I love Kaz Sushi Bistro. I would gladly give chef Kazuhiro Okochi my first born son, or my life savings, or whatever he asked of me in exchange for a dinner or two. Fortunately, on Restaurant Week, all I had to give him was $30.06.
Kaz is not the best deal that restaurant week has to offer. We paid, more or less, what we would have paid for the same items a la carte. And the service and craftsmanship were perhaps a wee bit lazier than Kaz's usual high standards. Still, the meal was fantastic.
I started with the "Grilled Baby Octopus." (Again with the babies!) The dressing was zippy and satisfying--sesame, soy, miso, something in the umami category) and the octopus was flavorful. My only complaint was the size of each leggy bite. The juvenille octopi were too large for one mouthful, too chewy to gracefully bite off, and the restaurant was too authentic to offer knives to its customers. The "Spicy Broiled Green Mussels" were also lauded by my dining companions, and the "Coriander Crusted Fried Calamari" held its own.
For the main course, I chose from a decent selection to create a sushi platter. The standout was the salmon and jalapeno roll. The jalapeno was raw and added just the right amount of crunch and spicy kick to the roll. A close second was the tuna tartare roll. (Isn't tuna tartare just raw tuna? Nope. The tuna, scallion, and sesame seed combo was unique and delicious.) The crunchy eel roll was good as well. For nigiri, I ordered the salmon with mango sauce, and the tuna with olive pesto. Both were perfectly good, but I'm increasingly convinced that--unless you're going with a chef's choice, or omakase--nigiri with funky sauce is a dodgy proposition. Better to go with classics, or leave yourself completely in the hands of professionals to create sucessful taste combinations.
Which is a nice segue to say: Kaz's tasting menu/omakase is the best in Washington. I've been lucky enough to have it a few times, and each has been a roaring success. Foie gras appears on a ball of rice amidst the traditional nigiri, what seems to be fish roe turns out to be tapioca, a dynamite salmon tartare is served in a martini glass, and raw fish swim in an unfogettable cold "sashimi gazpacho." There are $45, $60, and $75 versions. The Human Vacuum and I celebrated last New Year's Eve at Kaz, where we got an extra bowl of udon and visit from the chef, who told us that long noodles symbolized long life. It's not my own longevity I'm worried about, it's the chef's--would life be worth without good sushi?
Final assesment: Eat at Kaz Sushi Bistro. Get the most expensive tasting menu that you can swing, or order a bunch of rolls and entertain yourself mightily. Disclaimer: After the Kaz menu, salad bar California rolls will seem like a crime against nature.
Food, Restaurant Reviews, Washington DC