Image: Spanish Mackerel and Baby Squid.
Last Updated: March 2022
Current Status: The dining room and bar are open for sit-down. Take-out and delivery available.
It is tempting to start any review of Sushi Ogawa with the setting, but to do it justice you must start with the food. Chef Minoru Ogawa has worked in D.C. and in the U.S. for a number of years. His experience and dedication to craft shows. The subtle and true nature of the food here requires you to pay attention to each bite. The Omakase is like standing in the ocean letting the tide wash up, then retreat to let you catch your breath. After an hour you will be gently rocked into a quiet pace of exquisite bites rolling over your tongue. This is one of the most exceptional dining experiences in D.C.
There are actually two dining options at Sushi Ogawa, either the bar or the dining room. Both choices are Omakase only currently, though in the before times à la carte was available in the dining room and may return as things return to normal (it is available for take-out). As expected, the fish is seasonal and sourced from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market among other locations. Each piece is carved and treated with thought and care. The rice (according to my expert friend) is very good – just firm enough to provide texture and balance to the fish. The spicy, sour, or other flavorings are chosen with care and applied with restraint so that the focus always is on the flavor of the fish. Other components can include savory or sweet custards, tempura, and soup.
The restaurant is located in the first floor of an apartment building in Kalorama, a ten-minute walk from either Dupont or Woodley Park. As you enter and part the Japanese curtains there is a stone walk-way taking you to the back, where you diverge to either the dining room or the bar. There is also an option for private rooms. The staff is friendly and almost gentle in their manners, adding to the serene atmosphere. Only simple decorations and a low buzz of voices hang in the space. A solid sake list, as well as a few other beverage options are available. Ask for assistance and you’ll likely find that the pairing is memorable.
It defies any market-tested theory and rests solely on its own identity and merits. It is an overlooked treasure for D.C. and worth the splurge.
Other Guidance: The location in the neighborhood creates a more casual environment than the setting implies, but then again, the neighborhood is Kalorama, so it is not that casual. Sushi is the center of the meal here so GF can do well, but vegetarians will be out of luck. The restaurant is located on the ground floor, but there are several small steps to navigate into and across the space.
Address: 2100 Connecticut Ave NW #100, Washington, DC 20008
Washington Post: Tom gave it a positive First Bite, but has yet to come back for a full review.
Washingtonian: Made the Washingtonian list in 2017 at #34, but then fell off. Preview from 2016.
DonRockwell.com – Don’s write-up from 2017 was very laudatory – and we agree on the sake recommendation.
Michelin: Plate rating with an out of date description of Ogawa’s other ventures.