This review appears in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.
One sign you’re in the right place for sashimi and rice balls is when the diners all around you are speaking Japanese. Tokyo feels close when you’re ensconced at the ground-floor counter of this placid neighborhood restaurant, watching chef Hiroshi Seki glide his knife through fresh fish with the precision of someone who has been doing it for 53 of his 68 years. The raw dishes show his eye for good fish, and the simmered ones — rich pork belly with a snowy block of tofu and a hit of Japanese mustard — are pure comforts. As for the fried items, have I ever had lighter, crisper baby squid tempura? Maybe in my dreams. Good vibrations come courtesy of the Beach Boys, and dinner draws an eclectic crowd, sometimes musicians headed to the nearby 9:30 Club or Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. →
Izakaya Seki: 1117 V St. NW. 202-588-5841. www.sekidc.com.
Open: Dinner Wednesday through Monday.
Prices: Sashimi platters $14 to $39, small plates $3.50 to $18.
Sound check: 66 decibels/Conversation is easy.