, supermarket sushi, that don’t understand that the eel needs to be heated and the sauce on top is hot as well (don’t dip it in soy). Finally, Uni sourced from Maine. Love it or hate it, but Uni is a close second to O-Toro as the ultimate sushi bar taste. Fresh Uni is unbelievable but Uni that is even a day past its prime is an iodine-flavored disaster that will turn the first time eater off of Uni forever. This was Uni that would turn the novice into a Uni lover.

A word about sake. We sampled eight different sakes over the course of the evening. How that came about is as follows. Three different three-sake tasting flights are offered. Pick two and you get a bonus seventh sake, a Nigori sake, the ulfiltered cloudy, high alcohol variety. Between the seven varieties we had dry, slightly sweet and fruity versions; too many to keep accurate track of. Trust me, it is worth the price and is a real education I sake. (Note, Kaz Sushi Bistro was 0.7 miles from our hotel; I wouldn’t recommend attempting Washington’s horrendous traffic after all that sake,). For the eighth sake I told Kaz that I wanted something Karakuchi, which means very dry. Kaz poured some Oze No, which was not on the menu and not normally sold by the glass.

There were four chefs behind the bar, all working at full speed. They were a little shy (it seemed) at first, but as the evening progressed warmed up to my mediocre Japanese and made suggestions and comments.

The Kaz behind Kaz Sushi Bistro is Kaz Okochi. He wasn’t behind the bar but was essentially the maître de and sake sommelier that night. Born in Osaka and trained in Japan, Kaz is an affable and extremely helpful host that understands that when you are there for serious sake and sushi you don’t want a California Roll. He is an SSI Sake Advisor and the sake menu shows that. While remaining a traditionally Japanese chef, his creates sushi many subtle European touches as well.

An extravagant evening of sashimi, sushi and sake for cost $225 plus tip for two. You could easily double that price in Manhattan.

    • Value
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1  Thank Australopithecus1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2018 via mobile

First time dinner, a friday night, with reservations. Seated immediately, and by the time we were finished the place was completely full. Staff is friendly and efficient, kept things appropriately paced with 3-4 dishes at a time being delivered. We had a selection of small plates, salads, and sushi. Stand outs included the crispy Brussels; grilled avocado with lobster; monkfish tempura; and spicy eel roll. The rolls especially are perfect bite size, not ginormous concoctions that fall apart. And pretty easy on the pocketbook, too. Will definitely return

1  Thank ThomasR312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edvina I, Guest Relations Manager at Kaz Sushi Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 2 March 2018

Hi there,
Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed review full of recommendations. We’re thrilled to read your impressions of our food and service. Looking forward to welcoming you back soon!
Best regards,
Kaz Sushi Bistro

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2018

I recently went to Japan, and this place reminds of my trip! I'm stoked I found them scrolling through Seated! The staff are all so polite and gentle. The food tastes fresh. I would recommend getting the tasting platters if you don’t know what sushi to order! Their prices are reasonable as well. Will definitely go back soon.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Julia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edvina I, Guest Relations Manager at Kaz Sushi Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2018

Dear Julia, thank you for your great feedback. We're happy to hear we could exceed your expectations with our food and service. Looking forward to your next visit!
Kind regards,
Kaz Sushi Bistro

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Reviewed 30 January 2018 via mobile

I love the sushi here and the sea bass and avocado are a must but I will also add one more suggestion: Harris is a fantastic waiter!

Thank DMTMIAT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edvina I, Guest Relations Manager at Kaz Sushi Bistro, responded to this reviewResponded 9 February 2018

Hi there,
Thank you for taking the time to review us. It’s wonderful to hear you were satisfied with our food and impressed with Harris’ service. Looking forward to welcoming you back!
Best regards,
Kaz Sushi Bistro

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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