With well over 200 restaurants in Chinatown, a guide to the best sushi shops is vital to finding the best rolls available. Well, we’ve got you covered – here are five of the top Chinatown sushi restaurants that are sure to whet your appetite.The Gallery Place/Chinatown metro area features one of the highest concentrations of restaurants in Washington, D.C. The plethora of eateries can be overwhelming to both tourists and D.C. residents unfamiliar with the area, but the smells wafting from the restaurants confirm that they know what they’re doing. Chinatown sushi restaurants are no different (except that they don’t give off much scent, hopefully), but there are almost too many from which to choose. Have no fear – we’ve got your back. Here is a list of five sushi restaurants in Chinatown that offer a variety of price ranges and specialty dishes.
SEIWHERE: 444 7th St. NW HOURS: Opens Mon.–Sat. at 11:30 a.m., Sun. at 11 a.m. | Mon.–Thur., closes at 10 p.m. | Fri.–Sat., closes at 12 a.m. | Sun., closes at 9 p.m. Since opening in 2008, SEI has become the sushi champion in D.C. In recent years, they have received multiple awards and mentions from Zagat, the Washingtonian, and the Post. Foodies with distinguishing taste and a desire for innovation are never disappointed – even Michelle Obama is a fan. One of their best sellers is the citrus salmon sashimi with mandarin orange and crispy kale. Another famous pick is the fish and chips roll, a unique twist on the British staple takeout food. Crispy strips of potato chips top a traditionally shaped sushi roll with flounder, malt vinegar, and a wasabi tartar sauce. SEI is the priciest of the Chinatown sushi restaurants on our list, and when you also factor in the upscale décor and atmosphere of the restaurant, it’s safe to say that SEI is a better date night choice than a sushi smorgasbord selection.
Umaya IzakayaWHERE: 733 10th St. NW HOURS: Lunch — Mon.–Fri., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. | Dinner — Sun.–Thur., 5–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat., 5 p.m.–12 a.m. While Umaya is a bit more downscale than the previous entry in our Chinatown sushi guide (it’s closer to a beer garden or sports bar than a fine dining restaurant), they still provide top-notch meals in their low-key, relaxing atmosphere. This tavern serves sushi, sashimi, and incredible appetizers that pair fantastically with the cocktails found on their menu. Customers can’t help but rave over their braised pork belly buns and their miso-glazed sea bass, but the sushi bar is the real highlight of Umaya. Our tip for dining here applies to nearly all the top-quality sushi restaurants across the world -- try the “omakase,” which roughly means “sushi chef’s special” in Japanese (or more accurately, “I’ll leave it up to you”). While pricey, this offers the greatest value for your meal while also giving the chef at the helm their chance to show off their skills and the finest fish currently on the menu.
Wok and RollWHERE: 604 H St. NW HOURS: Open daily, 10:30 a.m.–2:00 a.m. For a night out with friends, libations, and fantastic sushi, Wok and Roll is a great choice. They offer some of the best cheap rolls out of all the quality Chinatown sushi restaurants, as well as fantastic fried finger food and drink specials that are hard to beat. They have karaoke parlors available for gatherings both large and small, with full bar and select food service available in each room (rates available here). Wok and Roll’s extensive menu can appear quite daunting (especially once you’ve already sampled their drink menu a few times), but if you focus on the specialty rolls, like the Dragon, Rainbow, or Bamboo rolls, you’ll be satisfied in no time. If you’re on a budget, the crunchy salmon roll will be right up your alley.
Are there any other Chinatown sushi shops that shouldn’t be overlooked? Where’s your favorite place to grab a few rolls? We’d love to find out, so let us know in the comments below!