Last night I had the chance to catch up with an old friend for dinner and we decided to go to Kushi Izakaya & Sushi in the City Vista complex. I will admit that it was my first time there and I was excited to try the sushi and small plates based on all of the positive feedback I have been hearing over the past few months. The restaurant itself has multiple seating options which includes bar seats at the wood fired grill as well as seats at the sushi bar and regular dining tables throughout the space. It's a large restaurant that I found to be a bit cold in its colors and decor, but the food and tea very quickly warmed us up once we were seated. The menu is split into different sections that include robata which are dishes that come from the charcoal grill, kobachi which are small plates or appetizers, kushiyaki which are grilled skewers, and sushi. Since this was my first time dining at Kushi, I was sure to order at least one thing from each section to get a good taste for the different cooking styles and preparations offered at this traditional Japanese restaurant. Also, I ordered a sparkling Sawa Sawa sake to get the night started because that seemed like the right thing to do. The waiter kindly brought over a large platter of differing sake cups and allowed me to choose the one that I would be drinking from. I thought this was a very nice touch.
We started with the kobachi and ordered the japanese potato salad, fried tofu, and the eggplant and chicken miso. The tofu was soft and soaked in a delicious asian broth that was the perfect thing to eat on a cold snowy night. But the eggplant and chicken miso or nasu agedashi was fantastic. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The eggplant was soft and warm and topped with ground chicken in a sweet almost barbecue-esque sauce. I gobbled it up fast, and thought the flavors were so unique and enjoyable.
Other favorites included the tsukune or chicken meatball on a grilled skewer and the miso marinated black cod which came from the charcoal grill. The black cod was buttery and flaky and everything I hoped for in a sweet marinated fish. I would not skip this one on the menu. My friend Philomena loved the duck thigh as well which was as crispy as can be on the outside and meaty on the inside. I also tried a sushi roll which I thought was carefully crafted and included very fresh fish at its center which is of utmost importance.
Kushi is one of a kind in Washington because it delivers the full Japanese dining experience of a grilling station as well as a sushi bar. Plus, its location works nicely as it's planted below hundreds of new apartments and condos and just a stones throw away from the bustling Chinatown area. The food is very well done, and from all the positive rumblings I hear from the food circles, I think Kushi is here to stay. No complaints from me.