As new sushi restaurants roll out across the region, a trend toward chef-driven rasting experiences emerge.
At trendy Shaw neighborhood’s Japanese eatery Zeppelin (1544 Ninth St. NW, DC, zeppelindc.com) mixologists and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder—the brains behind Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar—have doubled down on elevating the city’s sushi offerings. Hailing from Tokyo, chef Minoru Ogawa heads up the omakase program.
The second-generation sushi chef comes to the table with four decades of experience, including overseeing sushi programs at every Mandarin Oriental on the East Coast. Ultimately what makes the difference in sushi is freshness.
You get that in spades at Zeppelin, as chef Ogawa sources over 30 different varieties of seasonal fish and shellfish directly from Toyosu Market in Tokyo. Standouts include the Pacific mackerel and Japanese amberjack, red snapper and scallop.
Zeppelin offers three omakase menus at its second-floor omakase bar. Prices range from $65 to $100 per person and include sake, wine and Champagne pairings.
“After my first omakase experience, I was instantly ignited with a dream and passion to provide this magical experience to others,” says executive chef Saran Kannasute of Yume Sushi (2121 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington, Virginia, yumesushiva.com). It might be in Virginia, but the popular mural-clad restaurant brings in a sophisticated crowd.
Guests come to revel in Kannasute’s uniquely tailored, two-hour omakase-style dining experiences available 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly (Monday excluded). Maximum capacity is eight diners and reservations are required. Sake connoisseurs should note that Yume Sushi also has the area’s largest collection of the spirit with over 100 different options.
Traditionalists can also try omakase at Nobu Washington DC (2525 M St. NW, D.C., noburestaurants.com/washingtondc) where Omakase for Two ($175) is offered weekly, Thursday to Sunday. The yellowtail jalapeno Nobu Style Sushi is a fan favorite. Just please don’t ask for a crunchy spicy Chesapeake California dragon volcano roll.