Tag Archive for sushi

Fujimar or Lima redux?

fujilogo

My good friend and I tried out the newly opened Fujimar.  It used to be Lima, but Lima still exists.  Let me try it this way: Fujimar occupies the second floor of Lima, but the ground floor and underground level are still the old Lima.  Are you with me? To make matters more confusing, there’s no sign to alert visitors that there is in fact a restaurant within Lima or where that restaurant may be.

Fujimar looks different from the old (second-floor) Lima. It reminds me of South Beach.  The first section, decorated in black and deep red, contains a small bar and lounge-type table seating.  As you move towards the back, the color scheme changes into an icy blue-white.  The LCD screens lining the walls display a computer-generated fire.  Then, you’ll pass a few cocoon-like chairs that line the small hallway leading to the far end of the restaurant.  Apparently, these chairs have dual functions: aesthetics and sound insulation.  The latter will probably prove quite useful during more lively times of the week when you need a little peace and quiet to make a phone call . . . or just hide.  The far end of the restaurant contains a sushi bar and a separate regular bar as well as several tables.

As you may have surmised, the place is visually stimulating, but what about the food you ask? Fujimar offers Japanese-Latin inspired cuisine including sushi and ceviche. Hawaiian fish dominates the menu. Our waiter explained that the fish is flown in from Hawaii several times a week.  I have to say I find that a little hard to believe.  Isn’t it cost-prohibitive? How long can a restaurant really afford to do that?

My friend and I ordered a few snacks: Red Pepper Barramundi ceviche, Hapu’upu’u nigiri, the Ebi sushi roll, and platanitos. The ceviche was nice, but overdressed with a rather thick red pepper puree.  If you don’t like the taste of raw fish, then it’s perfect.  I personally prefer a lighter dressing on ceviche. The Hapu’upu’u was light and fresh. The Ebi roll and platanitos were the best of the items we tried.

Overall, I didn’t see anything that made me eager to come back.  I think Fujimar will be of limited use to most patrons.  For example, for those that are still participating in events known as “big nights out,” then Fujimar might be a nice place to pre-game — that is, grab a few drinks and a snack while looking fabulous.  And, hey, nothing beats the short commute to the dance club two floors below.  I’m not sure how much fun Fujimar will be during the week. My friend and I pretty much had the place to ourselves on a Thursday night.  Maybe that’s because people couldn’t find it.

Fujimar 
(a/k/a Lima's second floor)
1401 K Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
PH: 202.789.2800
EMAIL: info@FujiMarRestaurant.com
DINNER:
Mon-Thurs: 6-11pm
Fri-Sat: 6pm – midnight
Sun: Closed
SUSHI BAR:
Mon-Thurs: 6pm–1am
Fri-Sat: 6pm–2am
Sun: Closed

The Hamilton: A little of everything

Gnocchi (courtesy of The Hamilton)

The Hamilton sounds too good to be true.  At 37,000 sq. ft and three floors, this ambitious new venture from Clyde’s Restaurant Group that occupies the old Borders space at 14th and F St. NW, seems to do it all. It’s open 24 hours, has a live music venue, and several bars and dining rooms.  Its menu seems to have been cobbled together using menus from diners and Korean, Japanese, Italian, and BBQ restaurants.  Its late night menu offers pancakes, burgers, and everything in between.  I’m tired just thinking of all its attributes.

The question is with such a huge menu and varied cuisines, can the kitchen really master any of them?  And moreover, does it have to? The answer to both questions is no.  While some dishes were better than others, nothing was outstanding and nothing was offensive.  So while the “kitchen sink” approach to cuisine seems inherently offensive to me, I can see how a little of everything, even if mediocre, can often times be good enough.  This is especially true when you’re with a group of people who can’t settle on one type of cuisine or when you “need” that late-night, post-drinking grub.  I also imagine the Hamilton will be a favorite among restaurant industry folks who need to unwind after working a long shift.

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Review: Oh Fish! was Oh My!

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Usually the words “fast food sushi” evoke feelings of fear and my bowels cringe a little.  I’ve always steered clear of food court sushi or similar establishments because I’m an elitist and very picky about my sushi.  Yet, when Chef Kaz Okochi’s name is attached, I have no qualms about checking it out.  As some of you may know, I first wrote about Chef Kaz’s newest venture, Oh Fish! (19th between L and M Sts. NW) in August.  I didn’t get a chance to try it out until today.   I passed this place TWICE before I noticed the unassuming store front.  After I worked up an appetite wandering around like a fool, I walked in to what is now my favorite “fast food” sushi place in DC.  I suggest you check this place out as often as you can!  It’s a bowl-cringe-free zone.

(Check out my prior review for details about the menu and set-up.)

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Restaurant preview: Oh Fish! — the latest endeavor from Chef Kaz

OhFish__Logo_1_Final_300-315x195
One of my favorite sushi places in town, hands down, is Kaz Sushi Bistro (I St. NW between 19th & 20th).  The decor is understated, the food is top notch.  Above all else, Chef Kaz Okochi really does focus on the quality and variety of fish he offers and the techniques used to prepare said fish.  And it’s safe to say that he’s been doing this quite successfully for many years now.

 

While he’s been involved in recent joint ventures, like El Centro D.F. and Masa 14, with Richard Sandoval (of Zengo, La Sandia, etc.), Kaz has also been busy with a new venture of his very own – Oh Fish!  The idea behind Oh Fish!, located at the corner of 19th & L St. NW, is to let the consumer make their own sushi.  So, you pick (1) the size of your roll — large or “skinny”;  (2) your fish; (3) a few veggies; (4) opt for one or more additional toppings like fish roe or sesame seeds; and (5) the sauce (soy, wasabi soy, spicy mayo, etc.).

 

Boom! Your very own, made-to-order sushi roll.

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Review: What happened to Cafe Asia? Go to Kaz instead.

cafe asia

Last night I had dinner at Cafe Asia with one of my besties (translation: best friend).  Near the end of our meal, bestie asks me: “What happened to Cafe Asia? It used to be such a scene.” Good question, bestie. Good question. I don’t know what happened.  I remember dining there often several years ago and thinking it was pretty good sushi in a cool, funky environment.  Since then I’ve been to Cafe Asia twice trying to use the Groupon I purchased on a whim, thinking that Cafe Asia hadn’t changed.

Mistake.  Cafe Asia has undergone some renovations.  It has a new look and a new approach to executing their dishes.  I’m not a fan of either.Yeah, I said it.The new look seems oppressive to me.  The two times I’ve been there in the last six months (trying to rack up $40 worth of food so I could use my Groupon), I’ve felt claustrophobic.  It’s as if I’m walking into a sad basement with poor lighting and furniture I’d find in a hotel conference room.

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