O-Ku Opens Today Near Union Market With Offbeat Sushi and a Robata Grill

O-Ku Opens Today Near Union Market With Offbeat Sushi and a Robata Grill


very well is a series that needs you to know that it’s now not a chain. the japanese-stimulated eating place has branches in Charleston, Charlotte, and Atlanta, with greater locations on the manner. however the proprietors insist the DC outpost, establishing nowadays near Union market, has an identity all its very own.

“There’s certainly not anything, nothing, on the menu from our other restaurants,” says coping with accomplice Steve Palmer. “I grew up operating in impartial, high-stop, exceptional-eating restaurants, and that i’ve been doing it for 30 years. at the same time as we grew, it in no way took place to me that we have to simply do the identical menu.” Even the eating place’s brand isn't like its opposite numbers’.

Chef Bryan Emperor, a new york local who lived and labored in Japan, was given loose reign to make the menu his own. Emperor first went to Japan as an change student after which labored for an funding bank there. “a part of my job become wonderful those men in japanese restaurants all around the world. I fell in love with the meals, so I give up the financial institution, and went to cooking faculty,” he says.

whilst he trained at a lot of eating places in Tokyo and Kyoto, Emperor says he’s now not bound through the equal handcuffs of lifestyle. yes, you’ll locate the usual nigiri sushi (huge eye tuna, Hokkaido scallop), however additionally more innovative services like sea eel with a cognac sauce or Tasmanian king salmon with golden tomato confit.

One issue that’s totally new to the very well logo is the robata grill. Emperor makes use of a special type of white alrightfrom Kyoto that burns awesome clean and hot (1,100 degrees). He’ll serve wagyu skirt steak and fowl yakatori from the grill, however also lightly charred “aburi-fashion” sushi.

in case you need a wide sampling of what the kitchen can do, alright offers omakase meals for $80 or $120. That choice will commonly encompass dishes from in the course of the regular menu to begin (now not simply sushi), but over the following couple of weeks, Emperor will transition to more seasonal and off-menu specialties.

The sushi bar itself has no traditional cases showing the fish for a more easy, streamlined look. The floor is also sunken in the back of the counter in order that the cooks are eye-to-eye with diners.

the two-tale restaurant has two bars: one whilst you input and any other in an upstairs lounge region. anticipate a spread of eastern whiskeys plus cocktails just like the “Sugar & Spice” with passionfruit and habanero-infused vodka. There’s also sake and an “esoteric” choice of wine, Palmer says.

the second one floor capabilities round booths—or “grownup playpens”—plus different low-slung seats from a japanese furniture maker coincidentally named OOKKUU. (alright, by using the way, means okayin japanese. The proprietors also perform an American steakhouse called Oak.) There’s also a roof deck for al fresco dining looking out on Union marketplace.

Palmer says the owners hadn’t been scouting to DC, however developer Edens—their landlord at different eating places—satisfied them to take a look. “the primary time I got here up right here, i was like, it’s kind of like the Meatpacking District earlier than the Meatpacking District.” Now, he says, “it feels love it’s the proper time.”

okay. 1274 5th St., NE. 

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